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The 50 Best Colleges In The United States -- Not The Usual Suspects

CHICAGO, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- (, a leading website on higher education, announces its publication of The 50 Best Colleges in the United States. This carefully researched ranking focuses on undergraduate education and showcases exceptional schools not found in many popular rankings.

According to Brian Jenkins, senior editor at, "Students interested in a significant return on investment, opportunities for intellectual and personal growth, professors dedicated to teaching undergraduate students, and an intimate school environment with research opportunities, will find a wealth of exceptional schools in our ranking."

James Barham, lead editor at, adds, "In compiling the 50 best colleges list, we kept asking ourselves, What schools provide undergraduates with the best springboard to a full, rich life upon graduation? We didn't think the major research universities fit that bill."

The ranking focuses on schools whose main degree is a bachelor's degree and, in the case of the #1 ranked Deep Springs College, an associate's degree. The top 5 colleges listed are:

  1. Deep Springs College ( Deep Springs, CA)
  2. Swarthmore College ( Swarthmore, PA)
  3. Curtis Institute of Music ( Philadelphia, PA)
  4. Harvey Mudd College ( Claremont, CA)
  5. Williams College ( Williamstown, MA)

The #1 Deep Springs College, a school unknown to many Americans, offers superb academic preparation to a small select group of students in a ranch setting at zero cost (all students get a full-ride scholarship). Deep Springs College offers a unique alternative for the first half of a traditional four-year college program. Besides their studies, students learn through physical labor and the responsibilities of operating a ranch.

Other remarkable schools listed that seldom appear in similar rankings include the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; the Rhode Island School of Design; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Calvin College; and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

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