25 Top Private Colleges 2019: Harvard, Stanford, Yale Dominate


This year, the Forbes’ Top 25 Private Colleges list is dominated by elite universities in the Northeast, including all eight Ivy Leagues, many of which opened their doors before the founding fathers drafted the constitution. 

At the top of the list is Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, which is also ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ nationwide list for the third year in a row. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. and also boasts the highest endowment at nearly $40 billion. Harvard is known for fostering great minds and successful leaders, whether they earn a formal diploma or not; Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are both Harvard dropouts.

Four California schools made the list: Stanford University (No. 2), California Institute of Technology (No. 8), Pomona College (No. 12) and Harvey Mudd College (No. 21). Stanford and Caltech have consistently ranked high on the list in previous years, and both stand out as West Coast alternatives to the Ivy Leagues.

This year, Caltech was outranked by its East Coast rival, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which came in at No. 4. Pomona and engineering college Harvey Mudd are the only two out of the seven colleges in highly-selective Claremont College Consortium to make the list.

Pomona is the highest ranked liberal arts college on the list, and is also the oldest and most prestigious member of the Claremont Consortium. Several small colleges follow Pomona on the list, and what they lack in size they make up for in academic prowess: Williams College (No. 18), Swarthmore College (No. 22), Bowdoin College (No. 23) and Amherst College (No. 25).

Duke University (No. 9), Rice University (No. 19) and Vanderbilt University, all renowned as global research centers, are the highest ranked southern schools on this list, as well as on the Forbes’ nationwide list. Duke is an anomaly on this list, known for its world-class athletic program — 27 teams of Blue Devils compete in the NCAA’s Division I —  as much as for its academics. Founded in 1912, Rice University is one of the youngest top private schools, and it is known for being slightly more affordable than than its peer private schools.

The University of Chicago (No. 15), Northwestern University (No. 16) in Illinois and the University of Notre Dame (No. 17) in Indiana are the only Midwestern schools to make the cut. Notre Dame has a unique tradition of Catholicism and scientific and knowledge, and it is one of two universities on the list with religious affiliations; Jesuit-affiliated Georgetown University comes in ahead of Notre Dame at No. 14.

These are the Top 25 Private Schools of 2019:

  1. Harvard University 
  2. Stanford University 
  3. Yale University 
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  5. Princeton University 
  6. University of Pennsylvania 
  7. Brown University 
  8. California Institute of Technology 
  9. Duke University 
  10. Dartmouth College
  11. Cornell University
  12. Pomona College
  13. Columbia University  
  14. Georgetown University 
  15. University of Chicago
  16. Northwestern University 
  17. University of Notre Dame
  18. Williams College
  19. Rice University 
  20. Johns Hopkins University 
  21. Harvey Mudd College 
  22. Swarthmore College
  23. Bowdoin College
  24. Vanderbilt University 
  25. Amherst College

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I'm a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania where I study English, film and French. I'm a beat reporter and deputy news editor for my college's paper, the Dai

...