Top 5 Best Academic Colleges in Philadelphia

Top 5 Academic Colleges in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has more colleges than any other US city besides Boston. There are an estimated 42 colleges in the greater Philadelphia area (depending on where you draw the line). Of those 42, these 5 colleges represent the area's best based simply on academic rigor:


Swarthmore College - When a school is ranked in the top 3 nationally, it will probably be at least locally 2. Swarthmore College (US News # 3, Forbes # 4), which is located about 20 minutes outside the city, is the most academically rigorous college in the Philadelphia area. A member of the "Little Ivy," it has already generated 30 Rhodes scholars in just 40 years. The school even has a punned, unofficial motto is: "Anywhere else it would be an A." It is also a part of the Tri-College Consortium, which consists of fellow suburban colleges of Haverford and Bryn Mawr. All schools within the Consortium allow students to cross register for courses. 

University of Pennsylvania -Most would argue that Penn must be more academically rigorous than Swarthmore, considering the fact that UPenn is an Ivy! But one's reputation does not necessarily mean it is academically superior. Regardless, let's not forget the reality of the situation. Penn ranks in the nation top 10 in Business, Law, Medicine, Nursing, English, History, Psychology, and Economics. Place Penn in another state, and it will probably be the best school in that state. So, the fact that UPenn is #2 and not #1, means very little. (Note: UPenn is the only school in this Top 5 that is actually in Philadelphia, not just the Greater Philadelphia area).       

Haverford College -Coming in a close third is Haverford College, which as a member of both the "Little Ivy" and Tri-College Consotium. It ranks in the top 10 of best Liberal Art colleges in the country. The school has a strong Honor Code, which virtually allows the students to govern themselves. They are also a perennial national lacrosse power in Division III.       

Bryn Mawr College -This all-women's college is not only known for its academic, but it is consistently ranked as having the best campus food and the best dormitories in the US. When not eating and living well, the ladies of Bryn Mawr are studying hard. While it is not a "Little Ivy" like the other two members of the Tri-College Consortium, Bryn Mawr is a part of the Seven Sisters colleges, which is the female-colleges equivalent to the Ivy League. For more info visit this site turnitin scans

Villanova University -Nationally recognized for its academics and basketball team, Villanova is also the only school on this list with a religious affiliation - Catholic . It ranks as having one of the top 10 best undergraduate engineering schools, as well as being the best college in the northern region for national universities.

Honorable mention: Ursinus College -Both Forbes and PrincetonReview gave Ursinus a higher academic rating than Villanova; however, Ursinus is 40 minutes outside the city and it is barely considered to be in the Greater Philadelphia area. Therefore, Villanova, who is a member of Philly's Big 5 and has a business school in Center City, gets the upper hand in this contest.

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Best Business School: UPenn (Wharton)

Best Music School: Curtis Institute of Music

Best Art School: Temple University (Tyler)

A + School for B Students: Drexel University

Best Dorm Hall in the City: LaSalle (St. Basil Court) / Villanova (Farley Hall