10 Best Colleges In California 2022

There is a variety of experience with a mixture of little liberal arts colleges in California. The state is also home to several large research institutions scattered across the state. There are about a hundred degree-offering universities in California that are funded by the public, according to U.S. News.

The capital city of Sacramento and other locations like San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are the locations with most of the top colleges in California.

Haven established the fact, below is the list of the top ten colleges in California.

10 Best colleges in California

  • Stanford University  
  • University of California—Berkeley 
  • University of Southern California  
  • Pepperdine University 
  • University of California—Santa Barbara  
  • University of California—Los Angeles 
  • California Institute of Technology  
  • University of California—San Diego 
  • University of California—Irvine  
  • The University of California—Davis  

#1. Stanford University 

Location: Stanford, California

Stanford University is prominent even outside the United States for its quality of education and many Nobel Laureate Awards. The university was founded in the years 1885. Since its founding, the university has continued to grow in prominence.

In 2020, the University ranked number 6 on the list of Best colleges in National universities. As of fall 2020, the university had a record of 6,366 undergraduate enrollments. Stanford University measures 8,180 acres and relies on a quarterly academic calendar.  

The most common majors that people acquire from Stanford University is:  

  • Computer and information science  
  • Support services  
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 
  • Engineering   

Stanford University has a record of more females than males with a ratio of 51:49% (fall 2020). 11% of its student reside in apartments owned and managed or affiliated with the college. The other 89% reside on campus.

The University also has an active sports life. It is a member of the NCAA I and over the past 42 years, the school has won at least a team championship.

Stanford University also provides some form of need-based financial assistance to around 53% of its full-time students (undergraduates) with an average need-based scholarship of $53,000.     

Stanford University at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Private, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1885 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No
  • Type of educational calendar: Quarter
  • School Setting: Residential   
  • Contact Phone: (650) 723-2300 
  • Tuition fees: $56,169 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $73,900  
  • Acceptance rate: 5% 
  • SAT Score: 1420 and 1570 
  • ACT Score: 31 and 35 
  • Student to faculty ratio: 5:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 96%   
  • Official website: Stanford University  

Official Website

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#2. California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, California  

Privately owned California Institute of Technology was founded in the year 1891 and is 124 acres in size. The university has a suburban setting and utilizes a quarter-based educational calendar to operate.

In fall 2020, the California Institute of Technology had a total number of 901 undergraduate enrollments. In the 2022 edition of the Best Colleges in National University, the California Institute of Technology sits at the number 9 position.

The most prominent majors that students acquire from the California Institute of Technology include:  

  • Biology and Biomedical Sciences 
  • Computer and Information Science  
  • Engineering  
  • Mathematics and Statistics 
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 
  • Physical Sciences 
  • Support Services 

According to the fall 2020 record, the California Institute of Technology has an attendance rate of more than 54:46% of males and females respectively.

The college also has 1% of its students living on college-owned/maintained or affiliated properties while 99% stay off-campus. In sports, the school is also part of the NCAA III.

Also, the California Institute of Technology is responsible for providing some form of need-based financial assistance to about 51% of its full-time undergraduate students. On average, students receive as much as $49,806 in grants or scholarships.  

California Institute of Technology at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Private, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1891 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Quarter  
  • School Setting: Suburban  
  • Contact Phone: (626) 395-6811 
  • Tuition fees: $58,680 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $82,900  
  • Acceptance rate: 7% 
  • SAT Score: 1530 and 1580 
  • ACT Score: 35 and 36 
  • Student to faculty ratio: 3:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 97% 

Official Website

#3. University of California—Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, California (Overlooking San Francisco Bay) 

The University of California—Berkeley is strategically located overlooking the San Francisco Bay and has an urban setting design on 1,232 acres of public land.

In the fall of 2020, the University had an undergraduate enrollment of 30,980, which is a huge number when compared to the former two universities.

The 2022 edition of the Best Colleges in National University; places the University of California at #22 position. Among the prominent academic major students acquire from the university are: 

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences 
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services  
  • English Language and Literature/Letters 
  • Engineering Sciences  
  • Computer and Information Sciences 

When it comes to attendance by gender distribution, the University of California Berkeley has 46% male students and 54% females. While 92% of the students stay off camp, the remaining 8% stay in school-owned/managed or affiliated properties.

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The University also has an active sports life and is a member of the NCAA I with their major rivalry as Stanford University.

While the tuition fees may be a little on the high side, the university tries as much to make it easier for students to offset their fees through need-based financial aid.

Around 45% of its full-time undergraduate students benefit from their financial aid to an average of $22,448 in form of scholarships and grants awards.
  

