2017 Best Colleges in Virginia

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 44
  1. 1

    Washington & Lee University

    • Lexington, VA
    • 388 reviews
    Alum:I graduated in 2002 and I still keep up with my professors, faculty, classmates, and most of all my fraternity brothers. The alumni connections are worth the tuition alone. It teaches you far more than what can be taught online or in a classroom alone. The best 4 years of my life!
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  2. 2

    University of Virginia

    • Charlottesville, VA
    • 2,007 reviews
    Freshman:I love the University of Virginia! Grounds are beautiful, and so many interesting classes are offered. I am going to double major in music and bio/neuroscience, and there are so many options available to me. The student body is very large and so anyone can find a group of people they love and fit in with. The classes and professors are great, and I will agree that there are many reasons why UVA is highly esteemed.
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  3. 3

    Virginia Tech

    • Blacksburg, VA
    • 3,396 reviews
    Junior:When it comes to Virginia Tech, I've got a simple, 3 word phrase that speaks for itself: "This is Home." I never imagine while being away for college I would ever truly feel as if I was at my 'home away from home' but Tech has proved me wrong. Although we have a large student body, everyone seems to find 'their people' which makes this place so personal. The only thing I could think to change is the diversity level; although it seems we are a very diverse campus, when you look at the numbers, it is clear that we are not. Diversity should be incorporated more into our own little culture here at Virginia Tech!
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  4. 4

    University of Richmond

    • University of Richmond, VA
    • 667 reviews
    Junior:The University of Richmond is a great school. It has solid aspects of all major realms of college life. We have great academic departments, staffed by some really great professors. Our sports teams are well known around the country, especially our basketball teams. We have a multitude of service organizations and opportunities, allowing students to really get involved in developing the community outside the campus. Finally, the students here are very friendly and welcoming, which contributes to a great social facet of campus. I just wish for a bit more diversity in the types of organization son campus. It seems that most organizations are focused on some sort of service, are a social/professional fraternity, or are sports related. I would like to see people expressing their interests Joe and reaching out to people who might share them.
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  5. 5

    College of William & Mary

    • Williamsburg, VA
    • 1,361 reviews

    Absolutely beautiful and small, manageable campus and college. Williamsburg is a lovely place too. Professors are passionate and truly amazing, and the curriculum/class choices/education - equally amazing. Students are also not subject to being taught by graduate students.

    Most dorms are really bad though especially the ones the freshman are put in, many without air conditioning. Housing selection is disorganized and favors the university and not the student. Their screening process to match roommates needs significant updating.

    Not easy or cheap to get to the airport in spite of how simple they make it sound especially for those without cars and/or out of state students. Connections are not great either (avoid Norfolk airport).

    W&M not helpful to out of state students. Like the extra $ but tuned into more of the in state students or ones from states nearby. It's time W&M goes back to being private.
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  6. 6

    James Madison University

    • Harrisonburg, VA
    • 2,602 reviews
    Sophomore:James Madison University is often called "the happiest place on Earth," right next to Disney World, of course! It's nestled in a valley, so you have a gorgeous view of the mountains from campus, and the sunsets are phenomenal. Everyone is so friendly and warm, and the school is ranked nationally for the great food. JMU even has a Starbucks truck that goes around campus! Professors want to see you succeed and there' a Student Success Center that offers tutoring, counseling, and many other services devoted to helping students. JMU is Divison I for most sports, except football, in which the Dukes are Divison II. All home football games are preceded by tailgates. Dukes work hard and play hard, so there is a party scene, but there's plenty to do in Downtown Harrisonburg on the weekends as well. Usually only freshmen live in the dorms on campus, however they are available to all students and there are on-campus apartment options. James Madison is an outstanding and well-rounded school.
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  7. 7

    Virginia Military Institute

    • Lexington, VA
    • 175 reviews
    College Sophomore:The professors are very easy to get in contact with and have an actual interest in the success of their students. I have never once felt like I couldn't go to a professor for help with something, and even if I couldn't, there are multiple organizations and areas to receive help in all my classes. VMI has excellent major-related and Gen Ed. classes, especially in the STEM fields. That being said, there aren't many elective classes, and there are virtually no art-type classes (art history, music, etc). Classes are all pretty small, with the largest I've seen being about 24 students. Given the school only has about 1,700 students at any given time, this is understandable. Class styles are all pretty similar, with classrooms generally being of the same design across the board, with obvious variations for labs.
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  8. 8

    Liberty University

    • Lynchburg, VA
    • 6,086 reviews
    Junior:Liberty is a great Christian university for those who are religious and non-religious alike. While the rules can feel a little overbearing at times, the main focus of the school is to cultivate well-rounded students with an acceptable education, critical thinking skills, and communication skills. Many activities available to students including a vast array of high level sports teams, concerts, recreation centers, a fitness center with the best equipment, all at a relatively affordable price. All individuals getting ready to earn a degree should seriously consider this university!
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  9. 9

