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Top Kentucky Colleges

Learn about the Top 11 Kentucky Colleges and Universities

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Top Ranked U.S. Colleges: Universities | Public Universities | Liberal Arts Colleges | Engineering | Business | Women's | Most Selective | More Top Picks

Kentucky's best colleges range in size from tiny Kentucky Wesleyan with under 1,000 students to the University of Kentucky with over 27,000 students. They also vary significantly in personality and mission. My top picks for the state include a range of public, private, religious, and secular institutions. Admission standards also differ greatly, so be sure to click on the profile links to learn more about each school. My selection criteria include retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, value, student engagement, and notable curricular strengths. I have listed the schools alphabetically rather than forcing them into any kind of artificial ranking; the idea of trying to put a small liberal arts work college and a large Division I public university into a single ranking is dubious at best.

Compare Kentucky Colleges: SAT Scores | ACT Scores

Asbury University

Asbury University
Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University
Braindrain0000 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Enrollment: 3,342 (2,612 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic university
  • Distinctions: 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 19; easy access to Louisville attractions; most students receive grant aid; strong internship and study abroad programs; NCAA Division II athletic programs
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Bellarmine University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Bellarmine Admissions

Berea College

Berea College
Parkerdr / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Berea, Kentucky
  • Enrollment: 1,613 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts work college
  • Distinctions: students from 50 states and 60 countries; focus on students of limited economic means; no tuition costs; work program for all students; amazing value; little debt burden; rich history of inclusion
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Berea College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Berea Admissions

Centre College

Centre College Norton Center for the Arts
Arwcheek / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Danville, Kentucky
  • Enrollment: 1,242 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; excellent value and good financial aid; "Centre Commitment" guarantees graduation in four years; excellent retention and graduation rates
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Centre College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Centre Admissions

Georgetown College

Georgetown College
FloNight / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Georgetown, Kentucky
  • Enrollment: 1,851 (1,284 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Baptist college
  • Distinctions: rich history dating to 1829; 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; 42 majors and 37 minors; large number of graduates go straight on to graduate school; active student life including fraternities and sororities; NAIA athletic programs
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Georgetown College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Georgetown Admissions

Kentucky Wesleyan College

  • Location: Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Enrollment: 802 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private Methodist liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 40 majors and 11 pre-professional programs; 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; online business program; active student life with over 40 clubs and organizations; NCAA Division II athletic programs
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Kentucky Wesleyan College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Kentucky Wesleyan Admissions

Murray State University

Murray State University
BlueGold73 / Wiki

Transylvania University

Transylvania University
inu-photo / Flickr
  • Location: Lexington, Kentucky
  • Enrollment: 1,110 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 17; one of the oldest colleges in the country (founded in 1780); located just one mile from the University of Kentucky; good grant aid; popular fraternity and sorority system; NCAA Division III athletic programs
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Transylvania University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for Transylvania Admissions

University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky Football
Chris Breeze / Flickr

University of Louisville

University of Louisville Cardinal
K. Coles / Flickr

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University Football
Abbey Hoekzema / Flickr
  • Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Enrollment: 20,897 (17,821 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: 90 majors and 60 minors; 19 to 1 student / faculty ratio; high level of alumni giving for a public institution; popular programs in business, education and nursing; member of the NCAA Division I Sun Belt Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Western Kentucky University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT Graph for WKU Admissions

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