The University of California, Berkeley at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Public
  • Year of commencement: 1868 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Semester  
  • School Setting: Urban  
  • Contact Phone: (510) 642-6000 
  • Tuition fees: $14,361 (in-state); $44,115 (out-of-state) 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $66,800   
  • Acceptance rate: 18% 
  • SAT Score: 1290 and 1530 
  • ACT Score: 27 and 35 
  • Student to faculty ratio: 19:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 97% 

Official Website

#4. University of Southern California 

Location: Downtown Los Angeles  

1880 saw many prominent universities rise in California and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles founded in 1880 was one of them.

With an undergraduate enrollment of 19,606 in fall 2020 and a campus set on a landmass of 226 acres, the university has all the qualities worthy to enjoy a position on the list of the top ten best colleges in California.

The university educational system is semester-based and it ranks number 27 on the list of Best Colleges in National University, 2022 edition.

While the major campus is located at the Downtown Los Angeles Arts and Education Corridor, there are other campuses situated in other parts of the country.

There is over 1,000 student organization on campus, which includes religious groups and sports clubs. Some of the prominent majors from the university include:  

  • Biological and 
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Engineering 
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Maintenance Services 
  • Communication and Journalism, and Interconnected Programs 
  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 

According to fall 2020 records, the student had 48% male students and 52% female students. The university does not intend for any of its students to live on campus.

However, it provides accommodation to about 98% of its students in college-owned/maintained or affiliated residences. The other 2% live off-campus. As part of the NCAA I, the university enjoys an active sports life.

Also, students of the University of Southern California can access up to $42,474 on average in the form of grants and scholarship awards. Around 38% of the full-time undergraduate students benefit from these grants and scholarship awards.  

The University of Southern California at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Private, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1880 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Semester  
  • School Setting: City  
  • Contact Phone: (213) 740-2311 
  • Tuition fees: $60,275 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $60,600   
  • Acceptance rate: 16% 
  • SAT Score: 1340 and 1530 
  • ACT Score: 30 and 34 
  • Student to faculty ratio: 9:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 95%

Official Website

#5. University of California—Santa Barbara 

Location: Santa Barbara 

Another prominent college in this list of best colleges in California is the University of California, Santa Barbara, which was founded in 1909. The university is situated up the coast of Los Angeles (100 miles) and enjoys a good view of the Pacific Ocean from the top of the cliff where it is built.

University of California Santa Barbara is a public university with a campus size of 989 acres and features a residential layout design. In fall 2020, undergraduate enrollment at the school was 23,196.

The school runs on a quarter-based academic calendar system and ranks number 28 in Best colleges in National Universities, 2022 edition. There are over 400 clubs and organizations available on campus where students can get involved and interact with one another.

Among the organizations is the Greek community, which has about 10% of the undergraduate students as its members. Among the most prominent majors from the college include: 

  • Engineering  
  • Communication and Journalism  
  • Mathematics and Statistics  
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences 
  • Visual and Performing Arts  
  • Natural resources and Conservation 
  • Psychology  
  • Physical Sciences 

The gender distribution percentage at the university is 45% males and 55% females. When it comes to sports, the University of California, Santa Barbara is a member of the NCAA I with an excellent women’s basketball association.

The men’s soccer team is also not performing badly. The university allows non-varsity students to become part of the university sports clubs like surfing, cycling, ski, snowboard, and rugby.

Also, there is need-based financial assistance available at the university, which 51% of the full-time undergraduate students benefit from in the form of grants and scholarships. On average, students receive $20,945.  

The University of California—Santa Barbara at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Public, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1909 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Quarter 
  • School Setting: Residential  
  • Contact Phone: (805) 893-8000 
  • Tuition fees: $14,442 (in-state), $44,196 (out-of-state) 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $55,700   
  • Acceptance rate: 37% 
  • SAT Score: 1230 and 1480 
  • ACT Score: 26 and 33 
  • Student to faculty ratio: 17:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 93%

Official Website

#6. University of California—Los Angeles 

Location: Los Angeles Westwood Neighborhood 

University of California, Los Angeles is a public university that was established in 1919. With an undergraduate enrollment of 31,636 (fall 2020) and 419 acres in size, the university has all it takes to make the list of 10 best colleges in California.

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The school delivers its education using a quarter-based academic calendar system. According to the 2022 edition of Best, Colleges is National Universities, the school ranks number 20. Some of the most prominent majors from the university include:  

  • Biology and Biomedical Sciences 
  • Engineering  
  • English Language and Literature/Letters 
  • History  
  • Mathematics and Statistics  
  • Psychology  
  • ·Visual and Performing Arts 

University of California—Los Angeles has a gender distribution of 41% men and 59% females. According to statistics, 48% of the students reside in college-owned or affiliated hostels while 52% live in off-campus residents.

