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Duke University
Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)
Timothy Peck
6 College Lists

10 Best Colleges in Alabama

What’s Covered:


There are a lot of reasons why college-bound students are attracted to Alabama—from the state’s notorious Southern hospitality and mouth-watering barbeque to historic towns like Huntsville (where the Saturn V rocket was built) and Monroeville (hometown of Harper Lee and the inspiration for Maycomb, the fictional town in her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird).


Another appeal of Alabama is its great colleges. Alabama is known for a wide range of schools, including highly rated public institutions like the University of Alabama and Auburn, renowned HBCUs such as Tuskegee University, and everything in between.


Our Ranking Methodology


Our list of the 10 best colleges in Alabama was constructed with a focus on school quality, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI). It also considers a host of other factors such as retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earnings, and cost of attendance. You can find CollegeVine’s rankings in their entirety if you are curious about how schools outside of Alabama stack up.


10 Best Colleges in Alabama

1. University of Alabama | UA


Location: Tuscaloosa, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 80%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1070-1330

Middle 50% ACT: 23-31

Undergrad Enrollment: 31,670


As one of the best colleges in the state, UA has a lot to brag about. The school is home to 940 National Merit Scholars and has been a top producer of Fulbright Scholars for five of the past six years (six University of Alabama students were awarded Fulbright Awards for 2021-2022).


Overshadowing UA’s academics is its football team, which has won 16 National Championships (five since 2010). Niche ranks the University of Alabama as the second-best athletic program in the nation. Along with it’s amazing athletics, UA also has a really strong Greek life presence (as anyone on bama rush TikTok might know) and great bars and nightlife in Tuscaloosa, earning it the title of the top party school in the country.


Learn more about the University of Alabama and what it takes to get accepted.


2. Auburn University


Location: Auburn, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 71%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1180-1330

Middle 50% ACT: 24-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 24,931


Auburn University has had four different names since opening its doors in 1859: East Alabama Male College, Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and finally Auburn University in 1960. Auburn is known for its healthy rivalry with the University of Alabama. The two schools square off annually on the football field in a game dubbed the “the Iron Bowl,” which is considered by many as college football’s best rivalry. The two teams have played each other 85 times; unfortunately for Auburn, Alabama has got the better of them, leading the series 47 to 37 with 1 tie. 


Learn more about Auburn University and what it takes to get accepted.


3. Samford University


Location: Birmingham, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 84%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1060-1230

Middle 50% ACT: 23-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,576


Samford University is a private Christian college founded by Baptists in 1841, making it the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. Today, the college remains grounded in the Baptist tradition—Samford University is one of the most conservative colleges in the country. Samford has produced a number of notable alumni, including two Supreme Court justices, 60 members of Congress, and eight state governors. 


Learn more about Samford University and what it takes to get accepted.


4. Birmingham–Southern College | BSC


Location: Birmingham, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 54%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1110-1310

Middle 50% ACT: 22-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,283


Founded in 1856, Birmingham-Southern College is a private liberal arts college that’s affiliated with the Methodist Church. The college offers 29 majors ranging from accounting to urban environmental studies. BSC is notable for its 4-1-4 academic calendar, which features two semesters of four units each along with one Exploration Term (or E-term) course. E-Term provides students with a hands-on learning experience—either on- or off-campus—and students are required to complete at least two E-terms to graduate.   


Learn more about Birmingham–Southern College and what it takes to get accepted.


5. University of Alabama at Birmingham | UAB


Location: Birmingham, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 80%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1093-1310

Middle 50% ACT: 22-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 13,878


The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public research university with roots as a medical college—its lineage begins with the 1859 founding of the Medical College of Alabama. Today, UAB is the only accredited school of public health in Alabama, and UAB academics are becoming increasingly more prestigious. In 2020, eight UAB students and alumni were selected to receive Fulbright awards. In 2023, UAB will roll out its new core curriculum (“Blaze Core”), which is designed to develop students into innovative, capable, global citizens prepared to blaze new trails and change the world.


