The U.S. is blessed with a wide variety of academic institutions throughout the country that offer programs in every field of study imaginable. Compiling a list of the top universities in the country involves utilizing certain grading parameters. Viewing lists compiled by U.S. News, using diversity of available programs and funding for research projects, a scale compiled by, using SAT rankings and admission rates, the top universities may not seem surprising, as top universities throughout the country continue to excel in these areas.

The Cream of the Crop

As expected, Ivy League colleges dominate any list of top universities. Their stringent admission requirements as well as their renowned research facilities make Harvard University in Boston the top university in the nation. Princeton, Yale and Columbia follow closely behind, with Stanford also making the short list of the best universities in the country.

Top Eastern Universities

Other Ivy League universities must be considered in the top 100 in the nation. This include Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown and Cornell. Also in the eastern U.S. are MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Georgetown, Tufts, Penn State University, John's Hopkins in Baltimore and the University of Maryland. The top 100 universities also include eastern universities such as Syracuse, Rutgers, University of Pittsburgh, Drexel University and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Top Southern Universities

Southern universities such as Duke University in Durham, NC, Vanderbilt in Nashville, Emory University in Atlanta and Rice, in Houston rank very high among the nation's elite universities. Other schools benefit greatly from successful athletics departments that help fund research and academics. Such schools include Texas University, Miami University, Florida University, Georgia, Alabama and Auburn. Other prominent Southern schools include Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Virginia University, Virginia Tech, Tulane in New Orleans, Texas's Baylor University and Texas Christian University.

Top Midwestern Schools

The list of top 100 U.S. universities includes many private colleges as well as many state-supported institutions. The schools in the Midwest ranking near the top of the list include private schools like Notre Dame in Indiana, the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis. Big Ten schools make up much of the state-sponsored universities in the top 100, including Michigan University, Wisconsin University, Illinois University, Minnesota University, Michigan State University, Iowa University and Ohio State University. Other private schools of mention in the top 100 include St. Louis University and Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Top Western Schools

Beyond Stanford, California is home to many top schools, including the large network of public universities in the University of California system. UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbary, UC Irvine and UC San Diego all made the list of top 100 colleges. Other California schools include the University of Southern California. Other schools in the west include the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Colorado in Boulder and BYU in Provo, UT. Ranking in the top 100 as well is the private engineering college the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.

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