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The Best Colleges of 2020 Are in the South

It's back to school season so now is the perfect time to start thinking about higher education for your high school kids. The U.S. News and World Report's list of the Best Colleges of 2020 has been released and there are some strong Southern colleges that made the list. 

While there are other incredible southern schools that made the top 30 on the National University list like Duke University, Vanderbilt University (in Nashville), Rice University (in Houston), Emory University and Wake Forest University, we've rounded up the 30 best public schools, many of which rival a private school education. 

1. University of California-Los Angeles

2. University of California-Berkeley

3. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

4. University of Virginia

With a student body just of 24,000, this public university in Charlottesville, Virginia is the top southern school to make the list. Founded in 1819, this school also made the top 30 on the National Universities list.

5. Georgia Institute of Technology (tie)

Particularly strong colleges here include Business and Engineering. It boasts a student body of just over 16,000 and also made the top 30 list on the National Universities list. It's located in the heart of Atlanta.

6. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (tie)

Founded in 1789, UNC is another strong southern university. It boasts a strong Greek life and was also Michael Jordan's alma mater. 

7. University of California-Santa Barbara (tie)

8. University of Florida (tie)

UF moved up a place this year and it's probably because it continues to offer a strong education. The school was founded in 1853 and is well known for their mascot, the Gators. Their homecoming weekend, Gator Growl, is known as the largest student pep rally in the country. 

9. University of California-Irvine

10. University of California-San Diego

11. University of California-Davis

12. College of William and Mary

Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, College of William and Mary is a historic college founded in 1693. They are home to the first law school in the country and also boast an incredible school of education. 

13. University of Wisconsin-Madison

14. University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (tie)

15. University of Texas-Austin (tie)

The Texas Longhorns are well known across the south. As one of the largest schools in the country it had a total enrollment of over 50k students in 2019. It has a strong liberal arts program, business school, engineerying, and nursing school. It's also the alma mater of beloved actor Matthew McConaughey who is currently a guest professor and frequenter of football games. 

16. University of Georgia

Located in Athens, Georgia, which was ranked one of the best college towns in the country by Forbes, UGA is an excellent school. Go bulldogs!

17. Ohio State University-Columbus

18. Florida State University (tie)

FSU jumped 18 spots on this list which is an incredible feat, and the most any college has ever made in one year. 

19. Pennsylvania State University-University Park (tie)

20. Purdue University-West Lafayette (tie)

21. University of Pittsburgh (tie)

22. Rutgers University

23. University of Washington

24. University of Connecticut

25. University of Maryland-College Park (tie)

26. University of Massachusetts-Amherst

27. Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina

Located in South Carolina, Clemson is a really strong liberal arts college. It's also less than four hours from Charleston and always has an awesome football team. 

28. Texas A&M University—College Station

Originally an all-men's school known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College, the school is now co-ed and known as Texas A&M. But if you're a student here you'll be known as an "Aggie." The Big Event is the largest student run volunteer event in the country where students get together to improve Bryan-College Station. A&M is also home of the Cadet Corps, the largest ROTC program in the nation.

29. University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

30. Virginia Tech University

Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, Virginia Tech was originally a military technical institute. It's also a powerhouse research university with seven research institutes and two centers that offer undergraduate and graduate students opportunities. 

Southern schools that made the Top 50

Auburn University in Alabama, North Carolina State University—Raleigh, University of South Carolina in Columbia, University of South Florida, University of Tennessee

Southern schools that made the Top 100

University of Kentucky, University of Oklahoma, George Mason University, Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, University of Mississippi

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