There are over 1000 student organizations available on campus, which includes over 65 Greek groups and media groups.

Also, the school is very active when it comes to sports and is a part of the NCAA I division. the active sports students can engage in are water polo, tennis, track, and field, football, swimming baseball, etc.

Students with financial constraints can apply for need-based financial assistance. On average, the school provides need-based financial assistance of up to $18,898 to 46% of students that are on a full-time study plan.  

University of California—Los Angeles at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Public, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1919 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Quarter 
  • School Setting: Metropolitan 
  • Contact Phone: (310) 825-4321 
  • Tuition fees: $13,268 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $55,500   
  • Acceptance rate: 14% 
  • SAT Score: 1290 and 1520 
  • ACT Score: 29 and 34 
  • Student to faculty ratio: 18:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 97% 

Official Website

#7. University of California—San Diego

Location: San Diego, Along the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla Community  

In the year 1960, the University of California, San Diego was founded as a public college to provide educational solutions. In the fall of 2020, the university had an undergraduate enrollment of 31,842.

The University features a metropolitan setting on its 1,976 acres of land. The university runs on a quarterly academic calendar system.

According to the 2022 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, the University of California, San Diego ranks number 34. Some of the most prominent majors that students acquire from the university include:  

  • Biochemistry  
  • Computer Sciences and Mathematics 
  • Quantitative Economics and Econometrics  
  • Anatomy and Neurobiology  
  • Electrical and Electronics  
  • Engineering 
  • Mechanical Engineering 

The University of California has a student distribution of 50-50% for both males and females. 9% of the students of the University of California, San Diego live in college-owned or affiliated houses. The other 91% live in off-campus homes.

The university is well known for its international house that is home to over 350 students from over 30 countries of the world. University of California, San Diego also has a vibrant sports team and is a member of the NCAA I.

Also, the university Tritons are active participators in over 20 NCAA II sports mostly in the CCAA. The university hosts an active Greek life and hundreds of student organizations. As a freshman on campus, you are eligible for accommodation on campus for up to two years.

However, students are not expected to live on campus. According to the university statistics, 51% of its full-time undergraduate enjoy some form of need-based financial assistance.

On average, students get up to $19,857 in form of grants and scholarships.   

University of California—Los Angeles at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Public, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1960 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Quarter 
  • School Setting: Metropolitan 
  • Contact Phone: (858) 534-2230 
  • Tuition : $14,733(in-state); $44,487 (out-of-state) 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $60,200   
  • Acceptance rate: 38% 
  • SAT Score: 1260 and 1480 
  • ACT Score: 26 and 33 
  • Student to faculty ratio: 19:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 94% 

Official Website

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#8. University of California—Irvine

Location: Orange County   

The Orange County public institution, University of California—Irvine was founded in 1965 and has continued to outperform itself to retain a place on the list of top ten colleges in California. The University runs on a quarter-based academic calendar system.

According to the 2022 edition of the Best Colleges in National Universities, the University of California—Irvine ranks number 36. The university is a science research institute that focuses on research in areas like cancer and neuroscience.

The university works collaboratively with UC Irvine Medical Center. The University of California—Irvine has a total undergraduate enrollment of 26,638 (fall 2020). Some of the most prominent majors from the University of California—Irvine include:  

  • Biology Sciences 
  • Criminology  
  • Business/ Managerial Economics  
  • General Psychology  
  • Computer Sciences 
  • Sociology  
  • Political Sciences and Government  

The University has a student distribution of 47% males and 53% females. University of California—Irvine is vibrant with over 500 student organizations and about 50 fraternities and sororities.

Also, the University has an active sports team that is part of the NCAA I. 5% 0f the students reside in houses that are owned or affiliated to the university while 95% of the students live off-campus.

The university offers 58% of the students some form of need-based financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships. On average, the students receive $21,997.  

University of California—Irvine at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Public, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1965 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Quarter 
  • School Setting: Residential
  • Contact Phone: (949) 824-5011 
  • Tuition fees: $13,955(in-state); $43,709 (out-of-state) 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $60,200   
  • Acceptance rate: 38% 
  • SAT Score: 1215 and 1450 
  • ACT Score: Not specified  
  • Student to faculty ratio: 18:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 94%
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Official Website

#9. University of California—Davis

Location: Davis, 15 miles from Sacramento  

The public institution of the University of California—Davis was founded in the year 1905 with a focus to provide academic excellence.