    George Mason University

    • Fairfax, VA
    • 3,919 reviews
    Freshman:George Mason is a pretty safe school due to the fact all of the parties occur off campus. We have very few violent crimes occur at the campus. On the academics side of things, George Mason has a very wide variety of majors that they continue to excel at. They are currently building a new medical building to add to their already present nursing program. I highly recommend Mason because there is so many things available on campus that you never have to look anywhere else. The best way to have a good experience at Mason is by getting involved on Campus!
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  10. 10

    Hollins University

    • Roanoke, VA
    • 440 reviews
    College Junior:As a senior in high school, eager to pursue the next phase in my academic future, I searched for a university that valued individualized experiences. I wanted to be a part of a community that facilitated student dialogue and personalized relationships between students, faculty, and staff. As a junior at Hollins University, a private women's liberal arts school, I have found that supportive community that fosters individual growth at an accelerated level through leadership and professional opportunities. I have passionately become involved with the Student Government Association and am now President! Attending Hollins is like winning the lottery. Be bold. Be different. Be revolutionary. At Hollins, it's encouraged.
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  11. 11

    Christopher Newport University

    • Newport News, VA
    • 1,069 reviews
    Alum:I fell in love with CNU as soon as I first visited. To begin, the campus is absolutely gorgeous and I have many fond memories of sunbathing on the Great Lawn people watching and shouting to my friends to join me. The sense of community that surrounds the school is palpable. It's small enough that you can have a close group of friends you'll keep in contact regularly, but big enough that you can meet new people everyday and add to your social circle. There are well over 200 campus organizations/clubs and about twenty Greek life organizations to choose from. In general everybody is friendly to one another and will even go out of their way to open a door for you. While it isn't the largest party school, you'll get more satisfaction out of the smaller gatherings where you can truly get to know your fellow peers on a deeper level. Highly recommended!
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  12. 12

    Hampden-Sydney College

    • Hampden-Sydney, VA
    • 136 reviews
    Freshman:Incredible School. Great Environment. Classes are very interesting, primarily taught in the Socratic method. Professors greatly emphasize critical thinking. The Honors Program, Wilson Leadership Center, Center for Entrepreneurship and Political Economy, and the many clubs (that you get to lead) always give you something fun to do during the week. Weekends provide a great opportunity to relax and party or go do something fun with one of the campus groups. I'm loving it!
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  13. 13

    Roanoke College

    • Salem, VA
    • 654 reviews
    Freshman:Roanoke College is a stunning campus located in the heart of Salem, Virginia. With downtown Roanoke nearby, Roanoke College is positioned near rolling hills and country back roads, along with city streets and night life, without excluding the beautiful nature that the location has to offer-including mountains and lakes. The college itself is bustling with genuinely nice people and caring professors. There is a great sense of comradery among students and staff. The food is fantastic, however I do wish there were more options- especially late-night food options. Overall, Roanoke College provides a great education by using knowledgeable staff, as well as provides students with a diverse college life by offering various activities for any interests.
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  14. 14

    Virginia Commonwealth University

    • Richmond, VA
    • 3,770 reviews
    Freshman:VCU is wonderful! Everyone is super friendly and its very diverse. Nearly all of my teachers and classes I've had have been outstanding. I'm in the Art's Foundation program and I've learned so much and the work that comes out of it is phenomenal. The athletics are top, yet the student body lacks in school spirit. The party scene is amazing. Nearly all parties are off campus and the only downside is that its very selective. If you aren't in a frat there's a good chance you won't be let in. The school in general needs more of a reputation, especially out of state. The on campus dorms aren't the best either. The walls aren't soundproof, but the living space is average despite the small spaces we are given. Monroe Park, which initially was extremely sketchy and filled with homeless people, is being renovated. Most of the homeless have been relocated since construction started. For an urban school, its very safe. VCUs food is the worst and overpriced but the gym is outstanding.
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  15. 15

    Eastern Mennonite University

    • Harrisonburg, VA
    • 312 reviews
    College Sophomore:I am a rising sophomore at EMU. I chose EMU for several reasons (small class sizes, small campus, Christian atmosphere, cross cultural program, honors program, and proximity to home) and I am very glad I did. It is truly like no other!
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  16. 16

    ECPI University

    • Virginia Beach, VA
    • 1,158 reviews
    Graduate Student:Great school, great teachers, and staff. Staff really wants the students to succeed. There are a lot of opportunity to network and meet others in the industry. Students are given many opportunities to volunteer in the community. Such as feeding after-school children from poor neighborhoods, cutting turkeys for the holidays to provide meals for the less fortunate. Making soups and healthy meals for marathon runners.
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  17. 17

