These Are the 10 Best Public Universities in the US

7. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

photo via Wikimedia Commons

If you like an urban setting in the South and a place to pursue post-secondary education, particularly in the STEM subjects, this is your place! Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta – or Hotlanta as many locals refer to it, is better known today as Georgia Tech.

Along with rigorous academics in the science, math and engineering areas, Georgia Tech also boasts a robust athletic program and is famous for its NCAA-Division 1 and primarily ACC Yellow Jackets football team.

The school has many other sports teams and organizations, if your interests are outside football.

Georgia Tech has world-renowned engineering (ranked #4 by US News and World Report) and computer science programs, and these programs attract many talented applicants from all over the world – especially as the metro Atlanta area continues to grow and boasts the busiest international airport in the world (ATL).

With several campuses and centers in different locations around the city, the more than 30,000 students at Georgia Tech have a plethora of options. With the city’s notorious traffic congestion, those who aren’t lucky enough to live on or near campus will need to plan their commute to class carefully.     


6. University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

photo by WillMcC via Wikimedia Commons

For aspiring college students interested in a large, first-class, state research university in the Sunshine State, The University of Florida’s flagship campus in Gainesville is an excellent choice.

It is ranked highly by most of the credible sources for a variety of factors, and the city of Gainesville is the quintessential college town. Livability.com writes, “With great weather and beautiful scenery, it’s easy to understand why more than 55,000 students choose to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville. … Downtown Gainesville is also great for shopping, eating, drinking, live theater and nightlife.”

For lovers of football, you have the huge fan base surrounding the Florida Gators and proximity to the circus of tailgating and armchair quarterbacking and constant analysis by countless “experts” throughout the Fall season.

For those that have other interests, there are great fishing spots, wetlands, plenty of parks and museums and even a butterfly sanctuary, according to Trip Advisor. Great beaches are less than two hours away.

The University of Florida has a strong academic reputation and along with a robust liberal arts division, has strong engineering, health programs and medical studies and even a Lightning Study Institute as Florida experiences more lightning than any other state.

Be prepared to have a solid academic record to get accepted, as the school doesn’t just let any Gators fan or beach bum to join the fray. According to the Independent Florida Alligator, 49,401 people applied for the class of 2024 and only 14,561 were accepted for summer and Fall admission.

Applicants who were accepted had an average GPA of 4.45 out of 5.0 and SAT scores of 1388 of 1600 possible.


5. University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

photo by Alton via Wikimedia Commons

One of 10 campuses in the University of California system, UCLA is nestled in America’s 2nd largest city in the “village” of Westwood.

This enclave provides a bit of calm and equanimity for the 45,742 students who come from all over the world to this nearly always sunny — but sometimes chaotic, sprawling, urban megalopolis that translates from its Spanish moniker as the “City of Angels.”

Just 8 miles from the beautiful Pacific Ocean, Westwood is teeming with restaurants, shops and cinemas (of course), so there is plenty to do when students aren’t in class or studying. UCLA is as famous for its academics and research output as some of Los Angeles’ superstar residents.

In a world that blindly worships celebrity culture, UCLA’s focus is on learning, research, innovation and creativity. Optimism is a key theme of the university and UCLA encourages its students to persevere “through impossibility” and “turn the futile into the attainable.

The university claims that it is this optimistic and can-do attitude that has helped it produce 14 Nobel Prize winners, 14 faculty MacArthur Fellows, 18 NCAA titles and “more Olympic medals than most nations.”

UCLA has contributed greatly to technological advances and even played a role in the creation of the modern Internet and World Wide Web. The first internet-based electronic message was sent in 1969 from UCLA to Stanford.

It’s not surprising that continued research in technology here has led to the creation of more than 140 companies that depend on it. The university is competitive and receives 100,000 applications every year, more than any other institution.


4. University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

photo via Wikimedia Commons

“If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” This famous philosophical question was posed by the Enlightenment Irish philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753), and this is where Berkeley, California gets its name.

The University California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is famous for its many scientific contributions as well as its students’ involvement in the often-turbulent anti-Vietnam War and Free Speech movements of the 60’s.

With San Francisco just a short drive over the Bay Bridge, it isn’t surprising that local students were heavily influenced by all of the political, cultural, and musical innovations, shifts and conflicts of that colorful and important milieu of American history.

Today, the college is more associated with its technological research and its proximity to Silicon Valley provides students with a fast track to some of the largest technology and software companies on the planet.

Google’s world headquarters is less than 50 miles away in Mountain View and Facebook’s main offices are in the Palo Alto area. 

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