RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING COLLEGES IN WASHINGTON, D.C.


The Top-Ranking Washington, D.C. Colleges

Washington, D.C. is a fascinating city that’s the home of the U.S. government. It’s where some of the most pivotal decisions in the world are made, and it’s a bustling metro area with a lot of opportunities in terms of D.C. colleges.

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Colleges in Washington, D.C.

A lot of students choose to attend Washington, D.C. colleges because of the access it provides them to resources and employers in the city.

Some of the best colleges in Washington, D.C. are highlighted on this ranking, including not only four-year institutions but also community colleges in Washington, D.C.. Each of the Washington, D.C. colleges on this ranking features details that led to its inclusion on this list, and some of the primary benefits of attending the school.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Colleges in Washington, D.C.

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that college or university):


Top 6 Best Colleges in Washington, D.C. | Brief Comparison

Washington, D.C. Colleges

Key Feature

Key Benefit

American University

Small classes and student-to-faculty ratio

School is considered one of the most politically active in the country

Gallaudet University

A federally-chartered university for deaf and hard of hearing individuals

Ranked as a top value school by U.S. News and World Report

Georgetown University

Private research university in the Georgetown neighborhood

One of the top-ranked universities in the country

George Washington University

Largest among colleges Washington, D.C. has to offer

Thousands of excellent internship opportunities are available to students

Howard University

Top-ranked HBCU in the nation

Tier 1 national university that produces the most black doctorate recipients of any university

UDC Community College

One of the best community colleges in Washington, D.C.

One of the best colleges in D.C. for direct career preparation

Table: Top 6 Best D.C. Colleges | Above list is sorted alphabetically



What are the benefits of transferring from one of the community colleges in Washington, D.C. to a four-year school?

With the growing concern about the cost of attending a four-year college, and the increasing student loan burden new graduates are facing, a lot of families are looking for lower-cost alternatives. One great option is to attend a community college for two years and then transfer to receive your four-year degree.

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For example, students can attend one of the community colleges in Washington, D.C. and then, after two years, move to one off the other top colleges in Washington, D.C..

The following are some of the primary benefits of this approach to education:

  • The classes you would take at one of the community colleges in Washington, D.C. are very similar to the intro classes from one of the top colleges in Washington, D.C. For example, during freshman and sophomore year, students are taking pretty much the same introductory classes, and to do so at a community college is much less expensive.
     
  • You may be able to get into one of the better D.C. colleges if you go to community college first. If you didn’t do great in high school, but you’re able to do very well at a community college, you may not only get into a better four-year school, but you may also be eligible for scholarships.
     
  • The living costs tend to be less for people attending community college as well. You can live at home, for example, and attend a school that’s nearby, so you’re not paying for an apartment, high gas costs, and other living expenses.
     
  • When you go to community college before moving on to one of the other colleges around Washington, D.C., you get the advantage of trying out different courses to find the major that you’re passionate about and will want to stick with over the long term.

The strategy of attending community college before moving on to a four-year school is one that’s growing in popularity for a lot of students and their families.



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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Colleges in Washington, D.C.

Below, please find the detailed review of each of the top colleges in Washington, D.C.. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these D.C. colleges to score so well in our selection ranking.



American University Review


American University is one of the top colleges in Washington, D.C., located in the city’s Tenleytown neighborhood. This private research university has seven schools and colleges and was established in 1893.

Key Features of This College That Led to Its Ranking as One of the Best Colleges in Washington, D.C.

Among D.C. colleges, the following are some specific ways American University is distinctive.

Post-Graduation Employment

When ranking colleges in Washington, D.C. and determining the top colleges in Washington, D.C., it was important that we consider post-graduation employment, especially as this is such a hot-button issue right now.

American University reports that of undergraduates, within six months after graduating, 92% reported working, being in grad school, or both. Top employers of students from this leader among colleges in D.C. include Teach for America, EY, Cambridge Associates, and Deloitte.

Also, 89% of undergraduate students participated in an internship.

Student-Faculty Ratio

While not necessarily small regarding overall student population, American University has the feel of a small school. The student-faculty ratio at this leader among Washington, D.C. colleges is only 12:1. Also, nearly half of all classes have fewer than 20 students.

