After MIT’s four-year reign atop our annual list of the Best Colleges in America, our readers voted Stanford University as the No. 1 college in America.
To create this list, we asked over 1,500 professionals who have hiring experience in a variety of industries what they consider to be the best colleges in the U.S. based on how well the schools prepare their students for success after graduation.
Here are the top 25 colleges in the U.S. this year.
Now’s the time to educate your college bound students on the hazards of signing up for credit cards! Check out this article for more information.
Looking for scholarships? Click below to find organizations that provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students!
Parents! Have you started saving for your child’s college education? It’s never too late to begin! This article offers 5 tips to get the most out of a 529 college savings plan.
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When I was a pre-teen, I thought being 17 would be glamorous. But here’s the reality: 17 is that awkward in-between age where you can have a driver’s license but you can’t vote, where you’re neither a child nor an adult… you’re just awkward. Birthdays never claimed a significant importance in my mind, but this year was different. Turning 17 this summer brutally revitalized the inevitable conclusion that in one year, I’ll be starting a new chapter in my life. I’ll be adorning that graduation gown, saying goodbyes and getting butterflies in my stomach the first day of class.
But romanticizing about the future aside, for right now, everything is still uncertain. These next few months will be marked with cramming for college applications while juggling school work and extracurricular activities. It won’t be easy. We will be stressed out and weary. Here are 17 reminders I’ve written to myself to keep in mind throughout this year:
1. Not everything will happen “according to plan.” You love planning each step, but keep an open heart and think over all of your options. Sometimes things won’t work out. You will be disappointed. Being bitter or regretful is a waste of energy. Snuggle in bed and drink some tea, then go to sleep. Tomorrow, believe everything is possible again.
2. Sign out of Facebook. Also Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube, while you’re at it. Out of sight, out of mind… (well for now). You know why.
3. Keep in touch with as many friends as possible. Do not, do NOT forget this. Call, write, Skype or text, it doesn’t matter. Something good happens to someone? Show your love. Tell them congratulations. Don’t let friendships slip through your fingers because you didn’t make enough time to reciprocate; you’ll regret it.
4. Don’t lose your fire. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’. You’re passionate about so many things — remember why.
5. Bring a camera wherever you go. You think you’ll remember everything, but you’re wrong. You’ll have photos of every “important” event like graduation and prom, but those are events you will remember. How about those seemingly insignificant trips to the park or hanging out after school? Most likely, you’ll forget those memories with time. Document everything. Your friends will get used to a camera being shoved in their faces.
6. Do not consume copious amounts of coffee again. It’s become an addiction. Motivation: calculate how much money you spend on coffee each year… for the rest of your life. Also, your teeth will be really happy for once.
7. If you haven’t been outside in more than 2 days, it’s a problem. Walking to the car in the morning does not count. Walking back to the car after school does not count. Staring out the window during math class does not count. Your butt isn’t supposed to be molded to a chair all day. Take your puppy out for a walk. She misses you.
8. Stay focused on your goals, and make new ones as you go. If you get into your dream school, great. If you write a blog every month as planned, great. If you’re awarded scholarships, great. Don’t let success distract you from what you still need to accomplish. Assess, evaluate, go.
9. Thank everyone you can, as much as you can. You did not get here on your own. Teachers, guidance counselors, mentors, friends, and loved ones have helped you this entire way. They helped you put in 100 percent all those times when you thought you only had 80 percent. Saying “thank you” will let them know that you don’t take them for granted. They’ll remember.
10. Listen before you speak. Really, it doesn’t matter who’s speaking. You can have opinions; that’s fine. Just don’t be foolish and think you know everything because you don’t. Make the effort to be thoughtful. Make your words count.
11. College Applications: get them done ASAP. Check deadlines, stay organized, don’t psych yourself out. As you learned in high school, procrastination never really did anything for anyone. You won’t suddenly get a profound idea for the Common App essay the night before.
12. Also, your worth isn’t defined by what colleges you’re accepted into.
13. Make art. Remember? You love that a lot. You aren’t the most skilled or the most talented, but that doesn’t matter. It makes you happy. Keep painting, creating, and envisioning.
14. Remember that this is the last impression you make on many people. You’re about to make many new “firsts,” but think about what you want to leave behind. Go out of your way to be kind. Inspire underclassmen to take on leadership roles. Be helpful. Smile.
15. Be patient with your parents. They don’t understand everything about the college application process, and you’ll have to explain and re-explain things. Don’t be a brat. You don’t understand everything the first time either. Make them proud.
