25 Colleges With The Best Professors

Professors play an integral role in the students’ personal and professional development. They are influential figures that students look up to for the duration of their academic life and sometimes, even beyond. Colleges in the Unites States give a great deal of importance to the quality and credentials of their faculty. However, some colleges end up ignoring certain other factors that affect the actual positive impact the professors have on the students. These include access to professors, the extent to which schools promote teamwork between students and professors and whether the students actually have positive views of the faculty.

The following list of 25 colleges incorporates the effects of academic reputation, student-faculty ratio, and composite faculty rank and faculty rank range on a college’s faculty ranking.

Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Amherst College is one of the oldest colleges in Massachusetts and is ranked among the top liberal arts schools in the US. It is known for its rich curriculum, which allows seniors to take freshmen year courses and freshmen to take advance level courses, as they deem fit. With a small student body, a low student to teacher ratio and great emphasis on trust in students, Amherst College has created an educational environment that is truly one of a kind. Even Harvard and Columbia are known to have consulted Amherst when reviewing their teaching programs.

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA

A well-renowned name in the world of liberal arts education, Swarthmore College is considered one of the top private schools in the US. 90% of its graduates end up attending either graduate or professional schools. The school believes in paying close attention to each student and providing them with an education that they understand and implement as well. Swarthmore College is small with just over 1,500 students. The student to faculty ratio is also pretty good at 8:1.

United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

Even though the admission process of this school is very different from the others, requiring direct application from the school and nomination from a state’s senator, admitted students are offered the finest quality education. Most graduates get commissioned as second lieutenants in the US Army, though they can choose to be commissioned in other branches of the military as well. The teaching at this school is also relatively different, with daily homework assignments and a focus on rigid physical routine for all students. The curriculum is also highly structured. Students are taught math, physics, chemistry, information technology, history, engineering, philosophy, general psychology and other such subjects. A little over 4,500 cadets attend this school and the student to faculty ratio is 7:1.

Bryn Mawr College, Lower Merion Township, PA

A small, women’s liberal arts college, Bryn Mawr places great emphasis on the quality of its education and instruction. It is known for its small class size, with more than 75% of the classes having less than 20 students. It has a small student body of over 1,300 undergraduate students, which ensures focused attention on each student. The institute has been a forerunner in many academic regards, being the first higher education institute to award doctorates in social work and post-graduate degrees to women in the US.

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

The oldest university in the United States, has 7,200 undergraduates (a student body larger than a lot of colleges on this list), however, the quality of instruction here remains impeccable. Harvard boasts the most award winning faculty in the world, and students from all over the world come to benefit from them. Even though it has a large student body, the student-teacher ratio is still at a low 7:1.

Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Considered a top rank university by many standards, Stanford offers a large number of research opportunities for undergraduates and graduates, both. The world class faculty here includes a large number of Nobel Laureates and individuals who hold top honors in their respective fields. This world class faculty has a lot of driven and intelligent students to work with, thanks to the low admission rate at Stanford. The university also has more than 5,000 externally sponsored research projects of approximately $1.3 billion value.

Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA

A well-known liberal arts school, Washington and Lee is home to around 1,800 undergraduate students. The university focuses on the quality of instruction and employs some of the finest professors in the United States. The low student to faculty ratio of 8:1 ensures that every student gets the best set of opportunities available.  The university focuses greatly on the development of core values in its students through accomplished professors and superior teaching methods.

Williams College, Williamstown, MA

Williams College is at the top spot on the US News & World Report liberal arts colleges’ rankings and the overall number one college as per Forbes’ ranking. Things work differently at Williams College as compared to other universities. The 2,000 students here do not have any required courses but are supposed to take at least three arts and humanities courses, social-science and science and math related classes each. The university also offers tutorials, similar to those conducted at Cambridge and Oxford. 

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Princeton University is ranked as the 4th best university by Forbes. It offers a vast number of resources and facilities to its students, with a 10-library system and a University Art Museum (with more than 80,000 works). The university is home to more than 5,000 undergraduates and the student-teacher ratio is at a low 6:1. Princeton has a unique requirement wherein every student must write a senior thesis. This helps create a greater interactive atmosphere where students and experts in various specialties come in contact and share their knowledge. The university is a leader in research in various fields.

Pomona College, Claremont, CA

Pomona College is the fifth ranked liberal arts college in the United States according to the US News & World Report. It offers a great variety of classes to its students in a number of disciplines through Claremont Colleges, a consortium of similar schools. Around 80% of the students benefit from these classes and diversify their knowledge base. The classes at Pomona are relatively smaller with approximately 16 students each. In addition, the faculty at Pomona is easily accessible to students, with more than 85% of professors living within 5 miles of campus.

Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Wellesley is one of the Seven Sisters consortium colleges on this list.  The college is big on promoting women education and it ensures women-specific innovative measures through Wellesley Centers for Women. It has a world-class faculty to ensure students get the best possible instruction. In addition, the college also offers numerous other activities and initiatives for students to make use of and excel in their respective fields.

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Also one of the Seven Sisters schools on our list is the Vassar College in New York. It was one of the first colleges of its type to open its doors to men. Vassar’s recent male to female ratio is 43:57. The curriculum here is known for its flexibility and interdisciplinary studies are highly encouraged. The average class size at Vassar is 17 and the student to faculty ratio is at a low 8:1. All the professors and faculty members at the university hold terminal degrees in their respective fields. The college has eight libraries, which if combined, could be one of the largest libraries in the US.

Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Emory is currently ranked at twenty-one on the list for national research universities, by the US News & World Report. Currently, Emory University has more than 7,600 undergraduate students and more than 3,000 faculty members. The student to faculty ratio here is also pretty low - 8:1. The faculty members are highly accomplished and distinguished in their respective fields. Professors here have won various awards and accolades, including the prestigious Nobel Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship and Pulitzer Prize and so on.

Carleton College, Northfield, MN

As per the US News & World Report, Carleton College is ranked at number seven on the liberal arts colleges list. Its undergraduate programs are especially valued by students for their liberal arts focus. It is also a leader in the number of female graduates it sends to graduate level science programs. Carleton has a unique culture of teaching with many students interacting and collaborating across various disciplines. The class size at Carleton is pretty small and the student to teacher ratio is 9:1.

Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA

Harvey Mudd is one of the relatively smaller colleges, with less than 1,000 undergraduates. It, however, shares its resources with a broad community of colleges. The college’s main aim is to educate mathematicians, engineers and scientists, in a way that also exposes them to a variety of liberal arts courses and topics. This helps create scientists that are well aware of how their work and research affects various segments of the society and what measures they can take to make it more effective. Harvey Mudd is ranked as the number one undergraduate engineering college by the US News & World Report, thanks to its unique instruction methods and interactive activities that help expand the students’ horizons.

Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

Macalester College is a renowned liberal arts college, which has set itself apart through its unique academic values. The university has a diverse community, both in terms of students and the faculty. It has a high percentage of students that opt for study abroad programs.  Students at Macalester College are given plenty of individualized attention, thanks to the low 10:1 student-faculty ratio. In addition to that, the college is also a member of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities, facilitating it students to take classes at a number of institutions in the Twin Cities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

MIT is a well-known name in the world of higher education and is considered the nation’s premier scientific community. It has a very well-accomplished community of students as well as faculty members. Its faculty includes 78 Nobel Laureates, 41 MacArthur Fellows and 53 National Medal of Science winners. In addition to that, it has a student to faculty ratio of 8:1, which ensures plenty of individualized attention for each student. MIT is ranked at number 5 by Forbes and at number 7 on national universities list by the US News & World Report.

Davidson College, Davidson, NC

Ranked as the number one college in South by Forbes, Davidson is a college known for its communal environment, great for fostering intellectual drive. The admission process here is highly selective, resulting in small classes. This benefits the students due to increased student-teacher interactions and greater learning. The honor code at Davidson plays an important role in the academics and ensures that students place a great deal of importance on strong community building and academic integrity.

Smith College, Northampton, MA

Smith College, a proud member of the Seven Sisters consortium, is a well-known liberal arts college. Smith students have the option of taking classes at a number of colleges including UMass Amherst, Hampshire College and Mount Holyoke College.  The university offers highly innovative methods of learning to its students, such as a one-year study program at the Center for Women in Mathematics. In addition to its interactive learning methods, the university has a low student-faculty ratio of 9:1, which ensures an optimal amount of attention for every student.

Colby College, Waterville, ME

Colby College is considered one of the ‘Little Ivies’ and is the first liberal arts school in the US that admitted female students. It is ranked at number 15 by the US News & World Report, on its list for the nation’s best liberal arts schools. A large number of students at Colby College are given the opportunity to study abroad. The college also offers engineering degrees in conjunction with Columbia University or Dartmouth College. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for students to apply for research and funding to work on various research projects.

University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

University of Chicago is one of the top universities in the US, thanks to its accomplished faculty and a highly intelligent student body. The university has a mission to support open and thorough inquiry by students, facilitated by a large number of Nobel Laureates and top achievers in pretty much every field. Thanks to its close proximity to the top ranked medicine, business and law schools, the university manages to attract a large number of world renowned professors. The core classes at the university have no more than 17 students each. 

Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

Whitman College has been a frontrunner in the creation of an education system that is outstanding and caters to the needs of all Americans at the same time. It has a small undergraduate student body of around 1,500 students and a favorable 9:1 student to teacher ratio. The college offers a number of challenging programs to help build a strong educational base for its students. Students at Whitman College are given unique academic options such as completing courses at Columbia and Duke Universities. Since it is a relatively smaller college, it allows students to build close relations with their instructors and interact with them on various levels.

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

California Institute of Technology has the best student to faculty ratio in this list with one faculty member for three students. This ideal student to faculty ratio allows for a greater focus on every student and ensures better learning outcomes. In addition to upholding very high educational standards, CalTech’s admission standards are also very strict, which ensure that only a selected few get admitted. The university has achieved several awards for its educational excellence. CalTech has less than 1,000 undergraduate students and currently has one of the highest faculty citation rates in the world.

Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA

Also a part of the Claremont Colleges, the Claremont McKenna College offers a lot to its students in terms of a highly interactive mode of instruction and interactions with the faculty. The college offers many graduate level research opportunities through its ten research institutions. Claremont McKenna also encourages the spirit of entrepreneurship in students, deriving knowledge from its faculty’s experiences in the community. The university has a low 9:1 student-faculty ratio, which ensures the provision of maximum attention to every student.

Kenyon College, Gambier, OH

Kenyon College is known for its top infrastructure and a close-knit vibrant community, specifically among liberal arts colleges in the US. The college has been ranked at number 30 for national liberal arts colleges by the US News & World Report. With its low 10:1 student to faculty ratio, the college ensures that every student gets the maximum amount of individualized attention. Kenyon College’s friendly community also makes way for a greater degree of overall learning.

Faculty plays an important part in creating an atmosphere that is truly beneficial to the students. Good professors are considered among the greatest assets a university can have. Therefore, before you apply to a college or university, make sure you are well aware of the faculty members it has and the overall modes of instruction it uses, to make the learning experience better and more interactive.

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