Best California Colleges

Ranking top Colleges and Universities in California for 2020

With its desirable climate, dynamic cities, huge economy and reputation the global leader in technology, California is a highly desirable state for students to choose to attend college. The state is home to world-renowned research universities like Stanford in Silicon Valley and CalTech in Pasadena. The University of California (UC) system has ten campuses serving over a quarter of a million students. The UC system is home to the extremely competitive and rival colleges UCLA and UC Berkeley. The 23 campuses of the CSU system comprise the largest public four-year university system in the US and enroll nearly a half million students per year. Also significant is the California Community Colleges system, the largest of its kind, which serves 2.1 million students through its 2-year programs at 116 colleges. Notable highly rated small liberal arts schools like Pomona, Harvey Mudd and Claremont McKenna also call the Golden State home.

There are 280 colleges and universities in California enrolling 2,560,541 students. Explore the list of top colleges in California below to begin your college search. The CollegeSimply rankings are objective and data-driven in order to help you find good matches for you. Learn how the Best Colleges rankings are calculated on our ranking methodology page.. Whether you're searching for a good public, private or community college, this guide to universities in California offers a comprehensive view to the state's higher education options.

California is home to nationally ranked institutions like Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Claremont McKenna College and Pomona College. The highest ranked college in California is Stanford University and the top rated public state college is University of California Los Angeles.

Local college options can be explored in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco or other cities.

280 results found

List of the Best California Colleges

Stanford University
S
Stanford, CA
Stanford University

Private 4 Year

6 reviews

#1 Best Colleges in California

  • 17,381enrollment
  • $16,562net price
  • 4%acceptance rate
  • 1420-1570SAT range
  • 32-35ACT range
  • 4.18Avg GPA
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California Institute of Technology
C
Pasadena, CA
California Institute of Technology

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#2 Best Colleges in California

  • 2,233enrollment
  • $24,466net price
  • 7%acceptance rate
  • 1530-1580SAT range
  • 35-36ACT range
  • 3.97*Avg GPA
Claremont McKenna College
C
Claremont, CA
Claremont McKenna College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#3 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,327enrollment
  • $28,712net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • 1350-1500SAT range
  • 31-34ACT range
  • 3.89*Avg GPA
Pomona College
P
Claremont, CA
Pomona College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#4 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,573enrollment
  • $18,427net price
  • 8%acceptance rate
  • 1400-1540SAT range
  • 31-34ACT range
  • 3.89*Avg GPA
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University of Southern California
S
Los Angeles, CA
University of Southern California

Private 4 Year

4 reviews

#5 Best Colleges in California

  • 47,310enrollment
  • $32,892net price
  • 13%acceptance rate
  • 1350-1530SAT range
  • 30-34ACT range
  • 3.73Avg GPA
Scripps College
S
Claremont, CA
Scripps College

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#6 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,071enrollment
  • $36,831net price
  • 24%acceptance rate
  • 1300-1480SAT range
  • 30-33ACT range
  • 4.13Avg GPA
Santa Clara University
S
Santa Clara, CA
Santa Clara University

Private 4 Year

2 reviews

#7 Best Colleges in California

  • 8,642enrollment
  • $38,900net price
  • 50%acceptance rate
  • 1270-1440SAT range
  • 28-32ACT range
  • 3.66Avg GPA
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University of California Los Angeles
C
Los Angeles, CA
University of California Los Angeles

Public 4 Year

3 reviews

#8 Best Colleges in California

  • 44,537enrollment
  • $14,760net price
  • 14%acceptance rate
  • 1290-1520SAT range
  • 30-34ACT range
  • 4.29Avg GPA
Loyola Marymount University
L
Los Angeles, CA
Loyola Marymount University

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#9 Best Colleges in California

  • 9,838enrollment
  • $42,459net price
  • 47%acceptance rate
  • 1210-1390SAT range
  • 27-31ACT range
  • 3.72Avg GPA
University of California Berkeley
C
Berkeley, CA
University of California Berkeley

Public 4 Year

1 reviews

#10 Best Colleges in California

  • 42,501enrollment
  • $18,178net price
  • 15%acceptance rate
  • 1320-1530SAT range
  • 31-35ACT range
  • 3.86Avg GPA
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Occidental College
O
Los Angeles, CA
Occidental College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#11 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,930enrollment
  • $33,738net price
  • 37%acceptance rate
  • 1270-1450SAT range
  • 28-32ACT range
  • 3.6Avg GPA
University of California San Diego
C
La Jolla, CA
University of California San Diego

Public 4 Year

0 reviews

#12 Best Colleges in California

  • 37,887enrollment
  • $14,616net price
  • 30%acceptance rate
  • 1260-1470SAT range
  • 27-33ACT range
  • 3.82*Avg GPA
University of California Irvine
C
Irvine, CA
University of California Irvine

Public 4 Year

2 reviews

#13 Best Colleges in California

  • 36,032enrollment
  • $13,944net price
  • 29%acceptance rate
  • 1190-1410SAT range
  • 25-33ACT range
  • 3.92Avg GPA
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University of California Davis
C
Davis, CA
University of California Davis

Public 4 Year

1 reviews

#14 Best Colleges in California

  • 38,167enrollment
  • $16,446net price
  • 41%acceptance rate
  • 1160-1400SAT range
  • 24-32ACT range
  • 3.99Avg GPA
University of San Diego
S
San Diego, CA
University of San Diego

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#15 Best Colleges in California

  • 9,073enrollment
  • $38,592net price
  • 53%acceptance rate
  • 1190-1360SAT range
  • 25-30ACT range
  • 3.88Avg GPA
Chapman University
C
Orange, CA
Chapman University

Private 4 Year

2 reviews

#16 Best Colleges in California

  • 9,608enrollment
  • $40,053net price
  • 54%acceptance rate
  • 1190-1370SAT range
  • 25-30ACT range
  • 3.68Avg GPA
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University of the Pacific
t
Stockton, CA
University of the Pacific

Private 4 Year

2 reviews

#17 Best Colleges in California

  • 6,493enrollment
  • $32,715net price
  • 63%acceptance rate
  • 1120-1350SAT range
  • 22-30ACT range
  • 3.47Avg GPA
Pepperdine University
P
Malibu, CA
Pepperdine University

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#18 Best Colleges in California

  • 7,961enrollment
  • $36,372net price
  • 36%acceptance rate
  • 1220-1420SAT range
  • 26-32ACT range
  • 3.59Avg GPA