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    Top 20 West Coast Colleges

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    Update: This article was last updated on 26th January 2024 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.

    Best Colleges on the West Coast

    Don’t worry if you’re from the West Coast and don’t want to travel to the other side of the country to get a degree from a top university. That’s because there are several prestigious schools and universities nearby.

    West Coast is home to many premier universities, including institutions like Stanford University, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pomona College. 

    Then there are Public Ivies, including UC Berkeley and the University of Washington – Seattle. 

    List Of Colleges

    S.No. College Name
    1. Stanford University
    2. Caltech
    3. Claremont McKenna College
    4. Pomona College
    5. University of California – Berkeley
    6. University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA)
    7. University of Southern California
    8. Harvey Mudd College
    9. Scripps College
    10. Reed College
    11. Whitman College
    12. Santa Clara University
    13. Occidental College
    14. California State University, Long Beach
    15. Soka University of America
    16. University of California Irvine
    17. Loyola Marymount University
    18. Reed College
    19. Pepperdine University
    20. Pitzer College

    Which West Coast universities might be the best fit for you? Check out this list to determine which would be excellent additions to your college list.

    1. Stanford University

    Stanford University

    Website: https://www.stanford.edu/

    Location: 450 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

    Phone: 650-723-2300

    Stanford has consistently placed in the top 10 colleges nationwide. Prestigious business programs, the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, and many other disciplines are housed on the vast Bay Area campus. Some of the most expensive tuition fees are at prestigious schools and universities. 

    The good news is that struggling students can attend Stanford University thanks to its extensive need-based financial aid program. 

    In actuality, over 70% of its students receive financial aid. Each recipient of need-based financial aid from Stanford University receives about $13,600.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 3.95%
    Average SAT Score 1420-1570
    Average ACT Score 32-35
    Undergrad enrollment 7000
    Student-faculty ratio 4:1

    2. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

    Caltech

    Website: https://www.caltech.edu/

    Location: 1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125

    Phone: 626-395-6811

    Look no further than Caltech if you want an exceptional STEM degree. It is home to some of the world’s largest research centers and astronomical observatories. Furthermore, close to 17 of the school’s living alums are Nobel laureates, such as David MacMillan, Robert H. Grubbs, Jacqueline K. Barton, and Frances Hamilton Arnold. The institution was initially established in 1891 as a preparatory and vocational school, and it swiftly rose to the top of the educational field. The 28 options (majors) that Caltech currently provides are six academic divisions: biology and biological engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering, engineering and applied science, geology and planetary sciences, humanities and social sciences, physics, mathematics, and astronomy. Many of these divisions are often well-regarded graduate programs.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 6.69%
    Average SAT Score 1530-1580
    Average ACT Score 35-36
    Undergrad enrollment 900
    Student-faculty ratio 3:1

    3. Claremont McKenna College

    Claremont McKenna College

    Website: https://www.caltech.edu/

    Location: 888 N Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

    Phone: 909-621-8000

    A premier liberal arts institution with renowned programs in economics, government, and many other fields, the Claremont Colleges consortium, which consists of seven elite liberal arts colleges (five) and graduate institutions (two), includes Claremont McKenna College. Claremont McKenna was established in 1946 and it is regarded as one of the “Hidden Ivies” because the institution can provide you with a top-notch education and a prestigious degree.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 13.3%
    Average SAT Score 1350-1500
    Average ACT Score 31-34
    Undergrad enrollment 1,300
    Student-faculty ratio 8:1

    4. Pomona College

    Pomona College

    Website: https://www.pomona.edu/

    Location: 333 N College Way

    Phone: 909-621-8000

    Pomona College, which was established in 1887, offers 48 majors in the humanities, social sciences, arts, and natural sciences. It is named #1 in Niche’s rankings of the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America and California for 2022 and #4 in U.S. News 2020 National Liberal Arts Colleges. Even though Pomona College is a small liberal arts institution, it has a wide range of prestigious programs for ambitious students. Political science, computer science, environmental science, world studies, history, biology, physics, psychology, economics, English, and religious studies are only a few of them.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 8.6%
    Average SAT Score 1400-1540
    Average ACT Score 31-34
    Undergrad enrollment 1,500
    Student-faculty ratio 8:1