The university is a massive 5,300 acres in size with a metropolitan setting, which makes it an ideal place to spend your college days. The student’s undergraduate enrollment for fall 2020 is 31,162. The university runs on a quarterly academic calendar.

According to the 2022 edition of Best, Colleges is National Universities, the University of California—Davis ranks number 38.

The university was part of the ten universities set up in the past as a farm school for the University of California—Berkeley. The school is outstanding for some of its structural features that include:  

  • An airport  
  • A fire department  
  • Egg heads (a collection of outdoor sculptures) 

Students that love to socialize can join one of the student organizations available on campus. There is also a vibrant Greek life available on campus in addition to about 65 fraternities and sorority chapters.

As a freshman at the university, you are entitled to accommodation on campus. Most students move out of the campus after their first year. Among the popular majors from the college includes:  

  • Engineering  
  • Management  
  • Law  
  • Medicine  
  • Veterinary Medicine  
  • Education  

The University of California—Davis is also prominent in sports and is a part of the NCAA I. It has a student distribution of 39% males and 61% females.

Around 56% of the full-time undergraduate students enjoy some form of need-based financial assistance in the form of scholarships and educational grants. University of California—Davis also comprises a 100 acres Arboretum, which serves as a public park and consists of gardens situated along a waterway.  

University of California—Davis at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Public, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1905 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: No  
  • Type of educational calendar: Quarter 
  • School Setting: Metropolitan 
  • Contact Phone: (530) 752-1011 
  • Tuition fees: $14,654(in-state); $44,408 (out-of-state) 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $57,900   
  • Acceptance rate: 46% 
  • SAT Score: 1140 and 1400 
  • ACT Score: 25 and 31  
  • Student to faculty ratio: 20:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 93% 

Official Website

#10. Pepperdine University 

Location: Santa Monica Mountain Foothills 

Pepperdine University is strategically lying along the foothills of Santa Monica and is prominent for its attractive Malibu, Calif location. Founded in the year 1937, the school is 830 acres in size and is affiliated with the Church of Christ.

As a student in the college, you are expected to attend 14 spiritual events every semester. It is also compulsory for students to be part of at least three religious courses throughout their program at Pepperdine.

In fall 2020, the university had an undergraduate enrollment of 3,459. According to the 2022 edition of Collegesleges in the National University, Pepperdine University is number 49. Some of the prominent majors from the university are:  

  • Business Management 
  • English Language and Literature/Letters 
  • Biology and Biomedical Sciences 
  • Visual and Performing Arts 
  • Social Sciences 
  • Religious Studies and Philosophy  
  • Leisure, Fitness, and Kinesiology 
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 

The University has a student distribution of 42% males and 58% females. In sports, the University is part of the NCAA I. There are also club sports available at the university like tennis, surfing, and lacrosse.

Also, there are several intramural sports available on campus. While there are active dozens of fraternities and sororities available at Pepperdine, there is
no authorized Greek housing is available on campus.

There are many notable alumni from the college, which includes personalities like Alex Acker and Nicole Sanderson (volleyball Olympic medalist). Other notable figures from the school
include Randy Wolf (baseball player) and Jason Allred (golfer).

When it comes to need-based financial aid, the university is responsible for providing 54% of the full-time undergraduates with one form of assistance, which may include either grants or scholarships. On average, the university provides students with as much as $40,751.  

Pepperdine University at a Glance

  • Type of institution: Private, Coed  
  • Year of commencement: 1937 
  • Affiliation with any religious body: Christian (Church of Christ)  
  • Type of educational calendar: Semester 
  • School Setting: Residential
  • Contact Phone: (310) 506-4000 
  • Tuition fees: $59,702 
  • Median Starting salary of college graduates: $54,000   
  • Acceptance rate: 42% 
  • SAT Score: 1200 and 1410 
  • ACT Score: 26 and 31  
  • Student to faculty ratio: 13:1  
  • Average freshman retention rate: 89% 

Official Website:

Conclusion

Attending a college in California is a great choice with a lot of opportunities available to choose from. California is one state that is devoted to providing quality education, which is prevalent in its public education system.

When it comes to the quality of education, California public colleges are among the top in the country and also rank among the best research institutes in the state.

Since early 1960, California had a master plan for education, which forms the foundation for the success it enjoys today. When it comes to graduation rates, Money.com scores the colleges in California very highly.

College life in California also comes with a lot of experiences and beautiful scenery. Little wonder the majority of people today are clamoring for an opportunity to study in California. Graduates are also valuable in the job market to good starting salary.  

References 

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