2017 Best Colleges in North Carolina

The Best Colleges ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. The ranking compares more than 1,000 top colleges and universities in the U.S.
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Viewing 1-25 of 51
  1. 1

    Duke University

    • Durham, NC
    • 1,005 reviews
    Freshman:If you aren't entirely decided on what you want to study, or want to combine two fields that don't seem to fit, Duke is the best school available to you. The flexible pathway through Duke is one of its best features, and it guarantees there's something academic for nearly everyone here. Not to mention everything that goes on outside of academics. Whether you're a performance artist, coder, engineer, service-learner, researcher, intense athlete, or a just for fun one, there's a place for you here. If you're anything at all, and looking to challenge yourself, then come to Duke!
    More about Duke University
  2. 2
    Alum:UNC Chapel Hill - the name rings familiarity across the nation. A part of one of the biggest college basketball rivals, a leader in NC healthcare, and known for the specificity of "Carolina blue," UNC is a treasure. Nostalgia hits me every time I return: the campus is beautiful, the students are all on their way to achieving greatness, and the professors genuinely care about what goes on in their the students' minds. Diversity is not that high - as probably 60% of the students want to become doctors and nurses. The racial diversity is representative of the statistics in America. The culture diversity, however, is rather high and incorporating of all activities that I can think of. Overall, a fantastic institution!
    More about University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  3. 3

    Davidson College

    • Davidson, NC
    • 268 reviews
    College Freshman:While there are always people (professors included) that one does not like, generally the professors are super engaging, great teachers and want to help their students! Most classes are challenging and professors always offer their help.
    More about Davidson College
  4. 4

    Wake Forest University

    • Winston Salem, NC
    • 726 reviews
    College Freshman:Wake Forest is the perfect school if you are looking for like minded, career driven individuals that are very well rounded and are incredibly aware of everything. The size is perfect so that you don't have to see the people you don't want to see everywhere, yet you see a ton of people you know at the same time. The school has people from all over the place and brings together bright minded people that are easy to get along with. Keeping up with the academic portion of the school can get difficult, but is manageable with basic time management skills. Also, there is resources that can be tapped if you are having difficulties in school. The campus is well connected and no building is too far to walk to. Fraternities are the social scene on campus and it is difficult to have fun without being in a Greek organization. There are a ton of extracurricular activities and will have a club or organization that meets you're interests. As a second semester Freshman, I could not have made a better decision with my college decision.
    More about Wake Forest University
  5. 5

    North Carolina State University

    • Raleigh, NC
    • 2,819 reviews
    Alum:My four years at NC State University were incredible! The student body is diverse, welcoming, and supportive, and the faculty/staff are encouraging and truly want you to succeed. My experience in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences was particularly outstanding - there are numerous opportunities to get involved, make connections, and learn more about potential careers. NC State has excellent facilities, a world-class library, never-ending opportunities for growth and engagement in the community, and more. I could not be more satisfied with my time at NC State, and would highly recommend the university to any college student searching for their next home.
    More about North Carolina State University
  6. 6

    Appalachian State University

    • Boone, NC
    • 2,240 reviews
    Freshman:I am currently a second semester freshman at Appalachian State University and I love it here. At the beginning of the school year I did not enjoy the school that much since I am not into the outdoors that much, but over the course of time I began to participate in outdoor activities more and make connections with people who also felt the same way about App. However, after a few weeks of being here I have grown to feel more comfortable and to love the school. After being here one semester I found myself missing Appalachian and eager to come back to the school for my second semester. I have enjoyed being here since and am looking forward to the next four years here!
    More about Appalachian State University
  7. 7
    Graduate Student:UNCW is a wonderful university with quality professors and a beautiful campus. My time there was memorable and prepared me exceptionally well for grad school. Seahawk Village is an awesome place to stay campus! The beach plus the films and TV shows that are constantly being produced in Wilmington make it a unique and extraordinary experience. I am now at UNC Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler business school, and my professors here have referenced the Cameron School of Business as the NC business school they consider 2nd to their program. If you know anything about UNC, you know that is high praise. I feel lucky that I have had these experiences at both institutions, and I would recommend UNCW to students who want a laid back campus atmosphere combined with rigorous study, especially at Cameron.
    More about University of North Carolina - Wilmington
  8. 8

    Elon University

    • Elon, NC
    • 1,390 reviews
    College Freshman:Elon is a home away from home. Everything you could want from a big university with a small tight-knit community. The campus is ranked as one of the most beautiful in the nation. Although the student body is not very diverse, everyone can find people who mesh with them. The classes are small and teachers love getting to know and keeping in touch with students. There is always a variety of good food options and they are renovating McEwen next year to include even more! The party scene can be repetitive but gets better once you meet more people and move off campus. The dorms are amazing! Global and colonades are gorgeous neighborhoods. Danieley flats and apartments are always doing something. Historic is rich with Elon history and you are surrounded by all first years, which means lots of friends. Sports are not the biggest but some teams do draw huge crowds. The soccer games will have full and loud stands in the fall. An up and coming school in the rankings and an amazing place to spend four years learning and making lifelong friends.
    More about Elon University
  9. 9
    Junior:My school is almost perfect! I didn't even tour it, and it is perfect! The food is super healthy, there are plenty of free fitness options, movie nights every Friday, lots of activities on Thursdays from 11-1, and a school that focuses on safety and acceptance. The cops are super nice, and the staff in general is! The only thing I wish would improve is parking. They are working on a new residence hall/dormitory area but we really need more parking for the people we already have.
    More about University of North Carolina at Asheville
  10. 10