    5. University of California – Berkeley

    University of California – Berkeley

    Website: https://www.berkeley.edu/

    Location: University Avenue and, Oxford St, Berkeley, CA 94720

    Phone: 510-642-6000

    Berkeley opened its doors as the first institution of the University of California system in 1868. The university, which is known for its political activism, has been a shelter for development and societal progression. It is California’s second-oldest higher education institution.  A wide range of prestigious programs are available at UC Berkeley. Computer science, politics, environmental science, public health, business, communications, math, economics, chemistry, physics, and engineering are a few of the subjects at the top of the list.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 17.6%
    Average SAT Score 1320-1530
    Average ACT Score 31-35
    Undergrad enrollment 30,800
    Student-faculty ratio 19:1

    6. University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA)

    University of California – Los Angeles

    Website: https://www.ucla.edu/

    Location: Los Angeles, CA 90095

    Phone: 310-825-4321

    The second college to join the University of California system was UCLA, another “Public Ivy”, which is particularly well-known for having a School of Theater, Film, and Television. The university offers hundreds of majors across six undergraduate schools, along with several graduate schools, in addition to theater, film, and television UCLA boasts one of the top athletic programs among West Coast universities with Ivy League standing. In actuality, it has 129 titles under its belt. With nearly 99 former UCLA students now playing in the NBA, UCLA is ranked #3 in Niche’s 2022 Best College Athletics rankings in California and the 2022 Best Colleges for Student Athletes in California.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 14%
    Average SAT Score 1290-1520
    Average ACT Score 30-34
    Undergrad enrollment 31,500
    Student-faculty ratio 18:1

    7. University of Southern California

    University of Southern California

    Website: https://www.usc.edu/

    Location: Los Angeles, CA 90007

    Phone: 213-740-2311

    One of the oldest and best universities on the West Coast is the University of Southern California. It is known for the excellent quality of research studies conducted here. USC was established in 1880 and, since then, has grown into a famous research institution with one of the largest private-sector workforces in its city. There are currently 21 different schools and departments with about 4,000 faculty members in total. In contrast to the main campus, which is located in the heart of Los Angeles, the three teaching hospitals and schools of medicine and pharmacy are all located on a separate campus for the health sciences to the northeast. Sports medicine, cancer, stem cell, and regenerative medicine are among the specialties.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 2%
    Average SAT Score 1350-1530
    Average ACT Score 30-34
    Undergrad enrollment 19,900
    Student-faculty ratio 9:1

    8. Harvey Mudd College

    Harvey Mudd College

    Website: https://www.hmc.edu/

    Location: 301 Platt Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

    Phone: 909-621-8011

    Nine majors in science, engineering, and mathematics are available at the school. All of them have as their foundation a core curriculum that comprises classes in the humanities and social sciences. This is why many students who want to pursue solid liberal arts and STEM degrees enroll there.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 17.9%
    Average SAT Score 1490-1560
    Average ACT Score 34-35
    Undergrad enrollment 900
    Student-faculty ratio 8:1

    9. Scripps College

    Scripps College

    Website: https://www.scrippscollege.edu/

    Location: 1030 N Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

    Phone: 909-621-8000

    Scripps is a women’s liberal arts university founded in 1926 and part of the Claremont Colleges. It offers an interdisciplinary curriculum. It has earned a reputation of having one of the nation’s most attractive campuses and offers high academic programs across many fields. The majority of STEM degrees are offered by Scripps College, one of the more than 30 women’s institutions in the U.S. The school ranks among the top three in the country for the proportion of female STEM majors.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 35%
    Average SAT Score 1300-1480
    Average ACT Score 30-33
    Undergrad enrollment 1000
    Student-faculty ratio 9:1

    10. Reed College

    Reed College

    Website: https://www.reed.edu/

    Location: 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202

    Phone: 503-771-1112

    Reed College often ranks at or near the top of the more than 40 accredited four-year universities in Oregon and is included on several college rating websites. Reed University, which was established in 1908, is regarded as one of the nation’s most intellectual universities and is renowned for its small class numbers, humanities-focused curriculum, and enthusiastic student body.  One of its major draws is that it produces the second-highest number of Rhodes Scholars among the nation’s liberal arts universities.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 42.3%
    Average SAT Score 1310-1520
    Average ACT Score 30-33
    Undergrad enrollment 1400
    Student-faculty ratio 9:1

