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Top Washington Colleges

11 of the Top Colleges in Washington

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Top Ranked Colleges: Universities | Public Universities | Liberal Arts Colleges | Engineering | Business | Women's | Most Selective

Washington State offers a wide range of options for higher education. From large research universities to small liberal arts colleges, Washington is home to a little of everything. The 11 top Washington colleges listed below vary so much in size and mission that I have simply listed them alphabetically rather than force them into any sort of artificial ranking. That said, Whitman College is the most selective school on the list.

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Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College Clock Tower
lil_azorean / Flickr
  • Location: Olympia, Washington
  • Enrollment: 4,891 (4,551 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public liberal arts college
  • Distinctions:  large 1,000-acre campus surrounded by woods; written evaluations, not grades; highly innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum; one of only a few schools to receive Sierra Club's "A+" rating for green efforts
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Evergreen State College profile

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University
Christine Salek / Flickr
  • Location: Spokane, Washington
  • Enrollment: 7,633 (4,729 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic university
  • Distinctions:  educational philosophy focuses on the whole person -- mind, body and spirit; ranks highly among master's institutions in the West; member of the NCAA Division I West Coast Conference; good grant aid
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Gonzaga University profile

Pacific Lutheran University

Pacific Lutheran University
cvconnell / Flickr
  • Location: Parkland, Washington
  • Enrollment: 3,581 (3,305 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Distinctions: good grant aid; 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; active study abroad programs; strong mix of liberal arts and professional programs for a small university
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Pacific Lutheran University profile

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle Pacific University Clock Tower
cincodenada06 / Flickr
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Enrollment: 4,000 (3,016 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university affiliated with the Free Methodist Church of North America
  • Distinctions:  14 to 1 student / faculty ratio; most classes have under 30 students; good grant aid; strong Christian identity; member of the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Seattle Pacific University profile

Seattle University

Seattle University
Christine Salek / Flickr
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Enrollment: 7,751 (4,306 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Jesuit university
  • Distinctions:  13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 19 students; students come from all 50 states and 76 other countries; located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood; competes in the NCAA Division I
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Seattle University profile

University of Puget Sound

The University of Puget Sound
The Kevin / Flickr
  • Location: Tacoma, Washington
  • Enrollment: 2,879 (2,606 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: small private university
  • Distinctions:  chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; good grant aid; easy access to both the city and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the University of Puget Sound profile

University of Washington Seattle

University of Washington
Ken Lund / Flickr
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Enrollment: 45,943 (32,718 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public research university
  • Distinctions:  flagship campus of the Washington state university system; attractive campus sits on the shores of Portage and Union Bays; member of the Association of American Universities for research strengths; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; member o f the NCAA Division I the Division I Pacific Ten Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the University of Washington profile

Washington State University

Washington State University Thompson Hall
Thecougarman07 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Pullman, Washington
  • Enrollment: 26,101 (21,726 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions:  over 200 areas of study; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; member of the NCAA Division I Pacific 10 Conference; one of the country's largest athletic centers
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Washington State University profile

Western Washington University

Western Washington University
helenadagmar / Flickr
  • Location: Bellingham, Washington
  • Enrollment: 14,575 (13,396 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions:  highly ranked regional university; close to 75% of classes have fewer than 30 students; higher retention and graduation rates than many comparable universities; member of the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Western Washington University profile

Whitman College

Whitman College
chuck.taylor / Flickr
  • Location: Walla Walla, Washington
  • Enrollment: 1,515 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: liberal arts college
  • Distinctions:  one of the country's top liberal arts colleges; focus is entirely on undergraduate education; chapter of  Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; several science and professional programs collaborate with top schools like Caltech, Columbia, Duke and Washington University
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Whitlman College profile

Whitworth University

Whitworth University
bikeride / Flickr
  • Location: Spokane, Washington
  • Enrollment: 2,781 (2,453 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church
  • Distinctions:  13 to 1 student / faculty ratio, and the great majority of classes have under 30 students; good grant aid; ranks highly among master's institutions in the West; millions of dollars in upgrades in expansions in recent years
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Whitworth University profile
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