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The Oldest Universities in the U.S.

We have a list of the oldest universities and colleges in the United States. Some of them are ranked very high overall in the world, as well as being members of the honored Ivy League. They all have very rich heritage and notable alumni. However, the oldest college in the United States is Harvard University founded in 1636 and chartered in 1650. Now lets take a look at the other oldest colleges and universities in the United States.

The oldest universities in the US are:

Harvard University – 1636 (chartered in 1650)

Located in Massachusetts, it was called New College at first before being renamed to Harvard. It was named after John Harvard, who gave money to the school. It is one of the world’s prestige college universities and a top Ivy league school.

College of William and Mary – 1693

It was named after the British Monarchs who were over the city. Once the school of famous president, Thomas Jefferson, this school is the oldest in the South.

Yale University – 1701

Ranked 15th in the world and was founded as “College School” but renamed to Yale because of a gift received from Elihu Yale. It was the first school to award a PhD. Yale is located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Princeton University – 1746

It was called College of New Jersey at first before being renamed to Princeton 10 years later. It is currently ranked as a top 10 school in the world overall.

Columbia University – 1754

Located in New York City, Columbia was chartered in 1754 and originally called King’s College before being renamed in 1784. It is known for the famous Pulitzer Prize and is ranked 16th in the world overall.

Older universities are more prestigious and a degree from these schools is instantly recognized as something to be proud of. Did you go to one of these older Ivy league schools? Post your comment below! Also, we have a list of the largest universities in USA.

Search more about these colleges at our college finder.

This story was originally published in November 2009. It has been updated August 2018.



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It seems like 2010 was a good year for charitable donations to colleges and universes around the nation. In 2010, colleges and universities in the USA received $28 billion in contributions, which is 0.5 percent more than the schools received in 2009, according to the Council for Aid to Education.

The amount of support for higher education donated in 2010 was the same a it was in 2006, measured in total dollars. However, if the donations are adjusted to account for inflation, the donations fall by eight percent.

“We’re still not out of the woods,” said Ann Kaplan, director of the Voluntary Support of Education survey. “Charitable contributions to education are recovering very slowly.”

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EngineeringAccording to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, the reputation of one’s alma mater plays a more important role in career success for those with pre-professional majors. The journal conducted a survey of people who graduated between 1999 and 2010, asking them: “How important was your undergraduate school’s reputation and connections to your current job/career success?”

Engineering, international business and accounting majors most frequently responded “important” or “very important.” On the other end of the spectrum, history, psychology and communications majors felt that the reputation of their undergraduate school was a less important factor in career success.

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The Pros and Cons of Attending Community College before University

photo by Andrew Flavin

photo by Andrew Flavin

As a junior in my high school days, I knew I wanted a less traditional path into the intimidating world of college. Unlike many of my friends, I opted out of the cold Northeast and applied only to schools located in the warm California sunshine. But upon receipt of my first semester out-of-state tuition bill from University of California Santa Barbara, I chose to begin my college journey at Santa Barbara City College instead, making life a bit easier on my family’s pocketbook, and then to transfer to a four-year school. Choosing whether to attend community college or a university right out of high school is an option worth considering.

Here are some pros and cons: Read the rest of this entry »



Is the Degree You’re Working Toward Worth the Paper it’s Printed on?

Is Your Degree From a Properly Accredited School?

Is Your Degree From a Properly Accredited School?

When researching colleges, which criteria are most important to you? Unless you want to spend the next few years working toward a degree only to find that it isn’t recognized by the company that is interviewing you for your dream job, researching the accreditation of your school of choice is imperative. Accreditation lends legitimacy to your degree by ensuring that your school of choice meets a set of standards set forth by the institution that issues such accreditation. Most schools you consider attending will be able to claim that they are accredited, but by who? It is equally important to understand who is issuing the accreditation and what value that accreditation has for you before selecting a school. Read the rest of this entry »





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