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10 Best Colleges in Washington State and Ranks

Best Colleges in Washington State


Washington State, known for its vibrant cities, is also home to some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. Choosing the right college is a significant decision, especially in a state as diverse as Washington.

With various options ranging from urban settings to more lively environments, the Evergreen State boasts a rich selection of academic institutions, especially in a state as diverse as Washington.


Each college has its distinctive character, offering students a top-notch education and a unique cultural and social experience.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect academic fit in Washington State, read on as we explore the top 10 colleges in Washington State where excellence meets variety in higher education.

Best Colleges in Washington State



10 Best Colleges in Washington State and Ranks

Here are the top 10 best colleges in Washington State (and their Ranks):

1. University of Washington

Location: Seattle, Washington.

Ranking: #14 in National Universities

Known For: Renowned research university, exceptional academics across all disciplines, strong pre-med, engineering, and computer science programs. Vibrant campus life with a diverse student body and opportunities for leadership and research involvement.

2. Washington State University

Location: Pullman, Washington.

Ranking: #106 in National Universities

Known For: Washington State University is known for its strong agriculture, veterinary medicine, and communication programs. It is also recognized for its research contributions in various fields.

3. Western Washington University

Location: Bellingham, Washington.

Ranking: #213 in National Universities

Known For: Western Washington University is known for its strong emphasis on liberal arts education. It is recognized for its commitment to sustainability and environmental science programs.

4. University of Puget Sound

Location: Tacoma, Washington.

Ranking: #112 in Liberal Arts Colleges

Known For: its strong commitment to liberal arts education, the University of Puget Sound consistently ranks among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation. The university emphasizes personalized learning, small class sizes, and a vibrant campus community.

5. Whitman College

Location: Walla Walla, Washington.

Ranking: #27 in Liberal Arts Colleges

Known For: Whitman College is renowned for its strong liberal arts curriculum and commitment to fostering critical thinking and intellectual curiosity.

6. Gonzaga University

Location: Spokane, Washington.

Ranking: #126 in National Universities

Known for:  Private Jesuit university, strong business and nursing programs, active student life with a focus on service and social justice.

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7. Central Washington University

Location: Ellensburg, Washington.

Ranking: #236 in Regional Universities West

Known For: Central Washington University is recognized for its strong programs in education, business, and science. The university is known for its commitment to hands-on learning experiences and a supportive academic environment.

8. Eastern Washington University

Location: Cheney, Washington.

Ranking: #283 in Regional Universities West

Known For: Washington University is known for its strong emphasis on practical, career-focused education. The university excels in fields such as business, health sciences, and technology.

9. Seattle University

Location: Seattle, Washington.

Ranking: #177 in Regional Universities West

Known for: Private Catholic university, social justice focuses with strong nursing and education programs, commitment to diversity and inclusion. Vibrant campus life in Seattle with easy access to the city’s cultural offerings.

10. Evergreen State College

Location: Olympia, Washington.

Ranking: #289 in National Liberal Arts Colleges

Known for:  Evergreen State College is known for its interdisciplinary approach to education and its focus on experiential learning. The college stands out for its innovative curriculum and commitment to environmental and social issues.


The exploration of the 10 best colleges in the state, with a keen focus on their unique strengths and rankings, provides valuable insights for prospective students.

Choosing the right college can be difficult, but hopefully this blog post has helped you. This guide’s top 10 colleges in Washington State are all great choices.


How do I choose the best college for me?

Choosing the best college for you can feel overwhelming, but it’s an exciting step towards your future! Here’s a roadmap to navigate the process:

1. Know thyself:

  • Academic interests: What subjects ignite your curiosity? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Explore potential majors and careers that align with your passions.
  • Learning style: Do you thrive in large lectures or small seminars? Prefer hands-on experiences or theoretical discussions? Understanding your learning style will help you find a college that fosters it.
  • Personality and values: Do you crave a vibrant social scene or prefer a quieter environment? Are there specific campus values you resonate with, like diversity or sustainability? Choosing a college that feels like a second home is crucial.

2. Research:

  • College websites: Dive deep into academic programs, faculty profiles, student life activities, and campus resources.
  • College rankings: Use them as a starting point, but don’t get fixated on numbers. Consider the ranking methodology and how it aligns with your priorities.
  • College visits: Attend virtual or in-person tours to experience the campus vibe, talk to students and faculty, and ask specific questions.
  • Comparison tools: Utilize platforms like Niche, College Scorecard, or BigFuture to compare colleges side-by-side based on your chosen criteria.

3. Consider the financials:

  • Tuition and fees: Research the sticker price, but also factor in potential scholarships, grants, and financial aid packages.
  • Living expenses: Estimate costs like housing, food, transportation, and textbooks. Remember, these can vary significantly depending on location and lifestyle.
  • Long-term ROI: Think beyond just the cost. Consider the college’s reputation, alumni network, and job placement rates to assess its impact on your future career earnings.

4. Don’t forget the intangibles:

  • Location: Urban, rural, or suburban? Consider your preference for proximity to nature, city life, or specific cultural experiences.
  • Campus culture: Does the college feel diverse and welcoming? Are there clubs and activities that align with your interests? Imagine yourself fitting into the community.
  • Distance from home: Striking a balance between independence and familiarity is important. Consider how often you’d like to visit home and how your family feels about the distance.

What are other resources to research colleges in Washington?

  • Student-run newspapers and magazines: These offer unfiltered glimpses into campus life, student concerns, and hidden gems not covered in official materials.
  • Department websites and social media: Specific academic programs that interest you. See what research projects faculty are working on, connect with student clubs, and get a feel for the department’s culture.
  • YouTube channels and podcasts: Many colleges have official channels showcasing campus events, student stories, and faculty lectures. Unofficial student-run channels can offer even more candid perspectives.


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