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Best Four-Year Graduation Rates

20 Colleges and Universities with the Best Four-Year Graduation Rates

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If you want to complete your bachelor's degree in four years, some colleges do much better than others. The 20 colleges and universities listed below all graduate 88% or more of their students in four years. Note that many factors influence graduation rates, and the most selective colleges will always have an advantage when it comes to graduating a high percentage of students quickly -- they enroll students who are well prepared for college-level work, and most of their students will enter with AP course credits. You'll also notice from the list that private institutions outperform public institutions. Annapolis is the only public college to make the list. Be sure to read more about graduation rates to understand the factors that influence the numbers.

Annapolis (United States Naval Academy)

Annapolis - USNA
Rory Finneren / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Location: Annapolis, Maryland
  • School Type: Military Academy
  • Enrollment: 4,552 (all undergraduate)
  • Description: Annapolis is one of the most selective colleges in the country. All costs are covered, and students receive benefits and a modest monthly salary. Applicants must seek a nomination, usually from a member of congress. Upon graduation, all students have a five-year active duty obligation. Some officers pursuing aviation will have longer requirements. Located in Maryland, the Annapolis campus is an active naval base. Athletics are important at the Naval Academy, and the school competes in the NCAA Division I Patriot League.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Annapolis profile

Boston College

Boston College Campus
Juthamas / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
  • School Type: Private Jesuit university
  • Enrollment: 15,036 (10,076 undergraduates)
  • Explore the Campus: Boston College Photo Tour
  • Description: Located in a suburb of Boston with easy access to the city, Boston College is one of the oldest Jesuit university in the U.S., and it is the Jesuit university with the largest endowment. The campus, including St. Ignatius Church, is distinguished by its stunning Gothic architecture. The school always places high on rankings of national universities. The undergraduate business program is particularly strong. BC also has a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. The Boston College Eagles compete in the NCAA Division 1-A Atlantic Coast Conference.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Boston College profile

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College
sglickman / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Location: Brunswick, Maine
  • School Type: 1,777 (all undergraduate)
  • Enrollment: Private liberal arts college
  • Description: Located in a town of 21,000 on the Maine coast, Bowdoin takes pride in both its beautiful location and its academic excellence. For its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences, Bowdoin was awarded a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Eight miles away from the main campus is Bowdoin's 118-acre Coastal Studies Center on Orr's Island. Bowdoin recently changed their financial aid practices, and students can look forward to graduating with no loans.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Bowdoin College profile

Bucknell University

Bucknell University
aurimasliutikas / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Location: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
  • School Type: Small private university
  • Enrollment: 3,737 (3,607 undergraduates)
  • Description: Bucknell University has the feel of a liberal arts college with the course offerings of a comprehensive university. The engineering program is worth a close look, and the university's strengths in the liberal arts and sciences have earned it a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Admissions have grown increasingly selective in recent years. In athletics, the Bucknell University Bisons compete in the NCAA Division I Patriot League.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Bucknell University profile 

Carleton College

Carleton College Skinner Chapel
TFDuesing / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Location: Northfield, Minnesota
  • School Type: Liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 2,009 (all undergraduate)
  • Description: Located less than an hour from the Minneapolis / St. Paul area, Carleton's campus include beautiful Victorian buildings, a state-of-the-art recreation center and the 880-acre Cowling Arboretum. With about 2,000 students and over 200 faculty members, quality teaching truly gets top priority at Carleton College. Strengths in the liberal arts and sciences earned Carleton a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and the college typical ranks as one of the nation's ten best liberal arts colleges.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Carleton College profile

Davidson College

Davidson College
functoruser / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Location: Davidson, North Carolina
  • School Type: Private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 1,743 (all undergraduate)
  • Description: Established by the Presbyterians of North Carolina in 1837, Davidson College is now one of the country's top liberal arts colleges. For a school of well under 2,000 students, Davidson is unusual for its strong Division I athletic program. The Wildcats compete in the NCAA Southern Conference, and nearly a quarter of Davidson students participate in varsity athletics. On the academic front, Davidson was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Davidson College profile

Duke University

Duke University
mricon
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • School Type: Private research university
  • Enrollment: 14,060 (6,496 undergraduates)
  • Description: Duke is one of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the south, and it frequently ranked nationally among the top ten universities. Duke is part of the "research triangle" with UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The area boasts the highest concentration of PhDs and MDs in the world. Duke's strengths in research and instruction have earned it membership in the Association of American Universities, and its strong liberal arts and sciences earned Duke a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The Duke Blue Devils compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Duke University profile

Georgetown University

Georgetown University
tvol / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • School Type: Private Jesuit research university
  • Enrollment: 14,826 (7,038 undergraduates)
  • Description: Georgetown's location in the capital has contributed to its sizable international student population, and the popularity of the International Relations major. Bill Clinton stands out among Georgetown's notable alumni. Over half of Georgetown students take advantage of the many study abroad opportunities, and the university recently opened a campus in Qatar. For strengths in the liberal arts and sciences, Georgetown was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. On the athletic front, the Georgetown Hoyas compete in the NCAA Division I Big East Conference.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Georgetown University profile

Harvard University

Harvard University Memorial Hall
timsackton / Flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • School Type: Private research university
  • Enrollment: 27,651 (10,257 undergraduates)
  • Explore campus in this Harvard University photo tour
  • Description: Harvard usually ranks #1 or #2 among the top universities. With an endowment in the tens of billions, Harvard has more financial resources at its disposal than any other university in the world. The result is a world-class faculty, high-level research and AAU membership, state-of-the-art facilities, and free tuition for students from families with modest income. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this Ivy League school is in close-proximity to the hundreds of thousands of college students in the greater Boston area. Low achieving students need not apply -- Harvard has the lowest acceptance rate of any U.S. university.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Harvard University profile

Haverford College

Haverford College Path
edwinmalet / flickr
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Location: Haverford, Pennsylvania
  • School Type: Private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 1,190 (all undergraduate)
  • Description: Located on a beautiful campus outside of Philadelphia, Haverford offers its students a wealth of educational opportunities. The college typically ranks among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Although strong in all areas of the liberal arts and sciences, Haverford is often noted for its superb science programs. The school's academic strengths earned it a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Haverford students have the opportunity to take classes at Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania.
  • For acceptance rate, test scores and other admissions data, read the Duke University profile
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