16. Sleep. No, seriously. You’ll feel refreshed and your body will thank you. You’ve worked hard. Staying up late cramming isn’t worth having a tired and drowsy next day. Shut off your laptop.
17. Celebrate the victories, but don’t dwell in pride. Cherish your hard-earned achievements, and then get over yourself. Stay humble. You’re only 17. You have so much yet to accomplish; keep going. You got this.
Best of luck to us, Class of 2014!
1. Your high-school student should be thinking about her future.Will I go to college? Should I try to find a job? What should I do? Listen to her, support her, and have an open mind about the endless possibilities.
2. If your high-school student has a job, then help him manage his money and time. Help him to create a budget, and have a savings plan.
3. At this stage, most kids will be getting their driver’s license and many will be driving to school. Take time to help them learn by taking them driving. Be supportive, clear, and direct when discussing safety on the road.
4. When your high-school student gets her driver’s license, have clear rules as to when, how, and with whom she drives. Give her clear guidelines. “You will not be texting while driving,” and “Always buckle up when driving!” Make sure she knows that driving is a great responsibility and privilege.
5. Help your high-school student manage stress. Find time for the whole family to get physical and let off some steam.
6. Find time to have dinner together. During dinner, make sure everyone has a chance to share the highlights of their day and how they may do things differently tomorrow.
7. Your teen may be working hard to balance extra-curricular activities and school activities this year. Help your teen become a master time manager by standing your ground and enforcing at-home chores and family responsibilities.
8. Remind your child that although ACT and SAT results are important to post-secondary schools, achievement as a well-rounded student counts just as much. Students’ GPAs, extracurricular activities, application essays, and volunteer experiences are all important factors in demonstrating success in school on college applications.
9. At the same time, don’t forget that standardized test scores are also an integral part of the application. Whether your child is struggling or doing well in school, consider enrolling him in a test-preparation course.
10. At this age, friendships and romance become more important while cliques become less so. Set clear rules and guidelines about dating. Your teen should have a curfew that is enforced, and you should monitor your teen’s mood and behavior to ensure that dating is not affecting academic performance. It is important for parents to be viewed as approachable while still maintaining their parental authority.
As a teenager, you get a lot of things shouted at you from all different directions and it’s often overwhelming. I’ve learned a lot over the last few years of high school and often find myself wishing so badly to be able to go back in time and talk to 14-year-old me. Here are some things I wish someone would have informed me in my naive, dreamer girl days.
1. High school is never like it is in the movies.
While we may already know this, it’s hard not to map out your last four years of education as something based straight out of a Disney flick. Having a Troy Bolton of my own probably crossed my imagination when I was younger. As a freshman, everything is so new and you’re dealing with the constant feeling of apathy all while caring way too much. It’s a delicate balance that I think only teenagers alone ever understand fully. To put things in more cynical terms: lower your expectations. Don’t expect your knight in shining armor to pick you up for a magical time at the school dance. Don’t map out a crazy romance soiree that belongs in a Nicholas Sparks novel. Expect change, but don’t try so hard to fantasize it. Romanticizing things will only lead you on a deluded pathway to empty cartons of ice cream.
2. Make friends with your teachers.
I regret any major attitude I had in the beginning of high school because it definitely tampers with the relationships you have with your teachers. Not all of them will be fair, or even tolerable, and while that may inspire you to want to take your first dignified stand against today’s education system, it won’t prevent you from failing. At certain times it is going to matter whether you get that extra two percent, and if you’re not on good terms with your instructor, that number probably won’t budge. Respect your teachers and pay attention in class because no, you’re not “too cool for school.” Personally, that kid who drags everyone down with their reluctance isn’t someone I’m going to remember fondly after I graduate. In fact, I probably won’t remember him or her at all. Don’t waste your energy on trying to seem above your assignments because it’ll just come back to bite you. Plus, who do you think is in charge of writing your recommendation letters for college? Exactly. In general, you want to be nice to all of your peers as well. Trust me, there will be times when it’ll seem impossible but think of a few years when you graduate; do you really want to leave knowing you’re entitled to more apologies than goodbyes?
3. Be the kind of friend you would want.
You’re going to meet people who are dealing with all kinds of problems. Things like eating disorders and mental illnesses are rampant in today’s youth and while you may not want to believe it, chances are you’ll get to know someone who suffers from one. In times like this, you have to be that friend that’s going to pick up the phone at 3 a.m. when someone needs to talk. Maybe you’ll be the one experiencing these things, and in that case, what would you want your friend to do for you? Sometimes you won’t feel like being there, maybe you’ll be too tired to listen, but it’ll be worth it in the end if you really just make yourself reliable. These people you call your friends are going to be the very ones who are going to get you through your toughest times in high school.
