Tennessee's best colleges and universities vary widely in size and mission. My top picks for the state range from a large public university to an elite private university to a small historically black university. Of course Vanderbilt made the list (it consistently ranks as one of the country's best universities
Some of the other colleges may be less familiar to many readers. See my list of the top 11 Tennessee colleges
to see who made the cut. The schools were chosen based on factors such as academic strengths, curricular innovations, first-year retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, financial aid and student engagement.
Zeamays / Wikimedia Commons
To get a partial sense of what it takes to get into these top Tennessee colleges, I've created side-by-side comparison charts of the SAT scores and ACT scores for the middle 50% of matriculated students.
If there are other Tennessee colleges that you think deserve to be on the list, share your recommendations below. Always remember that the "best" college for your interests, goals and personality may have little to do with my own selection criteria.
Top Picks by Region: