Best Colleges Preview: Top 25 National Universities 2018

Applying to college is a journey that involves finding the right school, submitting applications and then – if you’re lucky – choosing among the acceptance letters and financial aid awards to find that place you’ll call home for the next few years.

To steer you in the right direction, U.S. News surveys colleges and universities each year and ranks nearly 1,400 of them in different categories according to our methodology.

Here, we offer a sneak peek of the 2018 Best Colleges rankings.

These schools – listed alphabetically below – are the top 25 schools in the National Universities category. National Universities emphasize faculty research and offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs.

School name (state)
Brown University (RI)
California Institute of Technology
Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
Columbia University (NY)
Cornell University (NY)
Dartmouth College (NH)
Duke University (NC)
Emory University (GA)
Georgetown University (DC)
Harvard University (MA)
Johns Hopkins University (MD)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Northwestern University (IL)
Princeton University (NJ)
Rice University (TX)
Stanford University (CA)
University of California—Berkeley
University of California—Los Angeles
University of Chicago
University of Notre Dame (IN)
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
University of Virginia
Vanderbilt University (TN)
Washington University in St. Louis
Yale University (CT)

(Note: Due to ties, there are more than 25 schools listed here.)

The actual Best National Universities rankings of these and other schools will be available Sept. 12, 2017, on

To see full rankings, SAT and ACT scores, scholarship and grant information, graduation rates and more, sign up for the U.S. News College Compass.