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10 Biggest Colleges in the U.S.

One of the biggest selling points for many colleges is the ability to offer students of diverse backgrounds a true sense of community–even those schools which are large enough to be considered towns in their own right! Maintaining a population of 15,000 students or more annually, the biggest colleges in the U.S. provide undergrads with a unique experience both academically and socially. So, is a big school right for you? Keep reading to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of earning your degree at one of the biggest universities in the states.


Pros and Cons of Attending a Big College


The biggest colleges in the U.S. can attract tens of thousands of students each year, and there’s a good reason for their popularity. Thanks to their size and wealth of resources, large colleges tend to offer a wider selection of majors as well as more opportunities for state-of-the-art research with top faculty across disciplines. If you don’t know what you want to study, attending a larger school can be a great way to keep your options open later on down the line. 


Even if you are pretty confident about your future goals, large schools tend to provide more opportunities for honing your skills and developing your talents. For example, these institutions have more alumni, and leveraging this expansive network can open up more internship and job opportunities down the line. Additionally, big schools usually offer more options for study abroad. If you’re majoring in Italian, spending a summer perfecting your language skills in Rome can be a big plus.


Moreover, large schools are ideal for students who enjoy meeting new people and experiencing new things. From niche clubs and student organizations to intramural sports and volunteer opportunities, the extracurricular options at the biggest universities in the U.S. are virtually endless. And of course, you’ll have plenty of chances to make new friends along the way. 


Attending a big school can of course have its drawbacks. Students who are introverted or hesitant to speak out in class may find themselves getting lost in a larger school. If you enjoy having one-on-one attention from your instructors, the 500-person lectures common at larger schools may leave you feeling less than satisfied. That said, many larger colleges and universities offer opportunities to enroll in honors or other smaller special interest programs. These programs often enable students to connect with a smaller cohort of peers within their larger campus community using specialized coursework and residential options where applicable. 

10 Biggest Colleges in the U.S.


Boasting a wide array of academic concentrations, extracurriculars, and potential friends, big colleges come with a surplus of opportunities. If the idea of studying at one of the biggest colleges in the U.S. fills you with joy, you might want to consider the schools on this list:


1. University of Central Florida

Location: Orlando, FL
Undergraduate Enrollment: 58,913
U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #166
Acceptance Rate: 43%


One of the largest colleges in the U.S., the University of Central Florida is based in Orlando but includes regional campuses across the Sunshine State. UCF offers a plethora of majors and hundreds of concentrations, including uncommon offerings like Marine and Aquatic Biology and Golf Management. Additionally, many students participate in the school’s Greek system, which boasts more than 40 fraternities and sororities.


2. Texas A&M University—College Station

Location: College Station, TX

Undergraduate Enrollment: 53,743

U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #70

Acceptance Rate: 67%


Texas A&M boasts 133 undergraduate degree programs, placing a strong focus on research. As a result, it’s a popular choice among students with a passion for math and science. However, that doesn’t mean the school is all about academics. In fact, the Huffington Post named Texas A&M as the happiest college campus in the U.S.


3. Florida International University

Location: Miami, FL
Undergraduate Enrollment: 48,439
U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, 218
Acceptance Rate: 59%


Another Florida institution, Florida International University holds the distinction of being the only public research university in Miami. Students can select from multiple specialized schools within the university, including the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the School of Computing and Information Sciences’ Discovery Lab. Additionally, FIU offers plenty of extracurricular opportunities, ranging from honor societies to frats, athletics, and organizations like the Greek Culture Club and Table Tennis Club.


4. Ohio State University—Columbus

Location: Columbus, OH
Undergraduate Enrollment: 46,820
U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #54
Acceptance Rate: 52%


Along with its more than 150 majors, Ohio State offers a Personalized Study Program wherein students can design their own curricula. In their free time, undergraduates participate in more than 1,000 campus clubs and organizations. The student body is especially passionate about athletics, with options ranging from football and baseball to synchronized swimming and even Quidditch. 


5. Liberty University

Location: Lynchburg, VA
Undergraduate Enrollment: 45,935
U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #293-381
Acceptance Rate: 56%


A Christian college, Liberty offers a liberal arts education rooted in faith. The university, which consists of 17 separate schools and colleges, allows undergraduates to choose from a broad array of concentrations, including a unique and popular program in Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies. A Division I school, Liberty boasts 20 athletic teams and 40 club sports organizations, making it a great choice for athletes of all skill levels. 


6. Arizona State University—Tempe

Location: Tempe, AZ
Undergraduate Enrollment: 42,844
U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #117
Acceptance Rate: 85%


With four campuses throughout the state, Arizona State University is one of the biggest universities in the U.S. Students can select from more than 300 major programs and over 500 organizations and clubs, such as The Underground Foundation, which hosts regular music, art, and literature events. The school also earns high marks for its research efforts; US News and World Report recently ranked it No. 1 in innovation for the fifth consecutive year.


7. University of Texas—Austin

Location: Austin, TX
Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,804
U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #48
Acceptance Rate: 39%


The University of Texas–Austin is made up of 18 schools and colleges, including the McCombs School of Business, the Cockrell School of Engineering, and the School of Nursing. Providing a large array of majors and classwork for undecided and decided students alike. Additionally, undergraduates have the opportunity to enjoy everything the surrounding city of Austin has to offer, including a vibrant nightlife, robust music scene, and plenty of great food. 


8. Broward College (FL)

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,784

U.S. News Ranking: Regional Colleges (South), #65-84 

Acceptance Rate: 100%


Broward College holds the distinction of being the only school on this list to accept 100 percent of the students who apply. However, that doesn’t mean a degree from this school won’t get you far. With more than 100 degree and certificate programs, Broward is a great option for students looking to attend a community college prior to transferring into a four-year school. The estimated full-time cost of a semester at Broward College is an affordable $1,726. 


9. Pennsylvania State University—University Park

Location: University Park, PA

Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,363

U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #57

Acceptance Rate: 56%


Not only is Penn State one of the biggest colleges in the U.S., but it is also one of the most highly rated. In fact, the school regularly ranks in the top 1 percent of universities worldwide. Students can choose from hundreds of majors and thousands of student clubs and organizations, many of which are devoted to helping the broader community. Additionally, Penn State boasts the U.S.’s largest alumni network, providing graduates with an enormous network of resources when it comes to finding mentors and pursuing job opportunities. 


10. Michigan State University

Location: East Lansing, MI
Undergraduate Enrollment: 39,423
U.S. News Ranking: National Universities, #84
Acceptance Rate: 78%


With more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs of study, Michigan State University has many of the common offerings, such as Biology, Business, and English. However, the school is also renowned for its Journalism and Biomedical Sciences majors. Additionally, Michigan is a great choice for students hoping to study abroad at some point during their college career. The school currently offers 275 study abroad programs in cities around the world. 


If you’re set on attending a large college, CollegeVine’s free chancing engine can help you determine your odds of getting in at hundreds of schools. Simply submit details of your academic and extracurricular history to discover your admissions chances at the biggest colleges in the U.S. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account to get a jumpstart on your college strategy.

Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.