Everything is bigger in Texas, and the Lone Star State is home to several of the best colleges in the entire country. Whether you’re a lifelong Texan or thinking about heading off to Texas for college after high school, we’re here to help you think about your options for where you’ll earn your bachelor’s degree.
Keep reading to learn about 10 of the top universities in Texas.
10 best colleges in Texas
The following list covers several of the top private and public schools in the state of Texas. We’ll share some key facts about each school on the list, including size, average tuition, and admission rate.
We’ll also share a few key factors that make the school stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind that this list isn’t necessarily a set of rankings — these schools are in no particular order.
Acceptance rate: 11%
Undergraduate enrollment: 4,076
Average tuition: $51,107
Six-year graduation rate: 94%
Rice University is widely considered one of the top institutions in the entire country. The school stands out for its 6-to-1 undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio and reputation for supporting college students emotionally, culturally, and academically.
University of Texas, Austin
Acceptance rate: 32%
Undergraduate enrollment: 40,048
In-state tuition: $11,448
Out-of-state tuition: $40,032
Six-year graduation rate: 88%
The University of Texas at Austin is a public university home to over 200 dedicated research units. This Austin college often participates in industry-leading, cutting-edge research in hubs like the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies.
UT Austin staff members are committed to pursuing excellence in their teaching and in how they prepare students for careers and future graduate work.
Texas A&M University
Location: College Station
Acceptance rate: 63%
Undergraduate enrollment: 55,568
In-state tuition: $12,783
Out-of-state tuition: $39,340
Six-year graduation rate: 83%
Only 17 universities in the entire nation can simultaneously call themselves a land, sea, and space-grant university. Texas A&M University at College Station is one of them. The school is also one of 71 members of the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group representing the top schools in the United States and Canada.
Southern Methodist University
Acceptance rate: 53%
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,827
Average tuition: $58,540
Six-year graduation rate: 81%
Southern Methodist University students represent all 50 U.S. states and over 80 countries. They love SMU for its small classes and the terrific research opportunities. SMU houses eight prestigious colleges, including the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and the Lyle School of Engineering.
Texas Christian University
Location: Fort Worth
Acceptance rate: 48%
Undergraduate enrollment: 9,704
Average tuition: $51,660
Six-year graduation rate: 82%
Texas Christian University has received numerous awards honoring its campus, library, and alumni network. The university’s undergraduate business school is considered one of the best in the entire state, and its education and nursing programs are top-notch, as well.
Acceptance rate: 68%
Undergraduate enrollment: 14,399
Average tuition: $49,246
Six-year graduation rate: 79%
Baylor University boasts a strong reputation for mentoring and supporting students, while also upholding a commitment to research and education at the highest level. The school receives positive reviews for its first-year experience and undergraduate research opportunities. Baylor offers over 125 majors from 12 colleges, such as its law school and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.
Location: San Antonio
Acceptance rate: 34%
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,504
Average tuition: $46,456
Six-year graduation rate: 79%
Trinity University offers 58 majors, 61 minors, and a handful of interdisciplinary programs. The school provides numerous opportunities for undergraduate research and study abroad programs for students to put their talents to use in a hands-on setting.
University of Texas, Dallas
Acceptance rate: 79%
Undergraduate enrollment: 21,187
In-state tuition: $13,992
Out-of-state tuition: $38,970
Six-year graduation rate: 69%
The University of Texas at Dallas offers students over 140 degree programs. The school’s student body represents citizens from more than 100 countries and 227 National Merit Scholars. The STEM program is widely regarded and well-respected, as are the liberal arts and social sciences majors.
Texas Tech University
Acceptance rate: 70%
Undergraduate enrollment: 33,269
In-state tuition: $11,600
Out-of-state tuition: $23,870
Six-year graduation rate: 63%
Texas Tech University students can choose between 150 majors offered by 13 colleges. Since 2015, Texas Tech has held the honor of being one of 131 universities mentioned in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s “Very High Research Activity” group.
University of Houston
Acceptance rate: 63%
Undergraduate enrollment: 39,165
In-state tuition: $9,457
Out-of-state tuition: $21,673
Six-year graduation rate: 63%
University of Houston students have access to cutting-edge research centers and multiple world-class libraries. These state-of-the-art facilities prepare UH students for success as they pursue one of the school’s 276 degree programs. The school also takes pride in its spirit of innovation and nine national research centers.
Here are a few more schools we love. Like the list above, this isn’t a list of rankings — we don’t play favorites here.
We can’t offer any extra credit, but we think you’ll enjoy learning more about these institutions (and we’ll give you a crisp high-five for putting in the extra effort).
- The University of North Texas (Denton)
- Sam Houston State University (Huntsville)
- University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Edinburg)
- Southwestern University (Georgetown)
- Texas A&M International University (Laredo)
- University of St. Thomas (Houston)
- West Texas A&M University (Canyon)
- Texas State University (San Marcos)
- The University of Texas at Arlington
- The University of Texas at El Paso
What is the No. 1 university in Texas?
We had a feeling you would ask this question. It’s a hard one to answer. First of all, we love each of these schools and think they all make great choices.
More importantly, our experience has taught us that the answer isn’t the same for each person. The best school for you will depend on your values, priorities, and goals for your time in college.
With that in mind, many people consider Rice University and the University of Texas to be two of the best schools in the country — not just in the state of Texas.
How to choose the best Texas college for you
Now that you know about the Lone Star State’s several awesome choices for higher education, you’re ready to do your own research and prep your applications. Before we send you on your way, we’d love to share a few things to remember as you begin your search.
- Make a list. Your list may include some of the schools on this list, and a few we didn’t get a chance to mention. Don’t worry if it’s a long list at this point — you’ll narrow it down as you move through the following tips.
- Think about your wants and needs. The key word is “your” wants and needs. It’s perfectly fine to be selfish when choosing a college. This decision will impact you more than anyone else, and you should feel free to make a decision based on the factors that are important to you.
- See the campus in person. Who’s up for a road trip? Once you narrow your list to your top three or four options, consider traveling to each campus for an in-person visit. This lets you see what it looks and feels like to physically be on campus and allows you to speak to professors and admissions counselors.
- Compare scholarship and financial aid offers. We know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but college is expensive. If you’re having trouble narrowing down the top two or three schools on your list of rankings, it may help to compare scholarship and financial aid offers to see which school can give you the best deal. Keep in mind that earning a high SAT score or high school GPA can give you a leg up on the competition.
- List the pros and cons. Which school is closer to home? What college has a better academic reputation? Where can you find the best on-campus amenities and student life? These are all great examples of questions to ask yourself as you weigh the pros and cons and narrow your list.
Use College Rover to find the ideal school for you
The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas. Once you arrive in the state for college, you’ll see these stars for yourself. We hope you’re excited about potentially attending a Texas school, and we’re happy to continue helping you with your college decision in any way possible.
If you want to continue researching these schools (or something else, like a liberal arts institution), use our database at College Rover to research different schools and compare various options side by side. Some students even create a downloadable spreadsheet that’s easy to share with family and friends who may want to offer insight or advice. We offer each of these features to make the process of searching for colleges a little more awesome (and a lot more fun).