Best Colleges in California

California’s gorgeous1 scenery makes West Coast living easy. With the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Sierra Nevadas to the east, California is the most populous state in the country. Major universities have campuses in Los Angeles, Chico, Berkley, San Diego, San Francisco and more.* Have a soft spot for food production, viniculture, aerospace, or education? California leads the country in wine production and single-origin produce agriculture. The Golden State also has robust aerospace and education programs for all the engineers and teaching students out there. IT majors are also in good company with San Francisco’s iconic Silicon Valley. Recent job growth is at 1.36%, well over the nation’s average, with major industries including finance, business, engineering and technology.*

Once you’re in California, it’s a little work and a lot of play. Fill time between classes with wine tasting in Napa Valley or surfing in San Diego. Outdoor lovers can’t get enough with hiking and camping in Yosemite National Park, skiing in Mammoth, or rock climbing at Joshua Tree. California has thousands of restaurants and bars, concerts all year long, and the famous Hollywood. With over 20 professional sports teams, Lakers, 49ers, Angels, Kings, and more, as well as the Rose Bowl, you’re sure to find a good reason to show some spirit. Regardless of where you choose to live in California, make sure to own something that shows off your new state flag with that iconic big, brown bear.

*Wikipedia, “Colleges and Universities in California” *www.bestplaces.net/economy/state/California

Best Four Year Universities in California

  • Associate's
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Doctoral
  • Certificates
  • Less than 2 years (below associate)
  • At least 2 but less than 4 years
  • Four or more years
  • Private for-profit
  • Private not-for-profit
  • Public
School Logo School Name Reviews Get Admission Info
Stanford University
Stanford, CA
Based on 64 Reviews
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
Based on 52 Reviews
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
Based on 140 Reviews
University of California-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
Based on 88 Reviews
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA
Based on 8 Reviews
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA
Based on 8 Reviews
University of California-San Diego
La Jolla, CA
Based on 36 Reviews
University of California-Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
Based on 52 Reviews
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA
Based on 20 Reviews
University of California-Irvine
Irvine, CA
Based on 16 Reviews
University of California-Davis
Davis, CA
Based on 92 Reviews
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
Occidental College
Los Angeles, CA
Based on 12 Reviews
Pomona College
Claremont, CA
University of San Diego
San Diego, CA
Based on 8 Reviews
Chapman University
Orange, CA
Based on 24 Reviews
Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, CA
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Based on 12 Reviews
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA
Based on 28 Reviews
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA
Based on 68 Reviews
University of California-Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA
Based on 20 Reviews
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA
Based on 16 Reviews
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA
Based on 44 Reviews
University of California-Riverside
Riverside, CA
Based on 12 Reviews
California State University-Long Beach
Long Beach, CA
Based on 40 Reviews
Scripps College
Claremont, CA
Based on 12 Reviews
University of Redlands
Redlands, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
University of La Verne
La Verne, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
University of California-Merced
Merced, CA
California State University-Fullerton
Fullerton, CA
Based on 44 Reviews
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
Pomona, CA
Based on 32 Reviews
California Lutheran University
Thousand Oaks, CA
Whittier College
Whittier, CA
Based on 12 Reviews
Biola University
La Mirada, CA
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA
Based on 64 Reviews
Point Loma Nazarene University
San Diego, CA
Based on 20 Reviews
Saint Mary's College of California
Moraga, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA
Based on 24 Reviews
California State University-Fresno
Fresno, CA
Based on 12 Reviews
La Sierra University
Riverside, CA
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa, CA
California State University-Chico
Chico, CA
Based on 24 Reviews
California Baptist University
Riverside, CA
Vanguard University of Southern California
Costa Mesa, CA
Fresno Pacific University
Fresno, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, CA
Based on 8 Reviews
California State University-Northridge
Northridge, CA
Based on 28 Reviews
Concordia University-Irvine
Irvine, CA
California State University-San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Based on 28 Reviews

Best Community Colleges in California

  • Associate's
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Doctoral
  • Certificates
  • Less than 2 years (below associate)
  • At least 2 but less than 4 years
  • Four or more years
  • Private for-profit
  • Private not-for-profit
  • Public
School Logo School Name Reviews Get Admission Info
De Anza College
Cupertino, CA
Foothill College
Los Altos Hills, CA
MiraCosta College
Oceanside, CA
Santa Monica College
Santa Monica, CA
Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa, CA
College of the Canyons
Santa Clarita, CA
El Camino Community College District
Torrance, CA
Orange Coast College
Costa Mesa, CA
Pasadena City College
Pasadena, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
Mt San Antonio College
Walnut, CA
Ohlone College
Fremont, CA
Butte College
Oroville, CA
Saddleback College
Mission Viejo, CA
Napa Valley College
Napa, CA
Golden West College
Huntington Beach, CA
East Los Angeles College
Monterey Park, CA
Citrus College
Glendora, CA
Moorpark College
Moorpark, CA
Based on 8 Reviews
Las Positas College
Livermore, CA
Irvine Valley College
Irvine, CA
Diablo Valley College
Pleasant Hill, CA
Santiago Canyon College
Orange, CA
Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara, CA
Sierra College
Rocklin, CA
Folsom Lake College
Folsom, CA
San Diego Miramar College
San Diego, CA
Los Medanos College
Pittsburg, CA
San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia
Visalia, CA
San Bernardino Valley College
San Bernardino, CA
Fullerton College
Fullerton, CA
Antelope Valley College
Lancaster, CA
College of the Desert
Palm Desert, CA
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana, CA
City College of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Allan Hancock College
Santa Maria, CA
American River College
Sacramento, CA
Riverside City College
Riverside, CA
Palomar College
San Marcos, CA
College of Marin
Kentfield, CA
Cuesta College
San Luis Obispo, CA
Rio Hondo College
Whittier, CA
San Jose City College
San Jose, CA
Reedley College
Reedley, CA
Lake Tahoe Community College
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Based on 4 Reviews
Moreno Valley College
Moreno Valley, CA
Sacramento City College
Sacramento, CA
Gavilan College
Gilroy, CA
Bakersfield College
Bakersfield, CA
Norco College
Norco, CA
Cosumnes River College
Sacramento, CA