9 Most Popular Colleges in Pennsylvania

As one of America’s most populous states, Pennsylvania has plenty to offer in the way of postsecondary education. The Quaker State features a range of excellent schools, from vocational schools to elite private liberal arts colleges to massive public universities.

Finding schools to apply to in Pennsylvania can be daunting, due to the sheer number of options. But with this detailed list of the most popular colleges in Pennsylvania, you can get started on the right foot.

9. West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 13,219

Tuition: $6,676 (in-state); $14,532 (out-of-state)

Best Programs: Health science and nursing are popular choices at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, but the school also offers a unique program in Pharmaceutical Product Development.

Fun Fact: Because WCUPA is just about 25 miles outside of Philadelphia, students get the benefits of a small campus with access to city life.

8. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 14,018

Tuition: $6,695 (in-state); $14,550 (out-of-state)

Best Programs: Indiana University of Pennsylvania prides itself on its balance between academic fields, like philosophy and anthropology, and vocational fields, like safety sciences and hospitality management.

Fun Fact: IUP offers many opportunities for experiential learning, including study abroad and internship programs.

7. Community College of Philadelphia

Type: Community College

Enrollment: 17,334

Tuition: $7,380 (in-state); $10,830 (out-of-state)

Best Programs: As an urban community college, Community College of Pennsylvania focuses on professional degrees and certificates, in fields like construction management and medical assisting.

Fun Fact: More than half of CCP students choose to transfer to a four-year college.

6. Community College of Allegheny County

Type: Community College

Enrollment: 18,525

Tuition: $4,961 (in-state); $7,335 (out-of-state)

Best Programs: Because many graduates live and work locally, Community College of Allegheny County provides excellent two-year training programs in growing fields like health science and technology.

Fun Fact: In total, CCAC offers more than 170 programs, including online courses.

5. Drexel University

Type: Private University

Enrollment: 20,682

Tuition: $29,065

Best Programs: The College of Medicine and Earle Mack School of Law are the school’s most prestigious academic divisions, offering excellent graduate programs.

Fun Fact: Drexel University’s co-op program enables students to add valuable practical experience to what they learn in the classroom.

4. University of Pennsylvania

Type: Private University

Enrollment: 23,980

Tuition: $35,916

Best Program: Finance is a popular undergraduate major at University of Pennsylvania, but the school offers outstanding academics across the board.

Fun Fact: An Ivy League university, Penn’s historic academic tradition dates all the way back to 1740.

3. University of Pittsburgh

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 27,020

Tuition: $12,876 (in-state); $22,386 (out-of-state)

Best Program: The School of Medicine at Pitt is very well regarded, particularly for its extensive research opportunities.

Fun Fact: With its campus just three miles from downtown, the University of Pittsburgh is a great choice for the city-oriented student.

2. Temple University

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 34,696

Tuition: $10,802 (in-state); $19,320 (out-of-state)

Best Program: About 25 percent of Temple University undergrads opt for the vocational route, majoring in management, marketing and other business subjects.

Fun Fact: Despite its size, Temple University features an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1.

1. Pennsylvania State University

Type: Public University

Enrollment: 43,252

Tuition: $12,844 (in-state); $23,712 (out-of-state)

Best Program: Most Penn State students choose more pragmatic majors, such as engineering, business and information technology.

Fun Fact: Penn State is traditionally very strong in athletics. Every Saturday, students pile into Beaver Stadium to cheer on the Nittany Lions.

Quick Tips

  • Going to school in a large city like Pittsburgh or Philadelphia appeals to many students, but bear in mind that the cost of attendance will be higher than in smaller towns.
  • Make sure to check the admissions policy for the school you’re interested in. Some use rolling admissions, which benefits early applicants.
  • While these are the most popular Pennsylvania colleges by enrollment, make sure to explore some of the state’s smaller schools, such as Swarthmore College and Point Park University.
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