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50 Best Colleges By State You’ll Be Interested in Studying In

50 Best Colleges By State You’ll Be Interested in Studying In

You are going to college soon. Congratulations! A new life full of events, friends, knowledge and adventures is waiting for you there; and you want to choose the best college to spend the best years of your life there by all means. How to do that? What points to consider?

While choosing the best college to study, you better check educational institutions of all states. This list of the US best colleges by state will definitely help you compare them, make a right choice, and start your college life that will provide you a brilliant future.

The US best colleges by state include:

Alabama — University of Alabama

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    • Background: Located in Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama was founded in 1831 and dedicated to excellence in everything concerned to education. It was the first public and best college in the state that provided a creative campus environment to make students the best individuals possible.
    • Number of applications: 30,975
    • Programs: more than 200 fields of study; bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees.
    • Acceptance rate: 57%
    • Famous for: college Greek life, more than 250 student organizations.

    Alaska — University of Alaska-Anchorage

    university of alaska
      • Background: The largest post-secondary institutions in the state, University of Alaska was accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
      • Number of applications: 3,062
      • Programs: more than 150 fields of study; associate, master’s, baccalaureate degrees as well as doctoral, professional and vocational certificates.
      • Acceptance rate: 72%
      • Famous for: exchange programs, a big number of offered programs.

      Arizona — Arizona State University

      arizona
        • Background: Located in Tempe, Arizona State University was founded in 1885 and developed a new model of educational institutions. It is ranked among the US top 25 research institutes in terms of innovation, research output, awarded research grant proposals, and development.
        • Number of applications: 26,329
        • Programs: more than 300 undergraduate programs (bachelors, masters, doctors); about 1,000 registered student organizations.
        • Acceptance rate: 77%
        • Famous for: the largest public university by enrollment in the US.

        Arkansas — John Brown University

        arkanzas
          • Background: Founded in 1919, John Brown University is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Siloam Springs.
          • Number of applications: 2,183
          • Programs: 47 undergraduate majors.
          • Acceptance rate: 70%
          • Famous for: student sports teams, 2 associated centers.

          California — Stanford University

          california
            • Background: Established in 1885, Stanford University is one of the world’s most prestigious colleges today. It is a private university with a quarter-based academic calendar, located in Silicon Valley. Stanford is a research university with the US highest fund raising performance.
            • Number of applications: 15,877
            • Programs: 7 schools that offer undergraduate and graduate coursework.
            • Acceptance rate: 5,7%
            • Famous for: the US highest undergraduate selectivity; the Alma Mater of 58 Nobel laureates, 30 billionaires, 18 Turing Award laureates; one of the US Congress members leading producers.

            Colorado — University of Colorado-Boulder

            colorado
              • Background: Founded in 1876, this is a public research institution with a total enrollment of 25,881 undergraduates. It consists of 9 colleges and schools and has a proud academic tradition. Plus, University of Colorado is ranked among the US top “green” universities.
              • Number of applications: 22,473
              • Programs: more than 150 areas of study, 78 degree programs.
              • Acceptance rate: 88%
              • Famous for: one of 30 “Public Ivy League” schools; strong sports teams (26 NCAA championships won); honors programs; international students from more than 100 countries.

              Connecticut — Yale University

              connecticut
                • Background: A private research institution in New Heaven, founded in 1701. It is considered the third-oldest educational institution in the USA. Yale University is the Ivy League college organized into 12 schools.
                • Number of applications: 28,977
                • Programs: more than 2,000 undergraduate courses.
                • Acceptance rate: 7%
                • Famous for: its drama and music programs, students organizations, The Yale Bulldogs, secret societies (the Skull and Bone Society in particular).

                Delaware — University of Delaware

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                delaware
                  • Background: Founded in 1743, University of Delaware is a public institution located in Newark. It is considered the largest university in the state and a research institution with a very high level of research activity.
                  • Number of applications: 25,458
                  • Programs: 5 most popular majors (Engineering, Education, Business, Health, Social Sciences); associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate professional and doctorate research degrees available.
                  • Acceptance rate: 65%
                  • Famous for: a study abroad program, athletic teams, college Greek life.

