Georgia is home to many excellent colleges and universities. Most of the state’s top post-secondary schools are located in the greater Atlanta area. Every year, these colleges and universities receive rankings that compare them to other schools across the nation. Organizations publish college rankings to help prospective students decide where to apply. The data shared below was gathered from the U.S. Department of Education and millions of student and alumni reviews and surveys.
Although specifics may vary, most score the same basic categories for college ranking reports. Admission, retention and graduation rates, school resources and the overall cost of attending factor into the college ranking system. Other rated categories include the diversity of the student body and faculty, student life and the overall sense of community at each location. Check out these top 10 Atlanta-area schools and the reasons behind their high rankings.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech not only ranks as a top Atlanta university, but consistently ranks high nationally as one of the best colleges for engineering, design and computer science. As with other high-ranking schools, admission is competitive at just 23 percent. Still, the current enrollment includes over 13,000 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is 22:1.
Popular majors at Georgia Tech include Industrial Engineering, Information Science and Mechanical Engineering. The institution’s highest rankings are in academics, diversity, athletics, student life and overall value. Campus life is often described as “challenging”, but the school still receives an “A” for its party scene. After financial aid or scholarships, the college reports an average net cost of just under $16,000 per year.
Emory University is a high-ranking, mid-sized institution with a current undergraduate enrollment of 6,794. Its admission rate is 22 percent and the net cost of attendance is significantly higher than the national average, at nearly $27,000 per year. However, Emory’s graduation rate is nearly double the national average: an impressive 91 percent compared to a national graduation average of 49 percent.
Emory’s most popular major is business, followed by biology, nursing, economics and psychology. With a student/faculty ratio of just 9:1, Emory University earns an “A+” on academics. Other areas of high ranking include diversity, professors, dorms, student life and value. Nationally, Emory ranks first among Christian colleges, second for best nursing colleges and third for having the best professors in America.
Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott ranks as the number one best small college in Georgia and the seventh best women’s college nationally. Located in Decatur, the school has a high acceptance rate of 66 percent. Its annual net cost of just over $22,000 is higher than the national average, as is its graduation rate of 66 percent. Agnes Scott’s 913 undergraduate students enjoy a student/faculty ratio of 10:1.
Popular majors for women attending Agnes Scott include public health, psychology, business and mathematics. Alumni rank the campus high in academics, diversity, student life and professor quality. Categories receiving a “B” grade include dorms, value, safety and the campus itself.
One of Atlanta’s six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), all-women Spelman College ranks as the top HBCU in America. The admission rate at Spelman is fairly competitive at 40 percent. It is considered a small college with just over 2,000 full-time undergraduate students. Academics, professors, student life and party scene all rank high at Spelman, while the dorms and campus food are cited as areas in need of improvement.
Psychology is the most popular major at Spelman, followed by biology, economics, political science and government. Even after financial aid and scholarships are applied, Spelman remains relatively expensive at a net cost of $36,190 per year.
Georgia State University
Highly diverse GSU is located on a sprawling campus right in the middle of the city. Its population represents more than 51,000 students from over 170 countries. GSU has one of the higher acceptance rates of Atlanta-area colleges at 70 percent, and it offers rolling admissions throughout the year. It is also affordable, with an annual net cost just below the national average at $15,523.
Georgia State offers over 250 degree programs and most graduates leave with a degree in psychology, biology, finance or journalism. Only half of the attending freshmen live on campus, and those who do give the dorms a “C+.” However, the school ranks high in athletics, diversity, student life and location. GSU’s graduation rate is 53 percent, just over the national average.
Kennesaw State University
This large public university currently has almost 25,000 full-time undergraduates majoring in communications, psychology, liberal arts/humanities, accounting and more. Its graduation rate is slightly below the national average, at 42 percent. Students can expect an annual net cost just under $18,000 and an acceptance rate of 61 percent. The campus, diversity and campus food all rank high at Kennesaw State, and the scores for academics, student life and value are also good.
Another famous Atlanta HBCU, Morehouse College applicants enjoy a higher-than-average acceptance rate of 74 percent. Its 2,090 undergraduate all-male students tend to major in business, biology and economics and have a graduation rate of 55 percent. Morehouse currently ranks as the sixth-best HBCU in America.
The yearly net cost to attend Morehouse is $30,566, approximately double the national average. The categories of student life and the party scene received the highest rankings by students and alumni. Morehouse College’s scores were also good for academics, professors, diversity and location.
Located about an hour north of Atlanta in Gainesville, Brenau is well-known in the Atlanta area for its picturesque 57-acre campus. This all-women college offers eight sororities and 15 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) sports teams. Rolling admissions at Brenau accept 66 percent of applicants and the college currently has over 1,000 undergraduate students representing 18 different countries.
The net price to attend Brenau University is just over $21,000 per year. The most popular majors are nursing, liberal arts/humanities and business. Diversity, safety, academics and value are all ranked high at Brenau.
Named in honor of the founder of the Colony of Georgia, Oglethorpe University is located just north of Atlanta in Brookhaven. This small, private institution has an enrollment of 1,166 undergraduate students and has an acceptance rate of 58 percent.
Forty-seven percent of students go on to graduate with degrees in business, rhetoric/composition, biology and other majors. Overall scores are high for location, diversity, party scene and student life. The net cost to attend Oglethorpe University is $22,323 per year.
Clayton State University
Located just south of Atlanta in the city of Morrow, Clayton State is one of Atlanta’s most affordable colleges at a net cost of just $10,232 per year. CSU’s acceptance rate is 42 percent. Popular majors include liberal arts/humanities, nursing, community psychology and hospital management. Over 3,700 undergraduate students experience a student to faculty ratio of 18:1. Although only 30 percent of students go on to graduate, alumni rank the school well for its diversity, academics, professors, dorms and student life.