The average freshmen retention rate, which is largely considered a measure of student satisfaction, is also 89 percent.

Political Activism

A lot of students might consider attending one of the colleges in Washington, D.C. because they’re interested in politics and activism, and American University makes an excellent option. The university, along with having some of the top-ranked academic programs in the nation, is also consistently ranked as one of the most politically active schools in the country.

Many alumni have gone on to receive leadership positions and governmental jobs. Some of the notable alumni of American University include Paul Ryan, Jennifer Palmieri, Neil Cavuto, and Barry Levinson.

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Gallaudet University Review


Gallaudet University is a federally-chartered private university that specializes in the education of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Some hearing students are admitted to the graduate school and a small number to the undergraduate program each year.

Key Features of This Selection for One of the Top Washington, D.C. Colleges

Primary reasons Gallaudet is included on this list of colleges near Washington, D.C. that excel are below.  

Top Rankings

This federally-chartered school is a leader among D.C. colleges and colleges near Washington, D.C. for many reasons, including its national rankings.

For example, U.S. News and World Report ranks this pick for one of the best colleges in D.C. as a top regional university in the North. It’s also ranked as the number one pick for best value schools.

Academics

Gallaudet has several programs and majors available to students. This selection for one of the leading colleges in D.C. features the five most popular majors, which are business, visual and performing arts, communication studies, physical education, and psychology, as well as thirty graduate programs across ten departments.

Over 90 percent of all the classes at this pick for one of the top colleges in D.C. has less than 20 students.

Students

There are only 1,000 undergraduates at Gallaudet, giving it an intimate feel, and it’s officially a bilingual university because of the use of American Sign Language. Living options include an open residence hall using DeafSpace architecture, and there are many student groups available on campus as well as athletic programs.

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Georgetown University Review


Georgetown University isn’t just one of the best colleges Washington, D.C. has to offer. Along with being one of the best colleges in D.C., Georgetown is also one of the top universities in the country and the world. This leader among private colleges in Washington, D.C. was founded in 1789, and it’s in an urban setting on the Potomac River.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges in Washington, D.C.

Among colleges in Washington, D.C., the following are specific reasons Georgetown is listed on this ranking as one of the best colleges in Washington, D.C..

Research

Georgetown, along with generally being one of the best colleges in Washington, D.C., is also one of the leading research colleges in D.C. and the world. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies Georgetown has a Very High Research Activity University.

The Georgetown University Medical Center is the largest research center with more than 300 active clinical trials as well.

Academics

As mentioned, Georgetown isn’t just one of the best colleges in Washington, D.C. It’s also a top university nationwide. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and nearly 60% of all classes at this selection for one of the top colleges Washington, D.C. has to offer have less than 20 students.

Some of the popular majors include social sciences, business, management, marketing, and health professions.

The average freshman retention rate is 96%.

Campus Life

Georgetown, one of the leading D.C. colleges, is known for having a thriving and engaged student and campus life environment. There are the Hoya sports teams, as well as regular cultural events and speakers on campus.

There are more than 200 clubs and activities on campus, including many social and political organizations.

This pick for one of the top Washington, D.C. colleges is also home to the Center for Student Engagement, which works to create an engaging co-curricular experience for all students.

Image Source: Georgetown

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George Washington University Review


George Washington University is one of the premier D.C. colleges. This leader among Washington, D.C. colleges is a private research university located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, and it’s the second oldest among colleges near Washington, D.C. George Washington is also the biggest among colleges in the D.C. area.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges in Washington, D.C.

George Washington University is included on this list of colleges near Washington, D.C. that are top-ranking D.C. colleges for reasons like the ones below.  

Internship Opportunities

GWU, as well as being one of the best Washington, D.C. colleges, is a leader when it comes to internship opportunities.

They’re frequently ranked as the best school not just among D.C. colleges but nationally for internships, and they have connections to some of the most influential organizations in the world. There are more than 2,000 internship opportunities available, including at the White House, Bloomingdale’s, Discovery Communications, World Bank, PwC, and many more.

This pick for one of the best colleges in Washington, D.C. also offers many funding opportunities to provide support during unpaid internships.

Academics

At GWU, one of the top colleges in Washington, D.C. and a leader among not just colleges in D.C. but nationally, academics are front and center. This research university includes 10 schools and 100 research centers, as well as a large library system.