                  Florida — University of Florida

                  University-of-Florida-Jim-Dewey-e1395949883228
                    • Background: Located in Gainesville, University of Florida is a public land-, sea- and space-grant research institution founded in 1853. It has a semester-based academic calendar and well-regarded graduate programs.
                    • Number of applications: 31,820
                    • Programs: certificate, associate, bachelor’s, post-bachelor’s, master’s, post-master’s, and doctorate degrees. 123 master’s programs and 76 doctoral programs.
                    • Acceptance rate: 49%
                    • Famous for: sports teams, individual awards (Fields Medal, Pulitzer Prizes, NASA’s awards for research).

                    Georgia — Emory University

                    georgia
                      • Background: A private research institution founded in 1836 and located in Atlanta. It is divided into 9 schools, and 4 of them serve undergraduates and graduates.
                      • Number of applications: 17,652
                      • Programs: 71 majors, about 57 minors.
                      • Acceptance rate: 26%
                      • Famous for: numerous awards and honors, membership in the National Academy of Sciences, Emory University Hospital, numerous student organizations.

                      Hawaii — University of Hawaii at Manoa

                      hawaii
                        • Background: Founded in 1907, University of Hawaii is a public co-educational research institution focused on developing an awareness of commonality and diversity.
                        • Number of applications: 6,601
                        • Programs: 93 programs for bachelor’s degrees. 84 fields for master’s degrees, 51 fields for master’s. 28 undergraduate and 29 graduate programs. Plus, 3 fields for post-baccalaureate degrees.
                        • Acceptance rate: 80%
                        • Famous for: student organizations, athletic programs, study abroad programs.

                        Idaho — Brigham Young University-Idaho

                        College
                          • Background: Established in 1888, this university is a private institution located in Rexburg. It is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it offers programs in performing Arts, Agriculture, Engineering, Liberal arts, and Management.
                          • Number of applications: 18,110
                          • Programs: 70 programs for bachelor’s degrees and 18 programs for associate degrees.
                          • Acceptance rate: 99%
                          • Famous for: athletics, culture and an honor code.

                          Illinois — Northwestern University

                          illinois
                            • Background: Founded in 1851, it is a private research institution that has a quarter-based academic calendar. Northwestern University has 2 campuses (in Chicago and Evanston) and 12 schools.
                            • Number of applications: 32,060
                            • Programs: 145 graduate and 124 undergraduate programs.
                            • Acceptance rate: 15%
                            • Famous for: the most academically productive schools, a founding member of the Big Ten Conference, Northwestern Wildcats (a team that completes in 19 sports).

                            Indiana — University of Notre Dame

                            indiana
                              • Background: A Catholic private research university, founded in 1842 and located in South Bend. University of Notre Dame consists of 5 colleges and one professional school.
                              • Number of applications: 17,900
                              • Programs: 15 programs for master’s degree and 26 programs for doctoral degrees.
                              • Acceptance rate: 22%
                              • Famous for: Driehaus Architecture Prize award, Notre Dame School of Architecture, study abroad programs, and athletic teams.

                              Iowa — Iowa State University

                              iowa
                                • Background: founded in 1858, Iowa State University of Science and Technology (known as Iowa State University) is a flagship institution of the state’s university system. This is a public land- and space-grant institution located in Ames.
                                • Number of applications: 21,642
                                • Programs: the university is organized into 2 schools and 8 colleges; 100 programs for bachelors, 112 programs for masters, and 83 programs for PhD can be found there.
                                • Acceptance rate: 80%
                                • Famous for: the first electronic digital computer was “born” there; the home of Ames Laboratory, the university museums and 19 on-campus residence halls.

                                Kansas — University of Kansas

                                kanzas
                                  • Background: A public research university founded in 1866, the largest university of Kansas that has 5 campuses, the main one is is located in Lawrence.
                                  • Number of applications: 12,389
                                  • Programs: more than 345 programs for all degrees.
                                  • Acceptance rate: 92%
                                  • Famous for: radio stations KANU and KJHK, university museums, the University Daily Kansan newspaper, the Beach Center on Disability.

                                  Kentucky — Berea College

                                  kentucky
                                    • Background: A private college of liberal arts, founded in 1855. It provides free education and is considered the US first college to be racially integrated and coeducational.
                                    • Number of applications: 1661
                                    • Programs: 32 majors for bachelor’s degree.
                                    • Acceptance rate: 34%
                                    • Famous for: no tuition (all students get a 4-year scholarship); 70 student organizations; being a member of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletics; students are required to work 10 hours per week (minimum) and live on campus (if they are not married or parents).

                                    Louisiana — Tulane University

                                    louisiana
                                      • Background: Established in 1834, Tulane University is a private research institution, located in New Orleans. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and is organized into ten schools (sciences, specialized professions, and liberal arts).
                                      • Number of applications: 30,122
                                      • Programs: over 70 subject areas in five undergraduate schools.
                                      • Acceptance rate: 26%
                                      • Famous for: The Tulane Hullaballo newspaper, a membership in the American Athletic Conference, notable alumni (David Filo, Randall Lee Gibson and others).

                                      Maine — Bates College

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                                      maine
                                        • Background: Founded in 1855, Bates College is an elite private institution of liberal arts, located in Lewiston. It is considered the oldest coeducational institution in New England.
                                        • Number of applications: 1,791
                                        • Programs: more than 30 majors for bachelors of science and bachelors of arts.
                                        • Acceptance rate: 24%
                                        • Famous for: its 4-4-1 schedule, study abroad programs, a host of Gordon Research Conferences, notable alumni, mentions in films and literature.

                                        Maryland — Johns Hopkins University

                                        maryland
                                          • Background: A private research university, founded in 1876 and located in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins is one of the American Association of Universities founders; it has four main campuses and is divided into 9 schools.
                                          • Number of applications: 21,327
                                          • Programs: numerous undergraduate and graduate studies in all schools (Business, Nursing, Education, Engineering, Arts and Sciences).
                                          • Acceptance rate: 17%
                                          • Famous for: 36 Nobel Prize winners, top rankings for research and students activity, its university library and press, numeral research centers and institutes.

                                          Massachusetts — Harvard University

                                          massachusetts
                                            • Background: established in 1636, Harvard University is located in Cambridge and considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It is a private institution, an Ivy League research university, the alma mater of 9 U.S. presidents, 62 billionaires and about 150 Nobel laureates.
                                            • Number of applications: 21,200
                                            • Programs: the university is organized into 10 different faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. It offers 32 professional degrees, 46 undergraduate majors, and 134 graduate degrees.
                                            • Acceptance rate: 6%
                                            • Famous for: the oldest library system in the USA, research work, being accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the highest rankings by many international organizations, notable faculties.

                                            Michigan — University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

                                            michigan
                                              • Background: A public research university with a trimester-based academic calendar, founded in 1817. It is one of the Association of American Universities founding members, and its campus includes more than 580 major buildings.
                                              • Number of applications: 46,813
                                              • Programs: more than 200 undergraduate majors, 90 programs for master’s degrees, and 100 doctoral programs.
                                              • Acceptance rate: 33%
                                              • Famous for: being one of the best college towns in the USA, Wolverines athletic team (members of the Big Ten Conference), high research activity, comprehensive graduate program.

                                              Minnesota — University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

                                              minnesota
                                                • Background: A public research university, founded in 1851 and located in Minneapolis. It is organized into 19 schools and colleges.
                                                • Number of applications: 48,048
                                                • Programs: 143 degree programs, 150 programs through the graduate school.
                                                • Acceptance rate: 44%
                                                • Famous for: active college Greek life, having the oldest campus within the system, Minnesota Golden Gophers athletic team (members of the Big Ten Conference), high research activity.

                                                Mississippi — University of Mississippi

                                                mississippi
                                                  • Background: This is a public institution, founded in 1844 and located in Oxford. It is considered the coeducational research university with four branch campuses, and it operates the Field Station in Abbeville.
                                                  • Number of applications: 14,258
                                                  • Programs: 14 academic institutes and 7 academic programs, more than 30 departments with numbers of research and study centers.
                                                  • Acceptance rate: 59%
                                                  • Famous for: its large community if sororities and fraternities, its Ole Miss Rebels sports teams, its largest blues music archive in the USA, its only legal marijuana farm in the country.

