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Top Colorado Colleges

Top Colorado Colleges

If you want to go to a great college with ready access to world-class skiing, climbing, hiking, fishing, kayaking and other outdoor activities, Colorado is worth a close look. My top picks for the state range in size from 1,400 students to over 30,000, and the admissions standards vary greatly. The list includes public and private institutions, a Catholic university, a career-focused school, and a military academy. My criteria for selecting Colorado's top colleges include retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, value, student engagement, and notable curricular strengths. I have listed the schools alphabetically rather than forcing them into any kind of artificial ranking; these eight schools vary so much in mission and personality that any distinctions in rank would be dubious at best.

Compare Colorado Colleges: SAT Scores | ACT Scores

Will You Get In? See if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into any of the top Colorado colleges with this free tool from Cappex: Calculate Your Chances for Top Colorado Colleges

Air Force Academy (USAFA)

United States Air Force Academy. PhotoBobil / Flickr
  • Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 4,237 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: military academy
  • Distinctions: highly selective admissions; 8 to 1 student / faculty ratio; free, high quality education; five-year active service requirement after graduation; applicants need to be nominated by a member of Congress; member of the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Air Force Academy profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for USAFA admissions

Colorado College

Colorado College Science Center. Greverod / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 2,114 (2,101 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio; highly ranked liberal arts college; unusual one-class-at-a-time schedule with three-and-a-half week semesters
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Colorado College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Colorado College admissions

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines. rkimpeljr / Flickr
  • Location: Golden, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 6,069 (4,610 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public engineering school
  • Distinctions: 16 to 1 student / faculty ratio; strong focus on the earth's resources -- minerals, materials, and energy; some of the country's highest starting salaries for graduates; Division II athletics
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Colorado School of Mines profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Mines admissions

Colorado State University - Fort Collins

Colorado State University. ecopolitologist / Flickr
  • Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 31,856 (25,177 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; 18 to 1 student / faculty ratio; Honors Program to challenge high-achieving students; students from all 50 states and 85 countries; member of the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Colorado State University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for CSU admissions

Johnson & Wales University-Denver

Johnson & Wales University in Denver. Jeffrey Beall / Flickr
  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 1,278 (1,258 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: specialized career-centered university
  • Distinctions: schools of business, hospitality and culinary arts; students from 49 states and 9 countries; strong emphasis on real-life experiences and hands-on learning; classes in a student's major begin the first year; good choice for students with clear career goals
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Johnson & Wales University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for JWU admissions

Regis University

Regis University. Jeffrey Beall / Flickr
  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 8,368 (4,070 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic university
  • Distinctions: 14 to 1 student / faculty ratio; strong institutional emphasis on community service; popular programs in business and nursing; NCAA Division II athletic programs
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Regis University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Regis admissions

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Colorado at Boulder. Aidan M. Gray / Flickr
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 33,977 (27,901 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; membership in the American Association of Universities for strong research programs; member of the NCAA Division I Pac 12 Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the University of Colorado profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for CU admissions

University of Denver (DU)

DU, University of Denver. CW221 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Enrollment: 11,614 (5,754 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; strong pre-professional programs; popular business programs; member of the NCAA Division I Summit League
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the University of Denver profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for DU admissions

Calculate Your Chances

Calculate Your Chances of Being Admitted.

Se e if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into one of these top Colorado schools with this free tool from Cappex: Calculate Your Chances of Getting In 

20 Top Mountain State Colleges and Universities

The Mountain States.

If you love the mountains and outdoor opportunities of Colorado, be sure to check out these 20 top Mountain State colleges and universities.

More Top Colleges and Universities

Cornell University Sage Hall. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

If you want to see top picks across the United States, check out these articles of great schools:

Private Universities | Public Universities | Liberal Arts Colleges | Engineering | Business | Women's | Most Selective | More Top Picks