Higher education is becoming more popular than ever, with colleges and universities popping up here and there across the US. The competition is fierce as older schools are doing their best to meet modern standards while new schools are putting in the effort to build a solid reputation. The state of Virginia is no different as it has some of the best universities in the nation, offering quality education at affordable prices. If you are looking for the right college to study in Virginia, this article has you covered. It discusses the tuition and fees, acceptance and graduation rate, rankings, history, campus, majors, SAT score of the top 10 colleges in Virginia.
2021’s Best colleges in Virginia
- University of Virginia (main Campus) – Charlottesville, Va
- Washington and Lee University – Lexington, Va
- William & Mary – Williamsburg, Va
- Virginia Military Institute – Lexington, Va
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Blacksburg, Va
- University of Richmond – Va
- James Madison University – Harrisonburg, Va
- Christopher Newport University – Newport News, Va
- Averett University-non-traditional Programs – Danville, Va
- George Mason University – Fairfax, Va
University of Virginia-Main Campus
Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia (UVA) in 1819 as a public university with a vision to educate leaders, advance human knowledge and cultivate an informed citizenry. U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Virginia 1st hospital in Virginia in 2020/2021. It ranked 2nd in Best Value Public University by Money Magazine in 2020. It was also ranked 4th Best Public National University by U.S. & World Report in 2021. It’s among the best colleges in Va.
The University of Virginia has an acceptance rate of 24% and a graduation rate of 94%. Enrolled students have an average SAT score of 1430 with an average GPA of 4.32. Furthermore, UVA students have an average ACT score of 32.
The cost of tuition for in-state students is $14,836, and the cost of tuition for out-of-state students is $47,257. UVA assists students in the form of grants, scholarships, need-based and work-study loans. It meets 100% of financial needs, and 35% of UVA students get need-based financial assistance in some form.
It offers undergraduate and graduates programs in a myriad of majors, which include:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
- Comparative Literature
- Environmental Sciences
- Mechanical Engineering
- Studio Art
- Urban and Environmental Planning
- Youth & Social Innovation
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University (W&L) is a private liberal arts university in Virginia founded in 1749. It is the 9th oldest higher education institution in the US, and it ranks 9th place in Best Colleges in National Liberal Arts Colleges in 2021. W&L campus is warm and welcoming, with a vibrant culture that encourages students to participate in the 100+ clubs and organizations to learn communication and leadership skills. W&L is among the top schools according to Virginia universities ranking.
Washington and Lee University has a 19% acceptance rate and a 92% graduation rate. Enrolled students have an average SAT score of 1420 and an average ACT score of 33.
Furthermore, its students have an average GPA of 3.96, making it a competitive school to get into.
In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition, which costs $56,170 annually. However, W&L offers financial assistance in scholarships, grants, and guaranteed campus work to meet 100% of all the financial needs of enrolled students. Over 50% of the 2020 batch received average financial assistance worth $53,800. 93% of W&L graduates attend graduate school or are gainfully employed six months after graduating. Additionally, W&L graduates have the highest pass rate in the CPA exam in the US.
Here is a list of some majors and minors that W&L offers:
- Business Administration
- Computer Science
- Cognitive and Behavioral Science
- Integrated Engineering
- Sociology and Anthropology
- Strategic Communication
William & Mary
William & Mary is a public research university that is found in Virginia in 1693. According to Virginia rankings, it is the 2nd oldest higher education institution in the US, and it is the 1st university. Additionally, it ranks among the top 10 public universities in the US that pay off the most. W&M provides high-quality education at an affordable price to list A students passionate about learning and becoming the best in and out of school.
William & Mary has an acceptance rate of 38% and a graduation rate of 91%. W&M students have an average SAT score of 1415 or ACT score between 30 to 34 and an average GPA of 4.27.
W&M offers merit-based financial assistance to its students. It also provides student loans and grant awards. The Free Application determines the need-based aid for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). W&M students get internship opportunities at top organizations to learn new skills and perfect their already existing skills. Graduates have an average salary of $58,500. Virginia residents have to pay $23,628 for tuition, while non-Virginia residents pay $46,854 for tuition.