Learn more about the University of Alabama at Birmingham and what it takes to get accepted.


6. University of Alabama in Huntsville | UAH


Location: Huntsville, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 77%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1170-1403

Middle 50% ACT: 24-31

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,027


Research takes center stage at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The school is home to 17 high-tech research centers and labs responsible for nearly $131.6 million in annual research expenditures. The school is also part of the Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the nation. Hands-on experience and access to employers pay off for UAH graduates—the college ranks 124th for in-state students and 161st for out-of-state students (out of 1,978 schools) on Payscale’s list of best value colleges.


Learn more about the University of Alabama in Huntsville and what it takes to get accepted.


7. University of Montevallo


Location: Montevallo, AL

Acceptance Rate: 53%  

Middle 50% SAT: 1030-1240

Middle 50% ACT: 20-25

Undergrad Enrollment: ~2,600


In addition to being one of the best colleges in Alabama, the University of Montevallo is also the state’s only public liberal arts college and one of just 27 in the nation. The University of Montevallo began as an all-girls school in 1896 and didn’t accept men until 1956. Today, the school is coeducational, although women remain the majority—more than 70% of the student body is female.


The University of Montevallo gained some notoriety in 2014 when The Atlantic labeled them one of the colleges that’s the biggest waste of money in the U.S. The university still ranks poorly on Payscale’s ranking of best value colleges, placing 1,888 for in-state students and 1,931 for out-of-state students (out of 1,978 schools). 


Learn more about the University of Montevallo and what it takes to get accepted.


8. University of South Alabama | South


Location: Mobile, AL

Acceptance Rate: 73%   

Middle 50% SAT: 980-1180

Middle 50% ACT: 20-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,048


The University of South Alabama offers more than 100 academic programs through its ten colleges and schools:


  • Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Mitchell College of Business
  • College of Education and Professional Studies
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Medicine
  • College of Nursing
  • School of Computing
  • Honors College
  • Graduate School


The university boasts of its high academic standards and research opportunities. Roughly 75% of courses are taught by full-time faculty, an impressive rate for a research-intensive institution. The university’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program supports students with a $2,000 stipend while they participate in scholarly research projects or creative activities overseen by faculty mentors.  


Learn more about the University of South Alabama and what it takes to get accepted.


9. University of Mobile


Location: Mobile, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 46%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1010-1160

Middle 50% ACT: 20-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,106


The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered private college affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention. The school believes in higher education for a higher purpose and offers more than 75 academic programs with a low 13:1 student to faculty ratio. LGBTQ youth will want to note that the college makes Campus Pride’s Worst List, a collection of the most intolerable and unsafe campuses for LGBTQ youth in the country. 


Learn more about the University of Mobile and what it takes to get accepted.


10. Tuskegee University


Location: Tuskegee, AL   

Acceptance Rate: 52%   

Middle 50% SAT: 880-1100

Middle 50% ACT: 18-23

Undergrad Enrollment: : 2,280


Tuskegee University has the distinction of being one of the best colleges in Alabama and one of the most prestigious historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the nation. Tuskegee is seemingly intertwined with the nation’s history—its founder and first president was the noted educator and reformer Booker T. Washington; it’s home to the Tuskegee airmen; and it was the alma mater of the first African-American winner of the National Book Award, Ralph Ellison.


The college continues to play an important role in the Black community today, as it is the largest producer of African Americans with undergraduate STEM degrees in Alabama and the nation’s leading producer of African-American graduates in chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering.


Learn more about Tuskegee University and what it takes to get accepted.


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Wondering what your odds are of admission at one of the best colleges in Alabama? CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing engine considers a variety of factors including grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities to predict your chances of acceptance at hundreds of schools in Alabama and across the country.


Our chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list of colleges inside and outside of Alabama. By providing your odds of acceptance, you can strategically assign safety, target, and reach schools and put yourself in the best position to get into a college that fits your needs and meets your expectations. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.