Wednesday, February 12, 2014

4 great public colleges you should consider applying to | USA ...

By Jon Fortenbury,

In This Story:

  • College of William & Mary

  • Purdue University

  • Texas A&M University

  • University of California at Berkley

By iStock

You don’t need to a private institution price tag to get a good education.

Private colleges aren’t the only schools that deserve praise.

There are plenty of public colleges that offer an excellent education, many times at a fraction of the price of private schools. Attending one of these public schools could offer you a fulfilling college experience that gets your resume a second glance from employers after graduation.

Here are four great public colleges you should take a closer look at.

1.) College of William & Mary

One great thing about the College of William & Mary is its size: just over 6,100 students. Here, you can reap the close-knit perks of a private school with the price tag of a public school (around $15,000 a year for in-staters).

Ranked at number 32 by U.S. News & World Report for national universities, the College of William & Mary offers over 30 undergraduate programs and 23 graduate degree programs. The school boasts three U.S. presidents as alumni: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler. A whopping 84% of classes have less than 40 students, according to the College of William & Mary website, and just over 30% of applicants are accepted. Another perk: Williamsburg, Va., where the school is located, is a college town, so you’ll be among students many places you go.

2.) University of California, Berkeley

If you’ve been a human for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard of the University of California, Berkeley. The school deserves all the fame that it gets.

Located in the quirky, thriving college town of Berkeley, just outside of San Francisco, UC-Berkeley is ranked number 20 by U.S. News & World Report, which makes it the top public college on the list. With an acceptance rate just under 20 percent, the school has “130 academic departments and more than 80 interdisciplinary research units,” according to the UC-Berkeley website, and a world-renowned law school. More fun facts about Berkeley: Fictional character Elaine Robinson from “The Graduate” went there, and the school has a hang gliding club.

3.) Texas A&M University

You’d be hard-pressed to find a college with as much school spirit as Texas A&M University.

Located in College Station, Texas, Texas A&M University is ranked at number 69 on the national university list from U.S. News & World Report. The college has a 67.1% acceptance rate, 40,000 students and over 120 undergraduate degree programs and 240 master’s and Ph.D. degree programs. But perhaps what sets this school apart from everything else is its campus life. According to the Texas A&M University website, there are over 800 student organizations on campus. Students are called “Aggies” and there’s an initiation process for new freshman into Aggie life.

4.) Purdue University

Only two colleges can claim to have Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, as alumni: Purdue University is one of them.

Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus is ranked number 68 by U.S. News & World Report for national universities, offering over 200 areas of undergraduate study and 70 graduate degree programs. The school also has an active campus life, with nearly a quarter of students taking part in Greek life and a third living on campus. One student tradition is running through one of the campus fountains at the beginning and the end of your time there as a student. And perhaps coolest of all: Students can study to be an astronaut at Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Purdue accepts just over 60% of applicants on a rolling admissions basis. If you’re in-state, you may even pay under 10 grand a year for tuition and fees. So not only do students have the opportunity to join the ranks of Neil Armstrong by studying at Purdue, they may also be able to do so without accruing a lot of student loan debt.

There are plenty of other great public colleges in the United States worth checking out, ranging from the University of Texas at Austin to the University of Virginia. But that just drives home the point even more: Private colleges aren’t the only schools worth applying to. You can have your dream college experience at public schools, too.

Jon Fortenbury is an Austin-based freelance writer who specializes in higher education. He’s been published by the likes of the Huffington Post and The Atlantic and is a featured contributor to Follow him on Twitter, to see his desperate pleas to Zooey Deschanel for her hand in marriage.



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