    East Carolina University

    • Greenville, NC
    • 2,548 reviews
    Freshman:I love my school. I am currently a student at ECU and love everything about it! My classes have all been great. They are challenging but still manageable plus all of my professors seem to genuinely care about their students and their success which I think is really important in academic performance. Most people are super sweet and really fun. Theres tons of clubs to join and sports teams to join its crazy. Nightlife is great too! There's always something to do! Facilities are great. Some dormitories are nicer than others but thats to be expected with any college. Campus is beautiful especially on a fall afternoon on the mall. Love Sup Dogs, Game Days, the squirrels, and even arguing with brother ross. Greenville is my home and I LOVE MY SCHOOL
    More about East Carolina University
  11. 11

    Meredith College

    • Raleigh, NC
    • 633 reviews
    Senior:Meredith College has a wonderful support system with all of its teachers and alumni there ready to help you succeed. I love that Meredith is such a small campus because it allows for the students and the teachers to become close and get to know each other. At Meredith you don't feel like a number, the staff go out of their way to make you feel like a person and they are always available to help you when you have an issue. The campus is beautiful, it becomes very easy to lose yourself in the scenery. I love Meredith and would reccomend it to everyone.
    More about Meredith College
  12. 12
    Sophomore:UNCC is literally home for me. People can say all they want about it being a "commuter" school, but there are thousands of students that live on campus. Not only that, but the professors (at least in my department) are fantastic. Absolutely amazing. They're intelligent, passionate, and actually want you to succeed. Greek life is growing as well, and being apart of UNCC's greek life has been a very rewarding experience for me. UNCC continues to grow bigger and better every year. Although our sport teams aren't the best, they're new and getting better. Although UNCC doesn't have a whole lot of tradition, WE are the students that get to start the traditions that will be marked as legends on this campus. Speaking of the campus, it's beautifully built. Some of the buildings can be frustrating when you can't find your class, but the campus is definitely up to par on it's looks. All the brick MATCHES!
    More about University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  13. 13
    Junior:Coming in with over 60 college credits out of high school, the University made it really easy to find a balance between being a 1st year freshman with a class rank of a Junior. The application process was normal, I got to register for classes earlier than the rest of my Freshman class mates and I'm due to graduate in Spring of 2018, 2 years after I graduated high school. Overall, I would say that the advising team is very dedicated to making your time here worthwhile, along with all the clubs, activities, and community events that are hosted here on campus there's no way you can be here and not feel culturally enlightened. If you're looking to get out of your comfort zone, this school is for you. If you're looking for a school that has your best interest at heart, you found it. Awesome school!
    More about University of North Carolina - Greensboro
  14. 14
    Recent Alumnus:My school is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Being able to do something to what I love and present it on stage often times during the school year is exciting. I like how there are super well know guests of every kind of talent come and visit our college and talk to the classes and inspire the environment and energy. The students are always doing something with their majors and it would always be different with too much creative, which is what makes them epic! I'm going to spend the rest of my years here most definitely.
    More about University of North Carolina School of the Arts
  15. 15

    Western Carolina University

    • Cullowhee, NC
    • 1,247 reviews
    Sophomore:I love being at Western Carolina University because it feels like home away from home. Not only do the professors make you feel wanted but the staff does as well. Every adult authority really does their best to make you feel at home. The campus is not to big so you can easily find your way around and once you get to know people you will pass them walking around. It is so nice to be able to walk around and see a familiar face. Western Carolina does need more food options and better quality food but they are working on that. Another reason I love Western is because they are continuously growing. We received a new multipurpose building this year featuring dining, stores, and dorm rooms, and we will be receiving a new building as well next year. The growth and the time spent at Western amazes me!
    More about Western Carolina University
  16. 16

    North Carolina A&T State University

    • Greensboro, NC
    • 2,444 reviews
    Sophomore:Well what can I say about A&T? If you're looking for acceptance and a family environment, then this is the right school. We have a variety of career choice students love. Despite the fact that the school is an hbcu, there is still much diversity and everybody is treated as an equal and will feel at home and welcomed right away. Academic awards as well as artistic talents are broadcasted as well. Many of the events in campus include talent shows and prizes are rewarded. We are so supportive and always show great Aggie pride! A major part of growing on campus is networking, and there are so many people that would be willing to help. All you have to do is ask. Personally I speak with counselors and veterans and disabilities to accompany all my needs. So if you need accommodations or special services there's no need to worry! We're all here to help. I would recommend A&T state with 5 stars overall because I have fallen inlove with this school.
    More about North Carolina A&T State University
  17. 17

