Best California Colleges

Ranked list of Colleges and Universities in California for 2024

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 278 colleges and universities in California enrolling 2,298,396 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.


278 results

List of the Best California Colleges

University of San Francisco
S
San Francisco, CA

University of San Francisco

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#19 Best Colleges in California

  • 10,034enrollment
  • $42,801net price
  • 71%acceptance rate
  • 1190-1390SAT range
  • 26-31ACT range
  • 3.57Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 15

Westmont College
W
Santa Barbara, CA
 

Westmont College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#20 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,238enrollment
  • $32,418net price
  • 79%acceptance rate
  • 1160-1460SAT range
  • 26-31ACT range
  • 3.59Avg GPA

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
C
San Luis Obispo, CA

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Public 4 Year

2 reviews

#21 Best Colleges in California

  • 22,231enrollment
  • $20,491net price
  • 33%acceptance rate
  • 1220-1410SAT range
  • 26-32ACT range
  • 4.0Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

Saint Marys College of California
S
Moraga, CA

Saint Marys College of California

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#22 Best Colleges in California

  • 3,165enrollment
  • $40,401net price
  • 70%acceptance rate
  • 1070-1253SAT range
  • 21-28ACT range
  • 3.6Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 15

University of California Santa Cruz
C
Santa Cruz, CA

University of California Santa Cruz

Public 4 Year

6 reviews

#23 Best Colleges in California

  • 19,841enrollment
  • $17,842net price
  • 59%acceptance rate
  • 1160-1360SAT range
  • 25-33ACT range
  • 3.63Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

University of Redlands
R
Redlands, CA

University of Redlands

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#24 Best Colleges in California

  • 4,059enrollment
  • $30,240net price
  • 83%acceptance rate
  • 1110-1280SAT range
  • 26-31ACT range
  • 3.74Avg GPA

Applications Due Jul 1

University of California Riverside
C
Riverside, CA

University of California Riverside

Public 4 Year

1 reviews

#25 Best Colleges in California

  • 26,847enrollment
  • $11,948net price
  • 65%acceptance rate
  • 1080-1280SAT range
  • 22-31ACT range
  • 3.84Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

Biola University
B
La Mirada, CA

Biola University

Private 4 Year

3 reviews

#26 Best Colleges in California

  • 5,551enrollment
  • $34,713net price
  • 61%acceptance rate
  • 1103-1348SAT range
  • 22-29ACT range
  • 3.61Avg GPA

Azusa Pacific University
A
Azusa, CA
 

Azusa Pacific University

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#27 Best Colleges in California

  • 8,126enrollment
  • $31,367net price
  • 94%acceptance rate
  • 966-1266SAT range
  • 19-25ACT range
  • 3.74Avg GPA

Applications Due Jun 1

Whittier College
W
Whittier, CA

Whittier College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#28 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,387enrollment
  • $28,647net price
  • 82%acceptance rate
  • 1120-1340SAT range
  • 23-28ACT range
  • 3.61Avg GPA

San Diego State University
S
San Diego, CA

San Diego State University

Public 4 Year

3 reviews

#29 Best Colleges in California

  • 36,484enrollment
  • $13,192net price
  • 38%acceptance rate
  • 1090-1300SAT range
  • 22-29ACT range
  • 3.82Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

Otis College of Art and Design
O
Los Angeles, CA

Otis College of Art and Design

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#30 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,252enrollment
  • $46,876net price
  • 80%acceptance rate
  • 1130-1360SAT range
  • 20-29ACT range
  • 3.31Avg GPA

Point Loma Nazarene University
P
San Diego, CA

Point Loma Nazarene University

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#31 Best Colleges in California

  • 4,445enrollment
  • $34,644net price
  • 84%acceptance rate
  • 1170-1350SAT range
  • 22-30ACT range
  • 3.65Avg GPA

Applications Due Feb 15

Dominican University of California
D
San Rafael, CA

Dominican University of California

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#32 Best Colleges in California

  • 1,855enrollment
  • $36,899net price
  • 93%acceptance rate
  • 1063-1275SAT range
  • 20-25ACT range
  • 3.66Avg GPA

California Lutheran University
C
Thousand Oaks, CA

California Lutheran University

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#33 Best Colleges in California

  • 3,766enrollment
  • $29,669net price
  • 82%acceptance rate
  • 1090-1290SAT range
  • 23-28ACT range
  • 3.73Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 1

California State University Long Beach
C
Long Beach, CA

California State University Long Beach

Public 4 Year

1 reviews

#34 Best Colleges in California

  • 40,190enrollment
  • $10,568net price
  • 47%acceptance rate
  • 1020-1240SAT range
  • 20-26ACT range
  • 3.7Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

University of La Verne
L
La Verne, CA

University of La Verne

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#35 Best Colleges in California

  • 6,201enrollment
  • $30,061net price
  • 72%acceptance rate
  • 905-1135SAT range
  • 17-24ACT range
  • 3.24Avg GPA

Concordia University Irvine
C
Irvine, CA

Concordia University Irvine

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#36 Best Colleges in California

  • 3,710enrollment
  • $29,893net price
  • 81%acceptance rate
  • 1030-1260SAT range
  • 21-29ACT range
  • 3.61Avg GPA