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Biggest Colleges in the U.S.

Find the best universities with ample resources and top faculty. We’ve got a list of great universities to choose from, offering a dizzying array of academic choices and extracurricular activities.

List of the Biggest Colleges in the U.S.

Studying at a big college comes with many perks. Not only are there more academic programs to choose from, large universities come with more alumni, which means more funding to afford top faculty and offer more resources for students. Even though bigger institutions means more students, it also presents the opportunity for individuals to really create sub-communities catering to specific interests, talents, and personalities! Check out our list of the biggest colleges and narrow them down to find your perfect one.

Rank School Name City State Net Cost School Level Retention Rate Details
1

University of Phoenix-Online Campus

Phoenix

AZ

N/A

4 year

34.68%

# of Students 374,006

2

Ivy Tech Community College

Indianapolis

IN

$8,532

2 year

48.98%

# of Students 180,464

3

American Public University System

Charles Town

WV

N/A

4 year

83.86%

# of Students 116,779

4

Liberty University

Lynchburg

VA

N/A

4 year

68.51%

# of Students 105,665

5

Miami Dade College

Miami

FL

$14,535

4 year

N/A

# of Students 99,253

6

Lone Star College System

The Woodlands

TX

$6,096

2 year

61.83%

# of Students 98,146

7

Houston Community College

Houston

TX

$8,865

2 year

61.1%

# of Students 88,564

8

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix

AZ

N/A

4 year

58.78%

# of Students 80,549

9

Northern Virginia Community College

Annandale

VA

$9,173

2 year

69.52%

# of Students 78,413

10

Walden University

Minneapolis

MN

N/A

4 year

N/A

# of Students 78,183

11

Tarrant County College District

Fort Worth

TX

$6,176

2 year

56.14%

# of Students 76,439

12

Kaplan University-Davenport Campus

Davenport

IA

N/A

4 year

40%

# of Students 74,365

13

University of Central Florida

Orlando

FL

$15,033

4 year

87.11%

# of Students 70,248

14

Austin Community College District

Austin

TX

$8,624

2 year

55.52%

# of Students 69,534

15

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Minneapolis

MN

$15,531

4 year

90.22%

# of Students 64,202

16

University of Maryland-University College

Adelphi

MD

$9,489

4 year

35.67%

# of Students 63,595

17

Florida International University

Miami

FL

$12,122

4 year

83.54%

# of Students 62,837

18

Ohio State University-Main Campus

Columbus

OH

$17,406

4 year

92.45%

# of Students 62,681

19

Broward College

Fort Lauderdale

FL

$8,174

4 year

N/A

# of Students 61,784

20

Valencia College

Orlando

FL

$6,063

4 year

N/A

# of Students 59,989

21

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City

UT

N/A

4 year

75%

# of Students 58,087

22

University of Florida

Gainesville

FL

$15,157

4 year

96.46%

# of Students 56,642

23

Texas A & M University-College Station

College Station

TX

$11,323

4 year

91.43%

# of Students 56,476

24

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin

TX

$15,336

4 year

93.63%

# of Students 56,344

25

Capella University

Minneapolis

MN

N/A

4 year

N/A

# of Students 55,274


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Studying at a Large University

Studying at a large university comes with many pros and cons. Consider the following if you’re still trying to decide whether attending a big college is the right path for you…

  • Class Size: It goes without saying that larger universities have more students than smaller colleges. This presents the opportunity for students to network with more people who come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. However, it also requires students to be accustomed to attending lectures with hundreds of students in a classroom. Because lectures are so big and generally do not allow for students to ask questions and engage, many big institutions also have discussion sessions to go with lectures where classes are essentially broken down into smaller groups to encourage student participation.
  • Faculty: Teachers and staff are often experts in their fields at big universities. However, with class sizes being overwhelmingly big, it may be a challenge for students to have a more one-on-one learning experience with their professors unless they set aside time outside of class to ask questions.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Big colleges offer a vast variety of activities to choose from, whether it be sports, Greek life, academic societies, etc. With a larger student body involved in each activity, it can be more difficult to break into each activity than at a smaller college.
  • Courses: If you’re looking to explore your options and dabble in multiple academic programs, a large university may be right for you. Big colleges offer more curriculum than you could imagine, and you’ll definitely have the opportunity to try out a variety of majors, minors, and concentrations. This expansive learning environment allows students to really explore their interests and abilities before determining which field(s) is best for them.
  • Social Life: For those who socialize best in big groups or crowds and enjoy meeting new people all the time, attending a large university will allow just that. There are also more academic groups to join to connect with other students studying the same things or sharing the same interests.

Tips for Succeeding at the Biggest Colleges

With very little hand-holding from professors and faculty, it can be really easy to get lost in a swarm of students at the biggest colleges, so it’s important to plan ahead for your success if you plan to study at one. Here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Don’t procrastinate.
    • While it might be the natural state of most college students, procrastination often causes unnecessary stress, especially if things don’t go as planned at the very last minute. Getting started on assignments early gives students the time to ask peers or their professors questions before turning it in if needed, for example. Finishing an assignment early allows for reviewing and fine-tuning if desired, and the ease of mind that it’s done!
  • Eat well, and be well.
    • It’s easy to get caught up and stressed over piles of reading and other assignments. We get it. However, without good health, there will be no good grades! Believe it or not, your overall well-being directly affects how you perform as a student, whether it be in the classroom, library, or your own room. Ditch the instant noodles and soda, and try a quinoa bowl, some fruits, and green juice instead.
    • In addition to eating well, being well is crucial, too. This means setting aside at least 30 minutes a day for physical activity, whether it be going out for a walk, lifting weights at the gym, or doing yoga in your living room. Working out helps to relax muscles that may tense up during study sessions, too.
  • Network.
    • You may have heard the saying, “It’s not always about what you know, but rather, who you know.” A big perk of studying at a large university is the vast number of individuals in the same boat — attending the same college, studying the same field, interested in similar things, etc. With this advantage, it is important for students to put in time and effort into networking with other students. The benefits of networking will not only bring you a long way during your college years, but in the years to come, for potentially the rest of your life and career, too!
  • Ask questions.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions early on if you’re not understanding a concept, or are curious about how something works that isn’t explained in the textbook or lectures. If you never ask, you’ll never know! Larger universities offer a multitude of learning resources, and it is ultimately up to the student to take full advantage of it.
  • Participate in class whenever possible.
    • Participation not only gets teachers to know and remember you, it’s also a great way to get feedback on what you know and where you can improve. It is essentially a form of active learning, and can take the form of engaging on a topic of discussion in a study group, or answering a question that a professor asks in class, for example.