    11. Whitman College

    Whitman College

    Website: https://www.whitman.edu/

    Location: 345 Boyer Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362

    Phone: 509-527-5111

    Whitman became a non-sectarian in 1883 after being established in 1859 as Whitman Seminary. The college, now a tiny residential liberal arts institution in Walla Walla, cultivates and develops traits like critical thinking through a demanding academic program. Whitman College has a respectable 56% acceptance rate, making it very easy to be accepted despite being one of the best liberal arts universities on the West Coast and in the U.S. Indicators showing the majority of the school’s first-year students are satisfied with their college experience include the school’s high retention rate.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 54.1%
    Average SAT Score 1230-1560
    Average ACT Score 27-32
    Undergrad enrollment 1400
    Student-faculty ratio 8:1

    12. Santa Clara University

    Santa Clara University

    Website: https://www.scu.edu/

    Location: 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053

    Phone: 408-554-4000

    Santa Clara University, or SCU, established in 1851 and based in Silicon Valley, infuses its cutting-edge curriculum with the high-tech prowess of its surroundings. The Jesuit institution’s university accepts students from all backgrounds and religions. Some of Santa Clara University’s top majors include business, marketing, management, psychology, engineering, communication, journalism, and visual and performing arts.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 51%
    Average SAT Score 1270-1440
    Average ACT Score 28-32
    Undergrad enrollment 5,500
    Student-faculty ratio 10:1

    13. Occidental College

    Occidental College

    Website: https://www.oxy.edu/

    Location: 1600 Campus Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

    Phone: 323-259-2500

    Occidental was first established in 1887 by members of the Presbyterian Church but is now non-sectarian. The college, which combines liberal arts and sciences and is among the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast, offers over 40 majors and minors, as well as specialized programs and cutting-edge research possibilities.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 40.9%
    Average SAT Score 1270-1450
    Average ACT Score 28-32
    Undergrad enrollment 1,900
    Student-faculty ratio 8:1

    14. California State University, Long Beach

    California State University

    Website: https://www.csulb.edu/

    Location: 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840

    Phone: 562-985 4111

    California State University, Long Beach, which is home to 27,617 undergraduate students, provides a diversified and exciting learning environment and a more individualized educational experience that can be fostered by students’ ability to interact closely with their teachers.  With a 39% acceptance rate, the university retains a competitive edge. It guarantees a challenging admissions procedure, and with a solid 74% graduation record, CSU Long Beach is clearly dedicated to the success of its students.  The university graduates have a great start to their careers, as is visible via the exceptional two-year employment rate of CSU, which is close to 92%. These facts reinforce CSU Long Beach’s position as a school promoting academic performance, further supported by its overall ranking of #194.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 47%
    Average SAT Score 1020-1240
    Average ACT Score 20-26
    Undergrad enrollment 2,000
    Student-faculty ratio 24:1

    15. Soka University of America

    Soka University of America

    Website: https://www.soka.edu/

    Location: 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

    Phone: 949-480-4000

    Even though the school is secular, Soka, established in 1987, is connected to the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist movement. The university, which consists of a graduate program and a four-year liberal arts college, is well-regarded for its affordability and the volume of its international students. Students at Soka generally spend a semester studying abroad at no additional cost.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 52%
    Average SAT Score 1280-1410
    Average ACT Score 26-27
    Undergrad enrollment 445
    Student-faculty ratio 7:1

    16. University of California Irvine

    University of California Irvine

    Website: https://uci.edu/

    Location: University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697

    Phone: 949-752-4700

    UC Irvine is the only research university in Orange County member of the Association of American Universities (AAU). The University of California consists of 10 institutions and was founded in 1965. Over 30,000 students enroll at the university, which offers 192 degree programs.  The UCI campus claims to be one of the greenest and most energy-efficient in the country. The sole university hospital in the county is its UCI Medical Center. National Medal of Science and Nobel Prize winners are among the faculty. The region receives more than $300 million a year in research support because of UCI, whose endowment is worth more than $500 million.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 29.9%
    Average SAT Score 1190-1410
    Average ACT Score 25-33
    Undergrad enrollment 29,700
    Student-faculty ratio 18:1

    17. Loyola Marymount University

    Loyola Marymount University

    Website: https://www.lmu.edu/

    Location: 1 Loyola Marymount University Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90045

