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The best colleges in Virginia and West Virginia

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With COVID-19 adding a new level of uncertainty to the college application process, being accepted to a school close to home can introduce some element of comfort into your decision. Virginia and West Virginia are home to multiple reputable and highly-ranked colleges and universities, well-revered across the nation.

In a world of skyrocketing college tuition, being accepted into a public in-state school will reduce your tuition costs. Make your application count by using this college acceptance calculator to increase your chances of acceptance into one of these Virginia or West Virginia colleges. No matter what major you want to pursue, these ten colleges are worth applying for.

Virginia Colleges

According to Forbes list of America’s top colleges, these are the best five colleges located in Virginia based on a series of criteria.

University of Virginia

Coming in at #1 in Virginia with a 27% acceptance rate, the University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. According to the U.S. News & World Report, 2020, UVA is the fourth-best public university. The University of Virginia offers almost 80 undergraduate majors for incoming students. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, UVA is actually partnering with the Virginia Department of Health to collect COVID-19 data.

Washington & Lee University

In Virginia, Washington & Lee University is the toughest institution in the area to get into, with an acceptance rate of only 22%. Located in Lexington, VA, the private university is the ninth-oldest higher education institution in the country.

With only 1,860 students, Washington & Lee University has one of the smallest student populations on this list. A small student population insinuates smaller class sizes and, thus, a more intimate classroom experience with one-on-one mentorship from an esteemed list of professors. Additionally, Washington & Lee has almost 40 unique undergraduate majors with additional minors to customize your curriculum.

College of William and Mary

Chartered in 1693, this college is the second oldest institution of higher education in the country. Three U.S. presidents were educated at this particular institution: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. Deemed a “Public Ivy” school, the College of William and Mary has an acceptance rate of 36%. The college has over 40 majors and almost 60 minors available for undergraduate students. Another smaller school on this list, William and Mary’s student to faculty ratio is 11:1, meaning a personalized learning experience for its enrolled students.

University of Richmond

The University of Richmond is home to the Spiders with over 3,100 undergraduate students. The student to faculty ratio is the smallest one on this list at 8:1. Currently, zero of the undergraduate classes offered are taught by teacher assistants, and the average class size is only 16 students. Another private university, the school has over 60 undergraduate majors.

Virginia Tech

With over 110 undergraduate majors, Virginia Tech doesn’t only offer programs for hard science and math majors. Located in Blacksburg, VA, the public university is home to the Hokies. Despite teaching over 34,000 students, the faculty to student ratio is 14:1. For being leaders in finding new energy sources, the university was awarded $2.4 million this year for its transformational energy technology.

West Virginia Colleges

Here are some of the best schools in West Virginia according to Forbes and the U.S. News & World Report, 2020. Note that students in West Virginia can also apply for in-state tuition for a select few colleges in Virginia.

West Virginia University

As well as being Forbes’ top pick, according to CNN, West Virginia University is also ranked as the top party school in the U.S. This public university is located in Morgantown, West Virginia. In 2018, WVU was rated in the top 3% of 19,000 universities worldwide by the Center for World University Ratings. This particular institution has over 29,000 students enrolled with over 35 majors.

Alderson Broaddus University

Another private university, Alderson Broaddus has a student to faculty ratio of 16:1. The school has 27 undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree majors and 34 minors. Located in Phillipi, West Virginia, the school’s top majors are biology, nursing, business administration, exercise science, and criminal justice. The university is strongly affiliated with the West Virginia Baptist Convention.

Davis & Elkins College

Located in Elkins, West Virginia, this college offers numerous majors in eight separate disciplines: business, creative arts, education, humanities, nursing, social sciences, and pre-professional programs. Davis & Elkins also offers an online RN-BSN program on their school’s website. The private school is small with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1.

Ohio Valley University

With the second smallest student to faculty ratio of 10:1, Ohio Valley University places emphasis on Christian education. Located in Vienna, WV, the private university has three main colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, and the College of Education. Each of these three umbrella colleges have concentrations and specialties within them.

West Virginia State University

Located just outside of West Virginia’s state capitol, WVSU is the only Historically Black College (HBCU) on this list. The school is home to over 3,100 students with a student to faculty ratio of 17:1. WVSU offers a range of majors, minors, and certificates for undergraduate students.


No matter where you decide to apply, if you’re a local Virginia or West Virginia resident, opting for a state school can help you dodge astronomical annual tuitions associated with out-of-state institutions. Don’t devastate yourself financially during your undergraduate experience. Receive a quality education from any of these reputable institutions.

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