W&M offers majors and minors for its online and offline programs in the following areas:
- Applied Science
- Art & Art History
- Business (Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, and Marketing)
- Film and Media Studies
- Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
- Kinesiology and Health Sciences
- Marine Science
- Medieval and Renaissance Studies
- Public Policy
Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is a public military university founded in 1839, and it is the first military college in the US that the state supports. It offers a competitive study environment with a rigorous curriculum that brings out excellent graduates in diverse fields. VMI produces civilians and citizens who show exceptional leadership skills and can work in the military if ever needed.
It ranked 69th in National Liberal Arts Colleges in the US. VMI has a Pulitzer winner, a Nobel Prize winner, 7 Medal of Honour Recipients, and 11 Rhodes scholars. VMI in-state students pay $19,118 for tuition and out-of-state students pay $45,962 for tuition annually. More than 83% of VMI students receive some form of need-based or merit-based aid in the form of scholarships or grants.
Virginia Military Institute has a 60% acceptance rate and a 78% graduation rate. Their students have an average GPA of 3.67 and SAT scores between 1110 to 1270. Graduates earn an average annual salary of $82,000.
Some majors and minors include:
- Applied Mathematics
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Studies
- Economics and Business
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
- International Studies
- Mechanical Engineering
- Modern Languages and Cultures
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI) is a public research higher education institution founded in 1872. VPI has a student population of 37,000, and it offers undergraduate and graduate programs. It has one graduate school and nine colleges with a 14:2 student is to faculty ratio.
Virginia residents pay $13,691 for tuition while out-of-state students pay $32,835 for tuition in VPI. Prospective students need to have SAT score that is an average of 1420 and an ACT score of approximately 30. The average GPA of VPI students is 4.04.
VPI makes the list of Virginia public universities ranking. It is ranked school in university research in the United States. It is also ranked the 74th in the list of National Universities in the United States.
VPI has a 70% acceptance rate and a graduation rate of 84%. Graduates have an average salary of $76,816.
- Building Construction
- Clinical Neuroscience
- Computational Modeling and Data Analytics
- Crop and Soil Sciences
- Fish Conservation
- General Engineering
- Hospitality and Tourism Management
- Humanities for Public Service
- International Trade and Development
- Landscape Architecture
- National Security and Foreign Affairs
- Polymer Chemistry
- Public Health
- Smart and Sustainable Cities
- Water; Resources, Policy, and Management
- Wildlife Conservation
University of Richmond
The University of Richmond is a prestigious private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1830. It comes in 9th place in VA college rankings. It ranks 22nd among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S, according to US News World Report. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks it 26th among the top 100 best value liberal arts universities in the country.
The University of Richmond in-state students pay $58,570 tuition. It is a need-blind during admission and meets 100% of its students’ demonstrated needs. Richmond offers an average need-based award worth $53,920, which helps students from economically disadvantaged families pay for tuition and other school supplies. 57% of its undergraduate students receive aid in some form.
Students have a minimum SAT score of 1290 or ACT score of 30 and a 3.87 GPA. It has a 28.3% acceptance rate and an 88.2% graduation rate. According to data from 2018, University of Richmond graduates have an average salary of $64,500.
Some majors include:
- Business Administration
- Environmental Studies
- Healthcare Studies
- Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies
- Leadership Studies
- Religious Studies
- Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
James Madison University
James Madison University (JMU) is a public research institution that was founded in 1908. JMU offers degree programs to 19,550 undergraduate students and 1,946 graduate students. Students can go for internships, do research in undergraduate, do a student teach or practicum to prepare them for the working environment.
U.S News 7 World Report ranks its number 1 innovative university in the South. MONEY Magazine ranks it the 25th best public college value in the US. US Department of Education ranks its 1st best college for employment in Virginia. It has the highest job levels of graduates in the working sector compared to other schools in Virginia.
In-state tuition costs $7,460, while out-of-state tuition costs $24,386 annually for undergraduate programs. In-state graduate students pay $513 per credit hour, while out-of-state students pay $1,23r. JMU offers need-based aid, federal loans, and work-study loans. Three hundred fifty-five5 of JMU students received some form of financial aid in 2020/2021.
Students have an average GPA of 3.55 and SAT scores between 1120 to 1290.
Within 6 months after graduation in 2019, 98% of JMU graduates were in graduate school or employed.
