15 “Public Ivy” Colleges to Consider
Most people know of the Ivy League, the highly selective group of private colleges that have produced many of our nations greatest innovators. Not everyone’s dying to go to a selective private college, however, and not everyone can gain acceptance to one. What if you want to go to a public college or university? Consider one of these 15 colleges, which Richard Moll noted in his book The Public Ivys: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities as the so-called “Public Ivys.”
Moll based his selections on a number of criteria, including selectivity with respect to admissions, the quality of undergraduate education, and the resources the colleges and universities boasted to secure and support top students and faculty.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 15 public colleges and universities that project just as much prestige as an Ivy! These universities are presented in no particular order, by the way. They’re all great.
1) UC Berkeley
With an acceptance rate of around 15%, UC Berkeley is a legendary public university famed for having produced alumni at the top of their fields, be they STEM or the arts and humanities. It’s quite a large university, with an enrollment of about 27,500 students. In-state tuition at Berkeley is $13509, while out-of-state tuition is is $40,191.
UCLA in Los Angeles is yet another public Ivy in a list heavily dominated by California schools. Its list of notable alumni is quite impressive, having produced Nobel laureates, artists, scientists, and so on. In-state tuition at UCLA is $12,836, while out-of-state tuition is $39,518. UCLA has an acceptance rate of about 17%.
3) University of Virginia
Though the acceptance rate at the University of Virginia is approximately 30%, the school has a proven track record of producing leaders in a diverse array of fields, from Supreme Court Justices to astronomers to television personalities. Check out a list of their notable alumni! In-state tuition at Virginia is about $15,722, while out-of-state tuition is $45,066.
4) UC Davis
From government officials to actors, University of California - Davis has produced some great notable alumni, including Olympians, mayors, stars of music, television, and film, and renowned scientists and mathematicians. The university’s acceptance rate is approximately 38%. In-state tuition at UC Davis is about $14,046, while out-of-state tuition runs $40,728.
5) UC Irvine
Yet another California university to make the list of Public Ivys is The University of California Irvine. Award-winning artists, musicians, athletes, and leaders in STEM fields have graduated from UC Irvine, and the school holds a formidable reputation. UC Irvine’s acceptance rate is around 39%, in-state tuition is $14,750, out-of-stateCheck out this list of notable UC Irvine alumni!
6) UC Riverside
With an acceptance rate of around 56%, UC Riverside has produced many notable alumni (from Billy Collins to one of the winners of The Apprentice!) and boasts great resources for students and faculty. UCR has an enrollment of approximately 21,539 students. In-state tuition is $16,400, while out-of-state tuition is $40,263.
7) UC San Diego
Another great California school is UC San Diego, which has produced hundreds of notable alumni in fields from art and architecture to science, technology, medicine, and mathematics. UC San Diego has an acceptance rate of approximately 34%. In-state tuition at UC San Diego runs around $14,704, while out-of-state tuition is $41,387. The university has an enrollment of 26,590 students.
8) UC Santa Barbara
With an acceptance rate of 33% and an enrollment of 20,607 students, UC Santa Barbara is another incredible university that’s produced tons of respected and accomplished alumni in a wide swath of fields. Check out this list of their notable alumni! In-state tuition at UC Santa Barbara is about $14,022, while out-of-state tuition is $0,704.
9) UC Santa Cruz
The final California university to make the list of Public Ivys is UC Santa Cruz, a prestigious and respected public university that’s produced many notable alumni, whether they be musicians, academics, government officials, scientists, or mathematicians. The university has an acceptance rate of around 58%, an enrollment of 17,335, an in-state tuition rate of $13,515, and an out-of-state tuition rate of $26,682.
10) Miami University of Ohio
With an enrollment of 18,500, in-state tuition of $13,533, and out-of-state tuition of $30,233, Miami University of Ohio has produced top scientists, mathematicians, government officials, writers, athletes, and many, many more. Check out this list of its notable alumni! The acceptance rate at Miami University of Ohio is about 65%.
11) University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
With an acceptance rate of 51%, an enrollment of 28,312, in-state tuition at $13,856, and out-of-state tuition at $43,476, the University of Michigan provides students a world-class education and has produced dozens of notable alumni at the top of their respective fields. Here’s a list of famous Michigan people, including former U.S. President Gerald Ford!
12) University of Vermont at Burlington
Though Vermont’s a tiny state, the University of Vermont at Burlington commands big respect as far colleges and universities are concerned. With an acceptance rate of around 69% and a total enrollment of around 11,900, the University of Vermont at Burlington has a tuition cost of $14,664 for in-state students and $37,056 for out-of-state students. Check out this list of Vermont alumni!
13) The University of Texas at Austin
No list of incredible and prestigious public universities would be complete without the formidable and respected University of Texas at Austin. Probably the number one choice for Texas students and students from dozens of other states and countries throughout the world, the University of Texas at Austin has an acceptance rate of around 39%, a total enrollment of 39,619, and tuition costs of $9806 for in-state students and $34,676 for out-of-state students. Here’s an impressive list of UT Austin alumni! Hook ’em!
14) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
UNC Chapel Hill is a top choice for many students, whether they’re interested in STEM fields, the social sciences, the arts, or the humanities. With an acceptance rate of approximately 30%, UNC Chapel Hill has a tuition cost of $8,834 for in-state students, $33,916 for out-of-state students, and a total enrollment of 18,415 students. Here’s a list of notable UNC alumni for you to peruse.
15) College of William and Mary in Virginia
Last in Moll’s book on The Public Ivys is the College of William in Mary in Virginia, another great choice for students in search of a respected and world-class public university. With an acceptance rate of around 34%, William and Mary has a tuition cost of $18,687 for in-state students, $41,718 for out-of-state students, and a total enrollment of 6301, making it the smallest college on this list. Here’s a list of notable William and Mary alumni.
Don’t limit yourself to just this list, though!
This list could easily include many other colleges, but I wanted to stick to the universities profiled in the original The Public Ivys book. Don’t limit yourself to this list! Plenty of public universities are just as good, if not better, than the ones listed here. Other schools that could easily make the list are Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Florida, Penn State, Ohio State, University of Connecticut, University of Washington in Seattle, University of Pittsburgh, Rutgers University, Purdue University, and so on. Remember to cast a wide net during your college application process. Look at schools with programs you might enjoy in locations you’d enjoy with faculty whom you respect. Don’t forget to dream big. Good luck!
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