4. Do not wallow in self-pity.
As humans, we’re naturally self-centered creatures. We want to focus on all that we’ve done right, and, unfortunately, all that we’ve done wrong. Of course, feeling sorry for yourself is okay, it’s even healthy! But when you’re the person who’s always complaining about yourself and your life and questioning all the bad things that happen to you, no one is going to want to talk to you. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. Wallowing in self-pity is gross and only makes you feel worse in the long run. You are amazing and talented and have all the right to own those moments that make you smile, so focus on that. No one is going to feel like running to dry you with a towel when you’re the one pouring water on yourself.
5. You are beautiful, intelligent, and worth it.
It’s cliche, it’s all over inspirational magazines and, when overused, it’s even cringe worthy. But it’s true! Most teenagers experience a very common thing called low self-esteem. You’re surrounded by hundreds of other people who are even better at the things you thought you were best at. While it took you forty minutes to do your hair this morning, she just rolled out of bed looking like the cover of Vogue. This afternoon you just hit your personal best in sports and you feel great, that is, until that guy over there zips past you on his first try doubling your standards. Stop comparing yourself. You’re not stupid because you failed a history test. Memorizing dates isn’t my forte either. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t look like someone because, in reality, you never will. You are yourself and that’s all you ever will be. It’s both mentally and physically exhausting to hate yourself and stand in the mirror picking out everything you want to change. Think of yourself at your proudest moments and then pat yourself on the shoulder because that is exactly who you are. If you have countless problems with yourself, do something about it. You’re the only one who picks yourself up after a long day to keep going, even when you simply feel like sleeping through it all. That’s a pretty impressive feat, and don’t let yourself be convinced otherwise.
School has officially started for the graduating class of 2014. This means that, despite any skepticism you may have had, you and your friends managed to survive freshman, sophomore and junior years. Now, all you have to do is get through the final year of your high school existence with your sanity (mostly) intact.
Don’t worry. The HuffPost Teen blogging team is here to help.
Over the past year, our teen writers have been sharing thoughtful, personal blogs about what navigating senior year is actually like, which was often totally different from what school advisors, movies or guidebooks told them to expect.
Read 15 of our favorite pieces of advice from HuffPost Teen bloggers, below, and keep in mind the one lesson ALL our bloggers learned: There’s no such thing as the perfect high school experience. So, stop putting so much pressure on yourself. You got this.
1. Find your people.
“Don’t spend every waking moment of your life trying to be the popular one. If you’re likeable and someone people want to be around, they’ll naturally gravitate towards you for being you. Have good, trustworthy friends with the same values as you who aren’t going to create trouble or unnecessary drama. This can be a huge factor as to whether or not you’ll have a great year.”
– Isabel Song, “How to Survive High School”
2. You don’t need to know what you want to be when you grow up.
“If you were to describe who am now to the person I was three years ago, I would think you’re absolutely off your rocker; so why should I trust my foresight into 20, 10, even five years from now? Maybe it’s naive of me to think that the universe is a kind place, but it is my firmest hope that if I work hard at whatever it is I am doing at the moment and always watch for when opportunity knocks, I will end up somewhere awesome, regardless of whether I’m a nuclear physicist or starving artist. So to answer my mother, father, grandparents, teachers, coaches, and random family friends I run into at the supermarket, I paraphrase John Lennon: when I grow up, I want to be happy.”
– Lana Gorlinski, “In Defense of the Uncertain”
3. Remember that the “best college in America” doesn’t exist.
“Forbes doesn’t know the best college for you. Google doesn’t know. U.S. News & World Report (is that even a real thing?) doesn’t know. When you come across articles with titles like this one, remember that you’re a person, and that I’m a different person, and that the answer lies only with you. And, yes, I do realize that that makes the process hard, and complicated, and maybe even annoying. But it also makes it interesting.”
– Danny Licht, “What Is the Best College in America?”
4. Get to know at least one teacher beyond the classroom.
“Towards the end of junior year you will have to consider which teacher is going to write your recommendation. This rec is not to be taken lightly. If someone is going to speak on your behalf, make sure that they are going to fight for you to the death. ‘Hardworking’ and ‘good input’ is not going to make you stand out from 20,000 other applicants. Schedule a lunch to discuss what is important to you outside of the classroom so that the teacher can speak holistically. It is OK to be direct about what you want colleges to learn.”