                                                  Missouri — Washington University in St. Louis

                                                  missouri
                                                    • Background: A private research university, founded in 1853. It is divided into 7 undergraduate and graduate schools with a wide range of academic fields. All freshmen are required to live on campus (the university has 5 of them).
                                                    • Number of applications: 30,117
                                                    • Programs: more than 90 programs and about 1,900 courses for students of bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees; additional opportunities for minors; numerous individualized programs.
                                                    • Acceptance rate: 16%
                                                    • Famous for: active Greek life, 14 libraries and museums, research centers, and Washington University Bears (sports team, a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association), students from more than 100 countries.

                                                    Montana — University of Montana

                                                    montana
                                                      • Background: A public research university, founded in 1893 and located in Missoula. It is organized into 5 colleges and 3 independent schools.
                                                      • Number of applications: 12,581
                                                      • Programs: numerous academic programs (including graduate degrees in business and law schools and the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences).
                                                      • Acceptance rate: 84%
                                                      • Famous for: research centers and institutes, numerous projects, Montana Kaimin newspaper, many notable alumni athletes (Colt Anderson, Micheal Ray Richardson, and others).

                                                      Nebraska — Creighton University

                                                      nebraska
                                                        • Background: a private coeducational Roman Catholic institution, founded in 1878 and located in Omaha. It is considered the largest private university in the state, and it was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
                                                        • Number of applications: 8 019
                                                        • Programs: the university is organized into 9 schools (undergraduate, graduate and professional) of Business, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health, and Dentistry.
                                                        • Acceptance rate: 77%
                                                        • Famous for: a semester study abroad program, numerous affiliate programs and grants, more than 200 student organizations.

                                                        Nevada — University of Nevada-Reno

                                                        nevada
                                                          • Background: a public institution, founded in 1864. This university is a teaching and research institution, a land grant institution for Nevada.
                                                          • Number of applications: 19,129
                                                          • Programs: 9 colleges and 9 schools of the university offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.
                                                          • Acceptance rate: 84%
                                                          • Famous for: mentions many movies, 200 student organizations, research centers and facilities.

                                                          New Hampshire — Dartmouth College

                                                          new hampshire
                                                            • Background: a private research university, a member of Ivy League, founded in 1769 and located in Hanover. It is organized into 3 schools and 1 college.
                                                            • Number of applications: 23,110
                                                            • Programs: 19 graduate programs is the sciences and arts; 56 major programs; Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees for undergraduates.
                                                            • Acceptance rate: 10%
                                                            • Famous for: Greek organizations, NCAA Division I sports, the Outing Club (the oldest collegiate club in the USA), traditions, research activity.

                                                            New Jersey — Princeton University

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                                                            new jersey
                                                              • Background: A private research university, a member of Ivy League, founded in 1746. It is one of the 9 colleges established before the American Revolution. Princeton University is considered the wealthiest institution in the USA.
                                                              • Number of applications: 8,014
                                                              • Programs: undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, social and natural sciences, and humanities. Doctoral programs are also available.
                                                              • Acceptance rate: 7%
                                                              • Famous for: lacrosse teams, notable faculty, strong traditions.

                                                              New Mexico — University of New Mexico

                                                              new mexico
                                                                • Background: Founded in 1889, University of New Mexico is a public research institution located in Albuquerque. It is the largest post-secondary university in New Mexico, and it is considered the flagship research institution of the state.
                                                                • Number of applications: 11,467
                                                                • Programs: more than 200 programs, including 94 – for baccalaureates, 74 – for masters, and 40 – for doctors.
                                                                • Acceptance rate: 65%
                                                                • Famous for: more than 300 student organizations, KUNM-FM (a national public radio station in the city), high university rankings, very high research activity.

                                                                New York — Cornell University

                                                                new york
                                                                  • Background: Founded in 1865, this is a private Ivy League university, a land-grant research institution located in Ithaca. Cornell University is organized into 7 undergraduate and 7 graduate colleges, and each of them has its own academic programs and admission standards.
                                                                  • Number of applications: 21,424
                                                                  • Programs: 80 undergraduate majors and minors, 108 graduate fields, about 4,000 courses across 100 academic departments.
                                                                  • Acceptance rate: 15%
                                                                  • Famous for: the Middle States Commission of Higher Education accreditation, 4-1-4 academic calendar, international programs, very high research activity, notable faculty and alumni.

