According to US News and World Report’s 2006 rankings of America’s Best Colleges, the top five list of undergraduate programs breaks down as follows:
1. Harvard University
1. Princeton University
3. Yale University
4. University of Pennsylvania
5. Duke University
5. Stanford University
The top three undergraduate schools hail from the Ivy League. Harvard and Princeton are tied for first. Duke and Stanford both occupy slot number five.
Harvard University is a world renowned center for higher education. It’s admission requirements are strict, and competition for enrollment is highly competitive. If you do get in though, you are virtually guaranteed a premium and diverse college experience. Harvard has a wide selection of liberal arts majors, and over 3500 different courses to explore.
Princeton University refuses to be ranked second. Located in New Jersey, Princeton has a rich tradition of challenging coursework and rewarding research opportunities. The faculty members are among the most respected members of their individual fields. If you want to focus on your own independent research, Princeton offers plenty of individual study options with faculty advising and encouragement.
Yale University is a highly respected place to get your undergraduate degree. Yale has plenty of funding opportunities and a supportive residential college housing system. You can take virtually any major, and you will have tenured professors teaching you your undergraduate coursework.
The University of Pennsylvania is a great institution for interdisciplinary studies. The university has many joint-degree programs, interdisciplinary majors and institutions. The Institute for Medicine and Engineering is major intersection of innovative thinking and original research. The Management and Technology program combines economic study with degree programs in engineering or applied science. If you are looking to combine disciplines, Pennsylvania has plenty to offer.
Duke University has excellent programs in law, business and medicine, and it’s undergoing massive construction and expansion efforts. Duke is a fine institution. Admission is very competitive. Duke has some of the lowest acceptance rates around, but if you get in you’ll have a very worthwhile experience.
Stanford University is beautiful school tucked away in Palo Alto, California. It has excellent degree programs all across the board. The creative writing, history, government, psychology and communications programs are first rate, as are the medical and sciences courses. Stanford is the throbbing heart of the Silicon Valley revolution, so there are plenty of opportunities to learn about new technologies and their every day applications.
If you are looking to get into the best programs in the country, make sure you have what it takes to excel in these highly competitive environments. If you take your high school experience seriously, there’s no reason why you can’t get into any school in the country. When you make your final decision, make sure its based on personal preference and not popular rankings.
Chris Stout is a frequent contributor to CareersandEducation.com . Chris Stout is a feature writer that covers topics relating to MBA Programs and online colleges .