– Riley Griffin, “10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Senior Year Of High School”
5. Take college admissions counselors’ advice, but don’t treat it as law.
“College admissions counselors as well as seasoned application veterans of the previous year impart with us the simple, yet worn-out advice: Just be yourself. And be honest, but don’t be too honest. ‘Write about your interests,’ they say. ‘Write about the programs you’ve attended,’ they say. But it’s not that simple. It’s never that simple […] Here’s what we can do: Write our hearts out and hope for the best.”
– Theodore Li, “Oh! Just be Yourself”
6. You may not get graded for the creative thing you love, but you should still do it.
“Students obsess over grades. For what? For success? In the end, it is not this modern ‘education’ that will get you success — because anyone can memorize more than you and beat you. Instead you need something to set yourself apart from this crowd. The ability to memorize won’t help you in real world workforce. The ability to think for yourself, and to create your own ideas and visions, will.”
– Andrea Vale, “Easy A”
7. Make an effort to get to know your parents. (Yes, really.)
“I’ve never been particularly close with my parents and while I know they work hard and care a lot, I’ve spent my entire high school years wishing I could just be away from them, free to be myself, unrestricted, the way I want myself to be … When you are away from your parents for the first time, you will discover exactly what and how much they have done for you, no matter what you think about them now.”
– Karielle Stephanie Gam, “The Things You Discover When You Are Away from Your Parents for the First Time”
8. Even in the thick of college application season, make time to see your friends.
“Being with my family is great, but I need time away from them too. That’s where my friends come in. At times during the college app process, we’ve all been so busy that we haven’t been able to hang out. But now we have more time, so we’ve been catching up. Usually we go to the movies, or go bowling, or go out to eat (or sometimes all three!).”
– Alberto Rangel, “The Wait”
9. Not everything will happen “according to plan.”
“You love planning each step, but keep an open heart and think over all of your options. Sometimes things won’t work out. You will be disappointed. Being bitter or regretful is a waste of energy. Snuggle in bed and drink some tea, then go to sleep. Tomorrow, believe everything is possible again.”
– Katy Ma, “17 Things I Want Myself to Remember Senior Year”
10. The best way to tackle huge, intimidating projects is to start with baby steps.
“‘Argh!’ I say when I read one of University of Chicago’s supplement essay prompts. ‘Argh!’ I say again when I see the number of words I have written so far: zero. ‘It will all be worth it,’ I remind myself, closing my eyes and imagining myself as one of those happy, smiling, frighteningly perfect people in the college brochures. ‘It will,’ I promise myself, reluctantly opening my eyes and starting to type. I smile when I look at the new word count: two.”
– Emily Truong, “Mission: Sanity”
11. Whenever you can, start early.
“I want to keep calm and carry on. I want to rock it. It is going to be a lot of work, but it’s nothing I can’t handle, because I’ve been preparing for this since the day I entered high school. As Malcolm X once said, ‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.’ Now he knows what he’s talking about.”
– Anangie Martinez, “Keep Calm and Apply On”
12. Don’t let your relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend control your life.
“You have to turn your world upside down (unless you’re chill with it as it is. I don’t know your life). You have to seek out adventure and make your own opportunities. Yes, sometimes good things can and will just happen to you. But, you can’t just expect things to happen. You have to make things happen. This all goes back to the truth that we so often forget: You don’t need someone else to complete you.”
– Alexis Jane Torre, “Where Your Story Starts”
13. Create your own definition of “success.”
“Students need to realize that it’s okay not to take an advanced class and instead, enroll in one you truly passionate about. It’s okay to do something because you truly love it and want to go into the field you’re interested in. It’s okay to go to community college; it’s cheaper than a UC, has smaller class sizes, and has a two-year UC transfer program! We need to remember that the meaning of success does not lie in how many points you can accumulate or the prestige of the school stamped on your diploma, but what you actually do with the knowledge you attain.”
– Reema Kakaday, “‘Success’ Renders Education Meaningless”
14. Focus on learning, not memorizing.
“I find myself more caught up in getting and maintaining good grades than wanting to learn the subjects I was getting them for. I still have the same interest in going to school, but the need to keep good grades dominates over everything. But with the future weighing down on us, we don’t necessarily have to give in to these pressures. Whether this is going to be your first year of high school or your last year, there’s still time to make a change and open your eyes to knowledge around you.”
– Vanessa Petion, “Making the Grade”
15. Take a deep breath.
“Step back. Relax. Forget it all, even just for an instant — forget the workload, the exams, the intensive four-year high school plan from your counselor, the classes you’re planning to take next semester. Join a club, go outside, take a nap. Take a break. Call a ceasefire in a war that won’t be won by surrendering to pressure… but by taking the reins of your own life into your own hands.”
– Madelyn Chen, “The Pressure of Pressure”