Cities Journal

These Are The Best Colleges On The West Coast


The West Coast is famous for its tech and startup scenes, which have given rise to numerous great companies, products, and successful people. Not that long ago, many of these people attended West Coast colleges which provided them with a top-notch education they later used to change the world.

College Raptor , a website that helps future students and their families make smarter and cheaper college choices, has done an extensive research into the many colleges on the West Coast, coming up with a list of the best among them.

According to the people from College Raptor, they used a number of metrics to evaluate the colleges, as well as publicly available data. Their list is supposed to represent an overall assessment of the quality of a college and in order to make things simple, they collated the numbers into a single score which they then used to rank the colleges.

The first factor they included is the first-year retention rate which makes for 23 percent of the final score and which gives the percentage of first-year students who come back the following year. Median SAT/ACT scores make for 11 percent of the final score, as do the average faculty salary and student-to-faculty ratio. They also looked at how selective the colleges are and took into account endowment per student. Finally, they looked at both the four-year graduation rate and the six-year graduation rate.

The best college on the West Coast, according to College Raptor, is Stanford University which, by the way, comes in fourth overall in the United States. It features the overall score of 95.4 thanks to its incredible first-year retention rate, the second-best overall selectivity index, and an incredible student-to-faculty ratio. In addition to this, it is a college that spawns great entrepreneurs. For instance, there are 30 billionaires living today who graduated from Stanford.

Pomona College is the second-best college on the West Coast, a liberal arts college that has been ranked among the best colleges in the country for many, many years now. For example, Forbes named it the best undergraduate college in the country while U.S. News & World Report ranked it fourth-best liberal arts college. Besides scoring more than decently in all of the categories we mentioned, Pomona is also renowned for the diversity of its student body and the fact that many of its students receive financial aid. It is not the kind of college where your parents buy you the ticket.


In third place, we find California Institute of Technology, one of the country’s finest science and engineering universities. Some of the more popular majors at CalTech are computer Science, Chemical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Out of all the colleges in the country, Caltech students boast the highest estimated SAT scores in high school. The college takes very good care of their faculty and their student body diversity scores are also very good.

Claremont McKenna College is the fourth best college on the West Coast, sharing its campus with another six members of the Claremont Colleges Consortium. It is by far the best out of the seven, especially excelling at its business and social science majors. The college is home to eleven different research institutes and centers, making it one of the more research-focused liberal arts colleges in the country.

The University of California-Berkeley is the fifth finest college on the West Coast, according to College Raptor. It is also one of the best public colleges in the country. The college enrolls a whopping 26,000 undergraduates and boasts the most diverse student body among public colleges. Berkeley faculty, researchers, and alumni have won 72 Nobel Prizes, 13 Fields Medals, 14 Pulitzer Prizes, 9 Wolf Prizes, 22 Turing Awards, 45 MacArthur Fellowships. They have also discovered 16 Period Table elements, mostly in collaboration with Berkeley Lab.

Other West Coast colleges that made it to the Top 10 include Soka University of America, Harvey Mudd College, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Southern California and Scripps College.

If you are interested in finding out more about the other West Coast colleges that are considered among the best, you should check out the College Raptor list .

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