Their faculty includes a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Nobel Laureate, former staff members from the White House, and diplomats.

Degrees are offered across more than 70 disciplines, and the school is known for producing leaders in government, international affairs, and journalism.

Campus Life

As well as academics, at GWU (one of the best colleges in D.C.), there are also plenty of campus and student organizations that enrich the experience.

The campus is home to the largest chapters of the College Democrats and Republicans. There’s also a lot of Greek life and more than 450 other student organizations.

There are also the Colonials athletic teams, which includes a nationally-ranked men’s rowing team.

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Howard University Review


Howard University is a private, federally-chartered, historically black university located in Washington, D.C. It’s not just one of the best Washington, D.C. colleges, but this leader among colleges in the D.C. area is also ranked as one of the best HBCUs in the country.

Image Source: Howard University

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Colleges In Washington, D.C.

Among the many colleges around Washington, D.C., the following are specific reasons Howard is on this list of the best colleges in Washington, D.C.

Academics

Howard, one of the premier colleges Washington, D.C. has to offer, is located in Northwest Washington just blocks from U Street and the Howard Theatre. This pick for one of the best Washington, D.C. colleges was founded in 1867, and it’s a high-activity research university.

Howard, as one of the best D.C. colleges, is made up of 13 separate schools and colleges, and there are more than 120 areas of study available to students. More than 120,000 degrees have been awarded to-date.

STEM

One of the key focus areas at this pick for one of the top colleges in Washington, D.C. and one of the best colleges around Washington, D.C. is STEM. The National Science Foundation has ranked Howard as a top producer of African-American undergraduates who later earn science and engineering doctoral degrees.

This pick for one of the top D.C. colleges has also produced more minority doctoral graduates in computer science than any other nation in the country.

Rankings

As well as being one of the top colleges in D.C., Howard is well-ranked in general. It’s classified as a Tier 1 national university, and U.S. News and World Report ranks it as the second best HBCU in the country. It’s the only HBCU ranked in the top 75 on the Bloomberg Businessweek college rankings.

The Princeton Review highlights the school of business as first regarding opportunities for minority students, and the National Law Journal ranks the law school among the top 25 in the nation for firm placement.


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University of the District of Columbia Community College Review


UDC-CC is one of the best community colleges in Washington, D.C., and among colleges near Washington, D.C., it offers some excellent opportunities for students with associate degree, certificate, continuing education, and workforce development programs.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Colleges Washington, D.C. Offers

Among colleges in D.C., including community colleges in Washington, D.C., UDC-CC is a standout for reasons like the ones below.

Workforce Development

One of the primary objectives of UDC-CC, one of the leaders among general colleges in Washington, D.C. and community colleges in Washington, D.C., is to reduce unemployment and underemployment in the community.

They have a Division of Workforce and Development and Lifelong Learning that provides D.C. residents with job skills and training to prepare them for employment. The industries focused on with this program are based on the job availability in the Washington, D.C. metro. Many of these programs are offered for free to D.C. residents.

Achieving the Dream

As one of the best community colleges in the D.C. area and a top pick for community colleges around Washington, D.C., UDC-CC is part of the Achieving the Dream program.

This national initiative seeks to help community college students, in particular minority and low-income students, stay in school and earn a degree.

It includes 160 nationwide community colleges and institutions.

Academic Programs

At UDC-CC, one of the best community colleges in Washington, D.C., there are certificate programs and associate degrees available. WDLL Career Pathway Certificate programs include options such as Construction and Property Management, Healthcare, and Information Technology and Office Administration.

There are also many associate degree programs including Business Technology, Computer Accounting Technology, Early Education, Legal Assistant, and Nursing and Respiratory Therapy, among others.


Conclusion—Top 6 Best Colleges in Washington, D.C.

The colleges in the D.C. area and colleges around Washington, D.C. are some of the best in the country and the world.

This ranking features colleges in D.C. that excel in a variety of ways, and it also includes one of the best community colleges in Washington, D.C..

Each of the schools on this list of the best colleges in D.C. has unique academic offerings, an excellent reputation, and each of the colleges in D.C. on this list caters to a wide variety of student needs.



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