    Phone: 310-338-2700

    A private university with a liberal arts emphasis, Loyola Marymount University is located in Los Angeles. As the result of the 1973 union of Loyola University and Marymount College, a Catholic university known as Saint Vincent’s College for Boys was created in 1911. The university adheres to a Jesuit educational philosophy that stretches back to the 16th century. LMU offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, four colleges, and three schools. Its 142-acre campus, which has won numerous environmental honors, is situated just north of LAX, one of the busiest airports in the world, in the west of the city, close to the Pacific Ocean.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 50.1%
    Average SAT Score 1210-1390
    Average ACT Score 27-31
    Undergrad enrollment 6,700
    Student-faculty ratio 10:1

    18. Reed College

    Reed College

    Website: https://www.reed.edu/

    Location: 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202

    Phone: 503-771-111

    Reed College was built in the city of Portland, Oregon, in 1908, thanks to donations from Simon and Amanda Reed. A mandatory humanities course for all first-year students aims to provide both science and humanities students.  Additionally, the university places less emphasis on grades in favor of more narrative assessments. The college provides 26 majors, 12 interdisciplinary majors, 6 dual degrees, 5 humanities courses, and 26 majors.  Five academic departments make up the college: the Department of Arts, the Department of History and Social Sciences, the Department of Literature and Languages, the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and the Department of Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, and Linguistics.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 42.3%
    Average SAT Score 1310-1520
    Average ACT Score 30-33
    Undergrad enrollment 1,400
    Student-faculty ratio 9:1

    19. Pepperdine University

    Pepperdine University

    Website: https://www.pepperdine.edu/

    Location: 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90263

    Phone: 310-506-4000

    Pepperdine University is a Christian institution with five colleges and a stunning 830-acre campus that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in the Malibu area. Business administration, communication, fine arts, humanities, teacher education, foreign studies and languages, natural science, religion and philosophy, and social science are just a few courses available to students. The Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans, which includes Pepperdine University, supports an unlimited number of veteran students and an unlimited financial commitment for each veteran’s tuition assistance. Alums include Bill Weir, an American television journalist and CNN anchor, and actors Kim Victoria Fields and Tia Dashon Mowry-Hardrict, who rose to stardom for her teen role as Tia Landry in the sitcom Sister, Sister.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 41.9%
    Average SAT Score 1220-1420
    Average ACT Score 26-32
    Undergrad enrollment 3,600
    Student-faculty ratio 13:1

    20. Pitzer College

    Pitzer College

    Website: https://www.pitzer.edu/

    Location: 1050 N Mills Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

    Phone: 909-621-8000

    Pitzer College, established in 1963 as a private institution, boasts a serene suburban setting on a 31-acre campus. The undergraduate enrollment stood at 1,212 during the fall of 2022, with an academic calendar structured on a semester-based system. According to the 2024 edition of Best Colleges, Pitzer College holds the notable rank of #39 among National Liberal Arts Colleges. For prospective students, the cost of tuition and fees is set at $62,692.

    Key Features

    Acceptance Rate 16.6%
    Average SAT Score N/A
    Average ACT Score N/A
    Undergrad enrollment 1,000
    Student-faculty ratio 9:1

    The list is prepared to assist you in making the best decision. Use the information, combine it with your research, and choose the best college for your interests.

    Moonpreneur offers STEM programs in robotics, game development, app development, and other futuristic sciences to help students build top-notch profiles and pursue their passion projects. Start your journey to success today!

    Moonpreneur

    Moonpreneur

    Moonpreneur is an ed-tech company that imparts tech entrepreneurship to children aged 7 to 16. Its flagship offering, the Innovator Program, offers students a holistic learning experience that blends Technical Skills, Power Skills, and Entrepreneurial Skills with streams such as Robotics, Game Development, App Development, Advanced Math, and Book Writing & Publishing.
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    4 Comments
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    nohima
    nohima
    8 months ago

    I’m looking for a prestigious university on the West Coast. Any suggestions?

    daniel
    daniel
    6 months ago
    Reply to  nohima

    Stanford, Caltech, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and USC are consistently ranked among the top universities in the country and world.

    richard
    richard
    8 months ago

    I’m on a budget but still want a great education. Are there affordable options?

    golbes
    golbes
    6 months ago
    Reply to  richard

    Consider public universities like California State Universities, University of Washington, and Oregon State University for excellent academics and lower tuition costs.

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