Here are some of its majors:
- Biophysical Chemistry
- Communication Sciences and Disorders
- Earth Science
- Graphic Design
- Health Services Administration
- Independent Scholars
- Justice Studies
- Modern Foreign Languages
- Public Administration
- Social Work
Christopher Newport University
Christopher Newport University (CNU) is a public university with liberal arts and science curriculum. It was founded in 1960 with a primary purpose to form good citizens and leaders. It has the most robust core curriculum compared to other public universities or colleges in the US. CNU offers a vibrant and exciting campus life with over 200 student clubs and organizations from which to choose. Students have access to counselling services to keep their mental health in check, and those with disabilities have disability support.
CNU students perform thousands of hours of community service to train them to be serviceable, kind, and respectful to all people, irrespective of their background or status.
Forbes ranks CNU 257th among top colleges in the US. It is among the top colleges in Virginia and ranks 7th in Regional Universities South. It is also the 50th in Best Value Schools. The Princeton Review ranks CNU 14th Most Engaged in Community Service and 20th Best Quality of Life in the US.
CNU requires students to have a GPA of 3.81 and SAT score between 1110 to 1280. It has a 72% acceptance rate and a 74% graduation rate. In-state tuition costs $14,924, while out-of-state tuition costs $27,790 annually. 44% of CNU students received some form of financial aid in the previous year and first-year students received an average amount of $7,071 in need-based scholarships or grant awards. CNU graduates have an average salary of $46,900.
Some majors include:
- Applied Physics and Computer Science
- Childhood Studies
- Digital Humanities
- Electrical Engineering
- Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
- Leadership Studies
- Photography and Video Art
- Social Work
Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs
It is a private Christian university located in Danville, Virginia, that offers online and offline education. Students enjoy a personalized form of education. Students can take part in any of the 30+ students organizations and campus clubs on campus. Promoting students’ health and wellbeing is a priority, and that’s why there are programs such as wellness counselling, health clinics, recreational activities, health education, and spiritual exploration if necessary.
It ranks as the 40th out of 158 colleges in Virginia and 16th out of 27 Religious Colleges in Virginia. It has an acceptance rate of 24% and a graduation rate of 100%. The average cost of tuition for in-state and out-of-state students is $12,495 annually. 50% of its students are receiving financial aid that is an average of $6,110 annually. Currently, 100% of students receive financial aid.
Graduates have an average salary of $41,800 in the 6th year since graduation. 90% of the recent graduates are pursuing other degrees while others are employed.
- Aeronautics and Aviation Technology
- Aviation Management and Operations
- Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- Liberal Arts and Humanities
- Information Science
- Management Sciences and Information Systems
Assists students George Mason University Fairfax, VA
George Mason University (GMU) is a comprehensive public research higher institution in Virginia established in 1957. It is currently the largest among all other commonwealth public universities in the state of Virginia.
It ranks 143rd in National Universities in the US and 35th among the Most Innovative Schools. Additionally, it ranks 65th in Top Public Schools and 129th in Best Value Schools. It also ranks 102nd in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs and 100th in Best Colleges for Veterans.
GMU has an 87% acceptance rate and a 69% graduation rate. GMU students have SAT scores between 1110 and 1320 or an ACT score of 24 and 30. GMU is highly competitive, with most students having a high school GPA greater than or equal to 3.6.
In-state students pay tuition of $12,564 and out-of-state students pay tuition of $36,024. Graduates have an average salary of $59,900.
Some majors include:
- Applied Computer Science
- Civil and Infrastructure Engineering
- Early Childhood Education for Diverse Learners
- Forensic Science
- Global Affairs
- Health Informatics
- Information Technology
- Medical Laboratory Science
- Physical Education
- Recreation Management
- Tourism and Events Management
Why Study in Virginia?
Virginia colleges and universities are efficient with top-notch teachers using modern teaching methods. Virginia was ranked the best state for higher education in 2017. It offers students one of the best returns on investment compared to the cost of the investment. Furthermore, Virginia has top-ranking hospitals that offer premium healthcare.
Colleges in Virginia are affordable, offer feasible financial support, and allow students to practice what they have learned in real-life settings. Virginia has public and private accredited universities that meet the needs of every student. These universities are at the top of Virginia school Rankings, and that’s why you should not miss an opportunity to attend one of them.