    Sweet Briar College

    • Sweet Briar, VA
    • 346 reviews
    Junior:Sweet Briar is an amazing place to grow as a woman. You truly learn to balance your academics and extracurriculars in a way my friends at other schools do not. The bonds you create with your professors at Sweet Briar are so strong and amazing, I've had dinner at a bunch of my professor's houses. The professors often put their cellphone numbers on the syllabus, that's how accessible they are. I couldn't imagine my college experience any other way!
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  18. 18

    Longwood University

    • Farmville, VA
    • 994 reviews
    Freshman:Longwood is a great school that offers much to its students. A relatively small school, not many people know about it which makes it a more unique school that can really engage its students to learn. In the heart of Farmville, it's a nice scenic location with much to do outside of studying on campus, such as many state parks. The family and tradition one finds at Longwood is unmatched at other colleges. I didn't have any outstanding reason for picking Longwood, but I'm glad I did and I wouldn't pick any other college, go Lancers!
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  19. 19
    College Junior:Teachers are very knowledgeable. Staff at the school are very eager to assist in any way!
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  20. 20

    Radford University

    • Radford, VA
    • 1,359 reviews
    Freshman:Attended RU my freshman year in college as an accounting major before transferring after the school year was over. I have to say it is a beautiful campus for a small school, curriculum is always on point and teachers/professors were always challenging me to go above and beyond. The school has a great atmosphere, and you're always greeted by random people throughout the campus. Also has a great party vibe to it on weekends even though it is about half an hour away from Virginia Tech and in the south. I would say the only thing that sucks about the school other than the lack of D1 sports team compared to other campuses I've visited is the food the dining hall serves. Although the fast food choices you have combined with MUSE Diner (which is like a 3 star restaurant) located under Muse Hall, makes up for that.
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  21. 21

    Marymount University

    • Arlington, VA
    • 670 reviews
    Junior:A Great school, the professors are extremely helpful and can cater your college experience to your personal needs! Although the dorms are a bit outdated, Marymount is doing construction and should be improving soon! Athletics is a great way to stay connected with your community here.
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  22. 22

    Emory & Henry College

    • Emory, VA
    • 207 reviews
    College Junior:I really enjoy the small class size for all of my classes. My professors, especially within my department of study (history), are very passionate about their study and topics. They enjoy giving all possible answers to problems within history, and they provide guidance for a student to determine their own thoughts and beliefs on a topic. The professors are successful at prompting conversation among students about their topics, both in and out of class. My professors are caring and life-changing, and I couldn't imagine gaining my education from anyone else.
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  23. 23

    Lynchburg College

    • Lynchburg, VA
    • 619 reviews
    Freshman:My first year of being a Hornet is almost up. My first comment about this school is that everyone is so friendly and kind, regarding both faculty and students. Everyone helps you when you are down, and that is what you need when you're transitioning to High school to college. I'm terrible at math, in fact, my first test grade was a 65. Ouch. They have study sessions here called "PASS". I started going to every PASS session I could to try and get some sort of help. Because of Lynchburg offering study sessions, my previous test grade was an 86 and I am incredibly proud of my grade rising. The campus is beautiful, my Instagram is amazing now thanks to the sun setting pictures here. I can leave for class 5 minutes before it starts and still gets there on time. Walking to other dorms or the cafe to get food is so easy to get too and quick to walk too. Overall, I wouldn't change being here at Lynchburg College. It's everything I could ask for in a school.
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  24. 24

    Hampton University

    • Hampton, VA
    • 1,879 reviews
    Freshman:I love my HU! I first fell in love with the beautiful scenery- like the waterfront and historic atmosphere. My major is challenging, but there are many resources that are available in order to succeed. While the "Hampton Runaround" is real, it teaches you to do what it takes in order to take care of business.
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  25. 25

    Old Dominion University

    • Norfolk, VA
    • 3,718 reviews
    Senior:The university is VERY diverse. There are so many on campus events and organizations to participate in. The professors care if you care, so take some time out to visit them during office hours! There are countless resources readily available to students, you just have to go out and get them. The weather for the most part, is not bad. We're just 10 mins away from downtown Norfolk and about 25 mins away from the beach! Everyone is relatively nice and friendly. Lots of hang out spots and places to go, but most are hole in the wall. Theres a lot of southern hospitality. Nothing is overwhelming down here. The neighborhood is kind of dangerous, just be safe and don't venture out alone. There are night time shuttles provided by ODU to help you get from one place to another during the night time hours.
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