What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

10 Best Colleges in Iowa

What’s Covered:


Iowa, also known as the hawkeye state, is a small farm-state bordered by the Missouri River and Mississippi River. While Iowa is home to around 92% farmland, it also has amazing nature parks to walk through and explore leading to a very slow and peaceful lifestyle. This relaxed atmosphere is perfect for education, as Iowa has a wide selection of different colleges and schools to choose from. 


Our Ranking Methodology


Below is a list of the 10 best colleges in Iowa. The list was constructed with a focus on school quality, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI), along with considering 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 here


Best Colleges in Wisconsin


1. Grinnell College


Location: Grinnell, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 24% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1370-1530

Middle 50% ACT: 30-34

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,493


Grinnell College is a private institution that was founded in 1846, located halfway between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Despite being a small school, it has a lot to offer to it students. Grinnell’s 100-plus student organizations appeal to a variety of interests and makes up for its lack of Greek life with an array of cultural activities and concerts occurring weekly on campus. The school is also known for its strong social activism, ranking top among schools of its size in sending volunteers to the Peace Corps.


Learn more about the Grinnell College and what it takes to get accepted.


2. Drake University


Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 68% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1140-1360

Middle 50% ACT: 24-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,954


Drake University is a private institution that was founded in 1881. Located in Des Moines, Iowa, the university offers a wide range of student activities for its students. Among the more than 150 student organizations available to students, some prominent ones are: Colleges Against Cancer, campus newspaper, and a number of club and intramural sports teams (including badminton, racquetball and tennis). A sizeable Greek community also exists, comprised of about a dozen fraternities and sororities. Drake provides housing in its eight residence halls, and the majority of students live on campus. As for education, the university ranks as #136 of all National Universities in the country. 


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


3. Luther College


Location: Decorah, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 63% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1050-1310

Middle 50% ACT: 23-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,802


Located in the vibrant town of Decorah in northeastern Iowa, Luther College is an undergraduate liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran Church (ELCA). It offers a diverse group of students, staff, and faculty, who hail from many faith backgrounds and heritages. The college strives to be affordable to all students by offering scholarships, need-based financial aid, work study, and loan programs. Luther College offers more than 60 areas of learning, with 95% of its faculty holding the most advanced degree offered in their field. A student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1 gives students an exceptional classroom experience. Learning beyond the classroom is made possible through internships, externships, and opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research. Study-away experiences are another way that students learn beyond the classroom, with 90% of Luther students participating domestically or internationally.


Learn more about Luther College and what it takes to get accepted.


4. University of Iowa


Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 83% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1120-1330

Middle 50% ACT: 23-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 22,304


University of Iowa is a public institution that was founded in 1847, offering top-notch academic programming in more than 100 subject areas. This ranks University of Iowa as the #83 National University in the country. Aside from academics, students have more than 500 clubs and organizations to choose from, and close to 10% of students participate in Greek life with over 50 fraternities and sororities available at the school. Sports are another big focus of campus life with the Iowa Hawkeyes playing in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. Known as a top party school, students at the University of Iowa both work and play hard.


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


5. Iowa State University


Location: Ames, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 91% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1092-1334

Middle 50% ACT: 22-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 26,846


Iowa State University of Science and Technology is a public institution that was founded in 1858. There are more than 100 undergraduate majors offered at Iowa State, and, through the Soar in 4 initiative, advisers work with students to ensure they graduate in four years. This helps Iowa State stand out as the #122 National University in the country. When not studying, students can take a stroll through the roses in Reiman Gardens or check out more than 2,000 works of art around the campus—one of the largest collections at any school in the country. For those who wish to venture off campus for fun, the capital, Des Moines, is just 30 minutes away.


The large school also offers more than 850 student organizations, and sports are a big part of campus life. The Iowa State Cyclones compete in the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference and share a special rivalry with the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. 


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


6. Saint Ambrose University


Location: Davenport, Iowa  

Acceptance Rate: 63% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1020-1190

Middle 50% ACT: 20-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,305


Recognized as an institution with distinction throughout the Midwest, St. Ambrose University is a comprehensive university committed to academic excellence, social justice and service. With an emphasis on communication skills, intellectual inquiry, student-faculty engagement and professional preparation, St. Ambrose readies students for success and to become active contributors in creating a just society.


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


7. Cornell College


Location: Mt Vernon, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 61% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1080-1320

Middle 50% ACT: 23-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 997


Cornell College is liberal arts focused college embracing the students of today. Cornell College has a unique One Course At A Time academic program and schedule where students only focus on on subject where the faculty learns with you. Classes end at 3pm for all students, and students can use this time outside of the classroom to join Greek societies, intramural sports teams, and social groups that range from hobbies, religion, and entrepreneurship to health and wellness, social justice, and politics.


Learn more about Cornell College and what it takes to get accepted.


8. University of Northern Iowa


Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 81% 

Middle 50% SAT: 980-1241

Middle 50% ACT: 21-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,304


As one of Iowa’s three public universities, University of Northern Iowa is known for its practical and enriching learning experiences that give students the career edge they need in fields like education and business. With over 90 degree programs and a community of supportive faculty, University of Northern Iowa allows you to chase your dreams. A vibrant campus community and endless opportunities to explore are just some of the many things to experience at UNI.


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


9. Central College


Location: Pella, Iowa 

Acceptance Rate: 70% 

Middle 50% SAT: 915-1175

Middle 50% ACT: 20-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,120


Central College in Pella, Iowa, is a private, four-year liberal arts college, known for its academic rigor. Central College creates genuine connections among students, faculty, coaches and alumni that help graduates realize their career aspirations for a lifetime. Central College is dedicated to cultivating diversity of thought and culture through the arts and sciences, professional fields of study and experiential learning. The Central experience is rooted in exploration and self-discovery and enhanced by life in a residential community of 1,120 students with diverse perspectives. Founded in 1853, Central values its long-standing relationship with the Reformed Church in America. The college participates in NCAA Division III athletics and is a member of the American Rivers Conference.


Learn more about Central College and what it takes to get accepted.


10. Coe College


Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 67% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1078-1300

Middle 50% ACT: 22-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,393


Founded in 1851, Coe College is a nationally recognized four-year private college with professionals at the highest standards of their fields, offering a challenging yet rewarding education. Outside of learning, you will become part of a nurturing and lively campus environment. Cedar Rapids has arts, museums, parks, trails, semi-professional sports and festivals—all the amenities of a larger city.


Learn more about Coe College and what it takes to get accepted.


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Wondering what your odds are of admission at one of these great Iowa schools? CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing engine uses quantitative data like grades and standardized test scores along with qualitative factors like extracurricular activities, awards, and achievements to predict your odds of acceptance at hundreds of schools all across the country.


Our chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list of colleges inside and outside of the Hawkeye State. 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
Angelica is 2020 grad of the University of Minnesota with a degree in quantitative economics. She is a Founder and CEO of a strategic business consulting firm that helps startups, small enterprise and entrepreneurs with their goals. In her free time, she likes to read and travel.