    Queens University of Charlotte

    • Charlotte, NC
    • 441 reviews
    Senior:Queens is the perfect school for you if you love small, homey environments. Queens is a very small campus, it'll take you 5 minutes to walk to the farthest part on campus! The student body closely resembles that of the size of a high school (2,500-3,000) students. Queens is also a liberal arts school so here we focus a lot on the arts and you are required to take some arts courses because of this, but I loved it; it broadened my knowledge and forced me to take courses that I may not have taken otherwise. Because of the size of the school the ratio of professor to student is along the lines of 1:17, which is great because you are NOT known as just a number here, you are an individual that the Professor actually gets to know. It makes your experience better when you know that your Professor cares about you. If you enjoy truly being known on campus, small school/classes then Queens is the perfect fit for you!
    More about Queens University of Charlotte
  18. 18

    Salem College

    • Winston Salem, NC
    • 481 reviews
    Freshman:A beautiful campus full of beautiful people! I love this school a lot because it is just an amazing community of people who want you there, and do amazing things.
    More about Salem College
  19. 19
    Freshman:Johnson & Wales is a very good school. The small environment really gives the one-on-one experience that enhances the growth of students. The staff noticeably cares about your education and safety. I recommend at least visiting this school at least once before ruling it out. Best choice I have made!
    More about Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte
  20. 20

    High Point University

    • High Point, NC
    • 1,307 reviews
    Niche User:One year ago, attending the Presidential Scholarship weekend changed our family for the better. HPU became part of our life. My son #2 knew that weekend that HPU was on his short list. After being accepted to more prestigious schools, he decided, despite a lot of pressure from family and friends, to take a leap of faith and go to HPU. He entered in the Fall of 2016 into the honors program. The opportunities he's had thus far have been amazing. HPU delivers on everything and more. In addition, my son #1 decided to transfer to HPU in the Fall of 2016 as well. Two brothers, same school, very different experiences and both having an extraordinary education and experience.
    I read everything on the internet about HPU, much good, some not so good. I was so nervous about whether or not we had made a good decision. I couldn't be more pleased with HPU and proud that my boys are part of such a warm, loving college community. So...HPU, plan on seeing son #3 in the Fall of 2018!
    More about High Point University
  21. 21

    Gardner-Webb University

    • Boiling Springs, NC
    • 658 reviews
    Junior:I have enjoyed my time at Gardner-Webb. The people and staff are very friendly! I love the Christian environment. You will meet some of the best professors here at GWU!
    However, I believe the school should improve with activities over the weekend and not close everything down (including the food choices). Yes, a good majority of people go home on the weekends, but if the school offered more variety over the weekends then students might choose to stay. For those who have no other option and must stay on the weekends sometimes find difficulty in finding something fun to do.
    Overall, I love GWU, the family atmosphere, Christian base, and professors who care.
    More about Gardner-Webb University
  22. 22

    Wingate University

    • Wingate, NC
    • 577 reviews
    College Senior:I love wingate. It is my home away from home. I transferred here after an awful first year at another college. I came to campus and was welcomed by orientation leaders and students from organizations on campus. They moved me in and helped me get settled. The welcome week events are great to help you get to know people on campus. Wingate really values this initial experience because they know it will make/break your Wingate experience. The food is mediocre, but you can move into an on campus apartment with kitchens as an upperclassmen! I would choose Wingate again because my professors are amazing and caring, it's easy to be involved, and I have met some of my very best friends here.
    More about Wingate University
  23. 23

    Methodist University

    • Fayetteville, NC
    • 514 reviews
    Freshman:Methodist university is a great school for students that like small classes and a small campus. I really like how involved the professors are and also the pride in the school overall! Greek life is a big part of my life and it is growing very fast. The one thing I'd like to see change is the cafeteria food. It is not the worst but not the best. I wish there were more options for the students.
    More about Methodist University
  24. 24

    Barton College

    • Wilson, NC
    • 379 reviews
    Freshman:I love the staff and the campus. My instructors always lend a helping hand when possible. I love that Barton College has an open door policy. My peers are wonderful as well. Any question I cannot get to an instructor or administration right away, most of my upper-classed peers help me out. The home feeling I get while staying on campus is phenomenal and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! Thank you Barton College!
    More about Barton College
  25. 25

    Fayetteville State University

    • Fayetteville, NC
    • 713 reviews
    Sophomore:Fayetteville State University is what you make of it. Me personally would like to see a change in the cafe, better food. Also having more events outside, to get people out and mingling. Last, spreading the events that do go on around to all people. This is another reason why people don't come to stuff because they either here about it late or don't check there email or have to hear it through a friend. Getting the information out to others would be a great! Other than that the school is okay academic wise.
    More about Fayetteville State University