The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search.
Some high school seniors like the idea of pursuing their undergraduate degree at a large college or university with a big campus, an abundance of extracurricular activities and a variety of students. These institutions often have active fraternities and sororities, may be home to famed sports teams and tend to offer numerous college majors.
Prospective students who want to gauge campus sizes can start by looking at undergraduate enrollment figures that 1,281 ranked institutions provided to U.S. News in an annual survey.
Among the schools that submitted these data for fall 2017, the average number of undergraduate students was 6,316. In contrast, the average among the 10 schools with the highest undergraduate enrollment was 45,283.
Nine of the 10 schools with the most undergraduates are National Universities, institutions that emphasize academic research and offer a wide array of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. One school — Broward College in Florida — is classified as a Regional College, an institution that focuses on undergraduate education but awards fewer than half of its bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts fields, such as philosophy and history.
[Read: Make a Large College Feel Like Home.]
Each of these 10 schools had more than 38,500 enrolled undergraduates in fall 2017, and all but one is a public institution. Three schools are flagship state universities: the University of Texas–Austin, Ohio State University–Columbus and Pennsylvania State University–University Park. The only private institution on this list is Liberty University, a Christian school that has a large online undergraduate enrollment.
The University of Central Florida tops the list with nearly 57,000 undergraduate students in fall 2017. That enormous student body was more than 300 times the enrollment at the ranked school with the fewest undergraduates: Marlboro College in Vermont, which only had 183 students.
Below is a list of the 10 ranked schools that enrolled the most undergraduate students in fall 2017. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School (state)||Fall 2017 undergraduate enrollment||U.S. News rank and category|
|University of Central Florida||56,972||165 (tie), National Universities|
|Texas A&M University–College Station||53,065||66 (tie), National Universities|
|Florida International University||47,586||187 (tie), National Universities|
|Ohio State University–Columbus||45,946||56 (tie), National Universities|
|Liberty University (VA)||45,754||230-301, National Universities|
|Arizona State University–Tempe||42,427||115 (tie), National Universities|
|Pennsylvania State University–University Park||40,835||59 (tie), National Universities|
|Broward College (FL)||40,754||65-85, Regional Colleges (South)|
|University of Texas–Austin||40,492||49 (tie), National Universities|
|Michigan State University||38,996||85 (tie), National Universities|
Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find enrollment statistics, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2018 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The enrollment data above are correct as of Oct. 23, 2018.
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