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The 50 Best Colleges in America

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Best Colleges in America

When it comes to assessing the value of a college, only one thing matters: how much that school will help you succeed in life.  And with college tuition at record highs and staggering unemployment rates, it's more important than ever to select a school wisely.

For our fourth annual list of the Best Colleges in America, we asked real professionals in a variety of industries—most of whom have hiring experience—what they consider to be the best colleges in America.

And for the third year in a row, our readers have determined that the number one school in America is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Almost 1,500 of our readers responded, of which 90.7 percent had bachelor's degrees and 64.8 percent had hiring experience. Almost 30 percent of the respondents work in finance, 22 percent work in technology, 9.9 percent work in education, 9.9 are current students, 9.2 percent work in media and marketing, and 8 percent work in law.

Despite the high cost of tuition and large amounts of student debt, 52.2 percent of respondents said that college is still worth it. However, other people said that the value of college depends on factors such as the caliber of the school, major and coursework, the quality of the education, the cost of tuition and financial aid packages, potential return on investment, and social opportunities.

"Certain majors are worth it - finance, engineering, comp sci. Other majors are not worth paying 40k a year in order to still earn only 30k after graduation," one respondent wrote.

Other respondents stressed the quality of the education and the opportunities to learn as the most important part of a college education. One respondent wrote that "There's a huge intellectual growth you experience in college."

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Go to our Best Colleges home page to read about the student loan crisis, college towns, college majors, and more >

#50 Davidson College

Location: Davidson, North Carolina

Enrollment: 1,756

Rating: 2.71 out of 5

Davidson fell four spots from last year's ranking. The school ranked higher at #30 in Forbes and #12 on US News' list of liberal arts college.

Reader comment: "Davidson provides the same quality of education as Harvard at much lower cost."

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Our ranking tends to favor more famous schools, perhaps rightly so. We also reference Forbes' US college ranking and US News' rankings of US universities and liberal arts colleges.



#49 University of California — Davis

Location: Davis, Calif.

Enrollment: 25,096

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

This is the first year that U.C. Davis made our list. The California school ranked much lower at #156 on Forbes' college list and came in at #38 on US News' universities list.

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Our ranking tends to favor more famous schools, perhaps rightly so. We also reference Forbes' US college ranking and US News' rankings of US universities and liberal arts colleges.



#48 Wake Forest University

Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Enrollment: 4,775

Rating: 2.76 out of 5

Wake Forest returned to our list after dropping off last year. The school ranked #53 in Forbes' college list and #27 in US News' universities list.

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Our ranking tends to favor more famous schools, perhaps rightly so. We also reference Forbes' US college ranking and US News' rankings of US universities and liberal arts colleges.



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