                                                                  North Carolina — Duke University

                                                                  north carolina
                                                                    • Background: Located in Durham, Duke University is a private research institution founded in 1838. It is organized into 10 schools that serve both undergraduate and graduate students.
                                                                    • Number of applications: 30,374
                                                                    • Programs: 2 undergraduate paths (engineering and liberal arts), 5 graduate paths (nursing, medicine, business, law, engineering), Stanford School of Public Policy, Nickolas School of the Environment.
                                                                    • Acceptance rate: 13%
                                                                    • Famous for: the Blue Devils athletic team (15 national championships won), 32 highly cited researchers, high research activity and rankings, high selectivity when it comes to students admissions.

                                                                    North Dakota — University of Jamestown

                                                                    north dakota
                                                                      • Background: A private institution, founded in 1884. This is a co-educational liberal arts college with about 1,000 students enrolled.
                                                                      • Number of applications: 1,088
                                                                      • Programs: the most popular majors include Nursing, Business Administration and Management, Teaching, Criminal Justice, Biological Sciences.
                                                                      • Acceptance rate: 63%
                                                                      • Famous for: the Journey to Success program, a membership in the Association of Independent Institutions, notable faculty and alumni.

                                                                      Ohio — Ohio State University

                                                                      ohio
                                                                        • Background: A public research institution in Columbus, founded in 1870. This is a land-grant university focused on comprehensive study; it has the largest university campus in the USA.
                                                                        • Number of applications: 31,359
                                                                        • Programs: more than 175 majors at the undergraduate level, a wide variety of graduate programs ( Medicine, Law, Engineering, Business, Human Ecology, Education).
                                                                        • Acceptance rate: 56%
                                                                        • Famous for: high research activity, numerous honors programs, over 1,000 student organizations, membership in the Association of American Universities, participation in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

                                                                        Oklahoma — University of Tulsa

                                                                        oklahoma
                                                                          • Background: A private university, established in 1894. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
                                                                          • Number of applications: 4,597
                                                                          • Programs: 60 undergraduate majors (natural and computer sciences, clinical psychology, engineering, and English disciplines).
                                                                          • Acceptance rate: 41%
                                                                          • Famous for: many National Merit Scholarship winners, petroleum engineering programs, athletic teams, and adherence to traditions.

                                                                          Oregon — University of Oregon

                                                                          oregon
                                                                            • Background: This is a public research university, founded in 1876 and located in Eugene. It is considered one of the oldest institutions on the West Coast, and it is organized into 8 colleges and schools.
                                                                            • Number of applications: 21,263
                                                                            • Programs: undergraduate programs in Psychology, Biology, Business, and Economics; doctoral programs in Psychology, Physics, Geography, and Biology.
                                                                            • Acceptance rate: 74%
                                                                            • Famous for: high-calibre researches, its student government, media and traditions.

                                                                            Pennsylvania — University of Pennsylvania

                                                                            pennsylvania
                                                                              • Background: Founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, Penn is a private research university in Philadelphia. It is a member of Ivy League and one of the 9 original Colonial Colleges.
                                                                              • Number of applications: 24,630
                                                                              • Programs: undergraduate (12 schools, 157 programs), graduate (170 programs), professional education (15 master’s degree programs).
                                                                              • Acceptance rate: 10%
                                                                              • Famous for: its English language programs, 9 Nobel laureates, highly productive research programs.

                                                                              Rhode Island — Brown University

                                                                              rhode island
                                                                                • Background: one of the most prestigious universities in the USA, this private research institution is a member of Ivy League, and it is located in Providence. One of the 9 Colonial Colleges, Brown University was founded in 1764.
                                                                                • Number of applications: 28,919
                                                                                • Programs: it offers 79 majors, an undergraduate major in Egyptology.
                                                                                • Acceptance rate: 9%
                                                                                • Famous for: Pembroke College (a women’s institution), its engineering program, Alpert Medical School, and the Marine Biological Laboratory.

                                                                                South Carolina — University of South Carolina-Columbia

                                                                                south carolina
                                                                                  • Background: Established in 1801, this is a public, co-educational research institution. It has 7 campuses, and it is organized into 14 degree-granting schools and colleges.
                                                                                  • Number of applications: 23,429
                                                                                  • Programs: more than 350 programs available (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees); professional schools (law, medicine, pharmacy, engineering, and business) and several thousand programs for future students.
                                                                                  • Acceptance rate: 61%
                                                                                  • Famous for: very high research activity, International Business programs, the largest collections of Ernest Hemingway and Robert Burns, student government, more than 400 student organizations.

