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Top Mountain State Colleges and Universities

20 of the top colleges in the Mountain State region

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Despite its relatively low population density, the mountain state region of the United States has a wide range of options for higher education. My top picks vary in size from one of the country's largest public universities to a tiny Christian college with under 200 students. You'll find some familiar names here as well as a few less well-known schools. The 20 colleges and universities below were chosen based on factors such as retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, student engagement, and value. I have listed the schools alphabetically to avoid the often arbitrary distinctions that separate #1 from #2, and because of the futility of comparing a large research university to a small liberal arts college.

The Mountain State Region

The Mountain States

The 20 colleges and universities below were selected from the Mountain State region of the United States: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

More Regions: New England | Middle Atlantic | Southeast | Midwest | South CentralWest Coast

Arizona State University (ASU)

Arizona State University
kevindooley / Flickr
  • Location: Tempe, Arizona
  • Enrollment: 72,254 (58,404 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; one of the largest universities in the country; other campuses in Phoenix and Mesa; member of the NCAA Division I Pacific 12 Conference
  • Explore the Campus: Arizona State Photo Tour
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Arizona State University profile

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University - BYU
DOliphant / Flickr
  • Location: Provo, Utah
  • Enrollment: 34,101 (30,684 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Distinctions: largest religious university in the U.S.; excellent value; large percentage of students do missionary work during college; member of the NCAA Division I West Coast Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Brigham Young University profile

Carroll College

Carroll College
sheadonato / Flickr
  • Location: Helena, Montana
  • Enrollment: 1,436 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic liberal arts and pre-professional college
  • Distinctions: excellent value; 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; many options for outdoor activities; institutional focus on service and volunteerism; students can choose from 42 majors and 8 pre-professional programs
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Carroll College profile

College of Idaho

The College of Idaho
Photo Credit: The College of Idaho
  • Location: Caldwell, Idaho
  • Enrollment: 1,041 (1,018 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: creative curriculum allows students to earn one major and three minors in four years; 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 11; diverse student body from 30 states and 40 countries
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the College of Idaho profile

Colorado College

Colorado College Science Center
Greverod / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 2,043 (2,026 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; breathtaking location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains; creative one-class-at-a-time curriculum; 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Colorado College profile

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines
rkimpeljr / Flickr
  • Location: Golden, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 5,524 (3,947 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public engineering school
  • Distinctions: 14 to 1 student / faculty ratio; high average starting salaries for graduates; excellent value; highest admissions standards of any public university in Colorado
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Colorado School of Mines profile

Colorado State University

Colorado State University
ecopolitologist / Flickr
  • Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 30,467 (23,075 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; 17 to 1 student / faculty ratio; students from all 50 states and 85 countries; member of the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Colorado State University profile

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott

Embry-Riddle Flight Training Center
Elliott P. / Flickr
  • Location: Prescott, Arizona
  • Enrollment: 1,723 (1,627 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private aeronautical and aerospace institute
  • Distinctions: 14 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 21; one of the world's top institutions for aeronautics and aerospace engineering; students from 50 states and 25 countries; facilities include many flight simulators and training aircraft
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the ERAU Prescott profile

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech)

Headquarter for the Very Large Array are on the New Mexico Tech campus
Hajor / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Socorro, New Mexico
  • Enrollment: 1,859 (1,454 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public engineering school
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; excellent value; high average salaries for graduates; many strong engineering programs; numerous research opportunities through affiliated science and engineering research centers
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the New Mexico Tech profile

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