The 10 Best Universities in the USA for International Students

There are many colleges and universities in the USA, but not all are created equal. And no matter what your academic goals are, whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, some American universities will suit you better than others in terms of academics, extracurricular, social life, and affordability. So if you’re an international student looking to study in the USA, here are the 10 best universities in the USA for international students to apply to!

The 10 Best Universities in the USA for International Students

The United States (USA) is one of the best countries to study in, with an incredible range of top-notch universities and courses. The opportunity to study abroad in the USA can be one of the most important and rewarding experiences you have as a student, broadening your knowledge base and cultural horizons and opening doors for future employment opportunities and travel plans. To ensure you make the right choice, this article will take you through 10 of the best universities in the USA for international students worldwide, so you can be sure you’re getting the most out of your time there.

For international students, getting into and succeeding at the best universities in the USA can be an exhilarating experience. From the sheer diversity of cultural experiences to the highly-competitive academic atmosphere, studying in America is an unforgettable experience that can lead to future success no matter what you decide to do with your degree, whether finding work locally or returning to your home country and pursuing opportunities there. But how do you choose? What are the best universities in the USA for international students?

About Universities in the USA

Choosing a university is a big decision, with many factors to consider. If you're an international student looking to study in the USA, you'll want to make sure you choose a welcoming school for students worldwide. To help you narrow down your options, we've compiled a list of the ten best universities in the USA for international students.

1) Harvard

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard has produced some of the most influential leaders in every field. For international students, Harvard offers a world-class education with opportunities to study with renowned faculty and participate in cutting-edge research. The campus is also home to a vibrant community of students from all over the world. If you're looking for an Ivy League education, Harvard is the school for you.

Harvard was established in 1636 by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony vote. In 1638, it acquired British North America's first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

A 1643 publication gave the school's purpose as "to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust." It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a traditional curriculum based on the English university model‍—‌many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge‍—‌but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates became clergy members in Puritan churches.

2) Princeton

Princeton is an excellent choice if you want an Ivy League education but don't want to break the bank. Located in New Jersey, Princeton is one of the country's oldest and most prestigious universities. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 5:1, Princeton offers its students a personalized education experience. The university is also home to some of the world's leading researchers, making it a great place to get a top-notch education.

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.[9][10][a] The institution moved to Newark in 1747 and then to the current site nine years later. It officially became a university in 1896 and was subsequently renamed Princeton University.

The university is governed by the Trustees of Princeton University and has an endowment of $37.7 billion, the largest endowment per student in the United States. Princeton provides undergraduate and graduates instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering to approximately 8,500 students on its 600 acres (2.4 km2) main campus.

Princeton uses a residential college system and is known for its upper-level students eating clubs. The university has over 500 student organizations. Princeton students embrace a wide variety of past and present traditions. The university is an NCAA Division I school and competes in the Ivy League. The school's athletic team, the Princeton Tigers, has won the most conference titles and sent many students and alums to the Olympics.

3) Stanford

Stanford University is the place to be if you're looking for a world-class education. Located in California's Bay Area, Stanford is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. And if you're an international student, you'll feel right at home – nearly 20% of Stanford students are from outside the United States.

Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution.

Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates' entrepreneurialism to build a self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

4) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

If you're looking for the best of the best in universities, look no further than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Not only is it consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world, but it's also located in one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in America: Boston. Plus, you'll feel at home here with a student population that's almost half international.

Founded in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River and encompasses several major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes.

5) Duke University

Duke University is one of the top universities in the USA and is also an excellent choice for international students. The university has a diverse student body, with students from all over the world. Duke offers a wide range of academic programs, and its faculty are leaders in their fields. The university also has a solid commitment to research and teaching. Duke is located in Durham, North Carolina, and it's a great place to live and study. Duke is worth considering if you're looking for a top-notch university experience.

Duke is ranked among the top universities in the United States and the world by major publications. Undergraduate admissions are among the most selective in the country, with an overall acceptance rate of 5.7% for the class of 2025. Duke spends more than $1 billion per year on research, making it one of the ten most prominent research universities in the United States. More than a dozen faculty regularly appear on annual lists of the world's most-cited researchers.

As of 2019, 15 Nobel laureates and 3 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with the university. Duke alums also include 50 Rhodes Scholars, the third highest number of Churchill Scholars of any university (behind Princeton and Harvard), and the fifth-highest number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars of any American university between 1986 and 2015. Duke is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Richard Nixon) and 14 living billionaires.

6) California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Located in Pasadena, California, Caltech is a world-renowned research and teaching institution with a student body of around 2,000. Just six percent of applicants are admitted to Caltech each year, making it one of the most selective universities in the world. Its strong STEM focus and renowned faculty attract students from all over the globe.

Caltech has produced 33 Nobel laureates and is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world. Notable alumni include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, chemist Linus Pauling, and physicist Richard Feynman. If you're looking for a world-class education in science and engineering, Caltech is an excellent choice.

7) Northwestern University

Northwestern University is one of the top universities in the USA and is also an excellent choice for international students. The school has a global reputation for excellence and offers a world-class education. Northwestern is located in Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. The university has a beautiful campus, and it's situated on Lake Michigan. Northwestern is also home to an outstanding student body, with students from all over the world. Northwestern is an excellent choice if you're looking for a top-notch university in the USA.

Northwestern has an endowment of $16.1 billion, one of the world's largest university endowments, and an annual budget of around $2.5 billion. As of fall 2021, the university had 23,410 enrolled students, including 8,817 undergraduates and 14,593 graduate students. Fielding eight men's and eleven women's sports teams, the Northwestern Wildcats represent the university to compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference and has remained the only private university in the conference since 1946.

8) Yale University

Yale University is an Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Yale has produced many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and numerous living billionaires and foreign heads of state. In recent years, Yale Law School has been a training ground for future lawyers and leaders; graduates include Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and twelve professional schools. While the Yale Corporation governs the university, each school's faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, and forests and nature preserve throughout New England.

As of 2021, the university's endowment was valued at $42.3 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports like the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

9) Columbia University

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is considered one of the most prestigious schools in the world. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded before the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world.

Columbia scientists and scholars have played a pivotal role in scientific breakthroughs, including the brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first atomic pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate and 16 graduate schools.

The university's research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with Big Tech firms such as Amazon and IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the MD degree. The university also annually administers the Pulitzer Prize. With over 15.0 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third-largest private research library in the United States.

10) Cornell University

Cornell University is a private Ivy League and statutory land-grant research university based in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, Cornell was founded to teach and contribute to all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a famous 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

Cornell is one of the few private land grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the State University of New York (SUNY) system, including its agricultural and human ecology colleges and industrial labor relations school. Of Cornell's graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported.

As a land grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York. He receives annual funding from the State of New York for specific educational missions. The main campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, spans 745 acres (more than 4,300 acres when the Cornell Botanic Gardens and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered).


Choosing a university is a big decision, with many factors to consider. But if you're an international student looking to study in the USA, these ten universities should be at the top of your list. With world-renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, and ample opportunities for career growth, these schools offer everything you could want in a university experience. So what are you waiting for? Start your application today!