                                                                                  South Dakota — Augustana College

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                                                                                  south dakota
                                                                                    • Background: a private liberal arts institution, founded in 1860 and located in Sioux Falls. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and is considered the largest private college in the state.
                                                                                    • Number of applications: 1,353
                                                                                    • Programs: it has 4-1-4 academic calendar and grants 4-year Bachelor of Arts degrees. Program includes 53 majors, 12 pre-professional programs, and 34 minors.
                                                                                    • Acceptance rate: 62%
                                                                                    • Famous for: high rankings among Midwestern schools, KAUR radio station, notable alumni (Nancy Erickson, Davis Soul, and others).

                                                                                    Tennessee — Vanderbilt University

                                                                                    tennessee
                                                                                      • Background: Located in Nashiville, this university is a private research institution, founded in 1873. It is organized into 4 undergraduate and 6 graduate and professional schools, governed by Board of Trust.
                                                                                      • Number of applications: 31,099
                                                                                      • Programs: undergraduate and graduate programs from schools of Nursing, Engineering, Law and Medicine, from Owen graduate School of Management and Peabody College of Education.
                                                                                      • Acceptance rate: 13%
                                                                                      • Famous for: active Greek life, Blair School of Music, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, notable alumni: Ann Moore (CEO of Time Inc.), James Patterson (novelist), and others.

                                                                                      Texas — University of Texas at Austin

                                                                                      texas
                                                                                        • Background: A state research university, founded in 1883. It is considered a flagship institution of the state and is inducted into the American Association of Universities.
                                                                                        • Number of applications: 38,161
                                                                                        • Programs: bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees (100 undergraduate and 170 graduate ones). 8 honors programs.
                                                                                        • Acceptance rate: 40%
                                                                                        • Famous for: 17 libraries, 7 museums, various research facilities (the McDonald Observatory for example), Nobel, Pulitzer and Wolf Prizes winners among faculty.

                                                                                        Utah —

                                                                                        • Background: Located in Salt Lake City, this university was founded in 1850 and considered a public co-educational institution (space-grant and research one). It is a flagship university of Utah.
                                                                                        • Number of applications: 32,077
                                                                                        • Programs: 72 undergraduate majors, 92 graduate degree programs; 40 teaching majors, about 70 minors.
                                                                                        • Acceptance rate: 83%
                                                                                        • Famous for: being a member of the Pacific-12 Conference, a renewable energy partnership, being a part of the state’s System of Higher Education, its notable programs.

                                                                                        Vermont — University of Vermont

                                                                                        vermont
                                                                                          • Background: A public research university, founded in 1791 and located in Burlington. It is also known as State Agricultural College and is considered one of the oldest educational institutions of the USA.
                                                                                          • Number of applications: 22,381
                                                                                          • Programs: the university is organized into 7 undergraduate schools, a college of medicine, a graduate college, and an honors college. It offers numerous bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs.
                                                                                          • Acceptance rate: 78%
                                                                                          • Famous for: its debate team, active Greek life, high research and academics activity, a strong sports team.

                                                                                          Virginia — University of Virginia

                                                                                          virginia
                                                                                            • Background: Located in Charlottesville, this public research university was founded in 1819. First-year students are required to live on campus here, and it is organized into 12 colleges and schools.
                                                                                            • Number of applications: 28,984
                                                                                            • Programs: Medicine and Law professional degrees, six educational specialist degrees, 48 degrees for bachelors, 94 master’s degrees, and 55 degrees for doctors.
                                                                                            • Acceptance rate: 30%
                                                                                            • Famous for: its special scholars, #1 ranking from The Daily Caller (“the best school in the land – 2014”), a membership in the Association of American Universities, 7 Nobel winners and 5 NASA astronauts.

                                                                                            Washington — University of Washington

                                                                                            washington
                                                                                              • Background: Established in 1861, this public research university is located in Seattle. It is considered one of the best medical institutions in the world.
                                                                                              • Number of applications: 30,199
                                                                                              • Programs: the university is organized into 16 colleges and schools; more than 100 majors are available for undergraduates and graduates here.
                                                                                              • Acceptance rate: 55%
                                                                                              • Famous for: about 500 student organizations, its commuter school, high research activity.

                                                                                              West Virginia — Wheeling Jesuit University

                                                                                              west virginia
                                                                                                • Background: A private Roman Catholic university (co-educational one), founded in 1954. It is one of the 28 members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
                                                                                                • Number of applications: 1,619
                                                                                                • Programs: 5 graduate programs (Business Administration, Accountancy, Nursing, Organizational Leadership, Physical Therapy).
                                                                                                • Acceptance rate: 67%
                                                                                                • Famous for: membership in the Mountain East Conference, its Laut Honors Program, Acker Science Center and Donahue Hall.

                                                                                                Wisconsin — University of Wisconsin-Madison

                                                                                                wisconsin
                                                                                                  • Background: A public research university in Madison, founded in 1848 and organized into 20 colleges and schools. It is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.
                                                                                                  • Number of applications: 43, 275
                                                                                                  • Programs: 132 undergraduate majors, 200 doctoral programs, and 149 master’s degree programs.
                                                                                                  • Acceptance rate: 51%
                                                                                                  • Famous for: very high research activity (about 100 research centers and programs), its Letters & Science Honors Program, active athletics teams, many notable alumni.

                                                                                                  Wyoming — University of Wyoming

                                                                                                  UW Buildings - Old Main UW Emergency Plan - 2010
                                                                                                    • Background: Established in 1886, this land-grant university is located in Laramie. University of Wyoming is organized into 7 colleges (law, business, arts, natural resources, education, engineering, health).
                                                                                                    • Number of applications: 4,181
                                                                                                    • Programs: more than 190 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Juris Doctor and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees are available too.
                                                                                                    • Acceptance rate: 96%
                                                                                                    • Famous for: notable faculty and alumni, various campus organizations.

                                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Dear Hogwarts …/Mischief Managed via flickr.com

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                                                                                                    Last Updated on April 17, 2019

                                                                                                    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

                                                                                                    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

                                                                                                    What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

                                                                                                    Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

                                                                                                    They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

                                                                                                    1. Communication Skills

                                                                                                    Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

                                                                                                    To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

                                                                                                    Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

                                                                                                    Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

                                                                                                    After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

                                                                                                    2. Flexibility

                                                                                                    Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

                                                                                                    Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

                                                                                                    Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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                                                                                                    Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

                                                                                                    3. Being a Team Player

                                                                                                    Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

                                                                                                    What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

                                                                                                    This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

                                                                                                    Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

                                                                                                    4. Positive Mental Attitude

                                                                                                    There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

                                                                                                    Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

                                                                                                    Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

                                                                                                    It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

                                                                                                    Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

                                                                                                    5. A Strong Work Ethic

                                                                                                    People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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                                                                                                    If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

                                                                                                    Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

                                                                                                    • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
                                                                                                    • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
                                                                                                    • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
                                                                                                    • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

                                                                                                    For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

                                                                                                    6. Public Speaking

                                                                                                    Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

                                                                                                    Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

                                                                                                    If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

                                                                                                    For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

                                                                                                    Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                                                                                                    7. Integrity

                                                                                                    From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

                                                                                                    • Always doing what you say you will do
                                                                                                    • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

                                                                                                    …even when no one is around to check up on you.

                                                                                                    There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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                                                                                                    Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

                                                                                                    8. Managing Your Time

                                                                                                    Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

                                                                                                    A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

                                                                                                    Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

                                                                                                    Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

                                                                                                    These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

                                                                                                    9. Assertiveness

                                                                                                    In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

                                                                                                    • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
                                                                                                    • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
                                                                                                    • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
                                                                                                    • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

                                                                                                    Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

                                                                                                    How do you use this information for yourself?

                                                                                                    It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

                                                                                                    Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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                                                                                                    How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

                                                                                                    10. Creative Thinking

                                                                                                    LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

                                                                                                    Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

                                                                                                    How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

                                                                                                    Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

                                                                                                    These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

                                                                                                    You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

                                                                                                    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                                                                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                                                                    The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

                                                                                                    So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

                                                                                                    The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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                                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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