Top 10 Biggest Colleges in the U.S. (2024)

Updated on January 25, 2024
At a Glance:
  • Among the largest universities in the U.S. are Arizona State University.
  • University of Central Florida.
  • Texas A&M University.
  • Ohio State University.
  • University of Texas at Austin.
  • Pennsylvania State University.
  • Michigan State University.
  • Purdue University.
  • University of Arizona.
  • And University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

  • These institutions provide diverse academic offerings and vibrant student communities, making them popular choices for a wide range of academic pursuits and extracurricular activities.
  • Have you ever wondered what the largest universities in the United States are?  In this article, we have listed the ten largest United States public university campuses by enrollment as of 2021.

    Quick View: Largest Four-Year Colleges in the U.S. by Enrollment

    For those of you who just want a quick overview of the numbers, check out the table below. For more detailed looks at these schools, see the next section.

    RankingUniversity NameUndergraduate EnrollmentAcceptance RateVisit Link
    #1Arizona State University (ASU)64,70088%https://www.asu.edu/
    #2University of Central Florida (UCF)59,90036%https://www.ucf.edu/
    #3Texas A&M University56,70064%https://www.tamu.edu/
    #4Ohio State University (OSU)47,10057%https://www.osu.edu/
    #5University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)40,90029%https://www.utexas.edu/
    #6Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)40,30054%https://www.psu.edu/
    #7Michigan State University38,50083%https://www.msu.edu/
    #8Purdue University37,80069%https://www.purdue.edu/
    #9University of Arizona37,40087%https://www.arizona.edu/
    #10University of Minnesota, Twin Cities36,20073%https://twin-cities.umn.edu/

    Largest Four-Year Colleges in the U.S. by Enrollment

    A broad spectrum of academic disciplines, extracurricular activities, and potential acquaintances await at large universities. If you’re interested in attending one of the U.S.’s largest institutions, the following list provides some top options.

    1. Arizona State University | ASU

    ASU, with its four campuses in Arizona, is among the U.S.’s most expansive universities. With over 300 major programs and 500+ clubs and organizations, students have abundant options. The school’s dedication to research is evident, with U.S. News and World Report placing ASU as the top innovator for eight consecutive years.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 64,700
    • Acceptance Rate: 88%

    2. University of Central Florida | UCF

    UCF is not only located in Orlando but also has several campuses throughout Florida. With a myriad of majors and unique programs like Marine and Aquatic Biology and Golf Management, UCF is a prime choice. The university’s Greek life also stands out, featuring over 40 fraternities and sororities.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 59,900
    • Acceptance Rate: 36%

    3. Texas A&M University

    Known for its extensive research and focus on agriculture, Texas A&M offers a variety of academic pursuits. The Huffington Post labeled it as the happiest college campus in the U.S.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 56,700
    • Acceptance Rate: 64%

    4. Ohio State University | OSU

    OSU students can select from over 150 majors and also customize their curriculum. A plethora of campus clubs and a passion for sports, from football to Quidditch, make student life vibrant.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 47,100
    • Acceptance Rate: 57%

    5. University of Texas at Austin | UT Austin

    UT Austin, with its numerous schools and colleges, provides a diverse academic landscape. The lively Austin environment further enhances the student experience.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,900
    • Acceptance Rate: 29%

    6. Pennsylvania State University | Penn State

    Penn State is not just large but also renowned for its academic programs, vibrant student life, and massive alumni network.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,300
    • Acceptance Rate: 54%

    7. Michigan State University

    From journalism to biomedical sciences, Michigan State University offers diverse programs. Students also have ample study-abroad options.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 38,500
    • Acceptance Rate: 83%

    8. Purdue University

    Purdue, dubbed the “cradle of astronauts,” boasts alumni like Neil Armstrong. Beyond engineering, it offers a plethora of academic choices.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 37,80
    • Acceptance Rate: 69%

    9. University of Arizona

    Apart from its sunny disposition, the University of Arizona provides over 150 major options and is a notable Hispanic-Serving Institution.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 37,400
    • Acceptance Rate: 87%

    10. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities | Minnesota

    Minnesota stands out with its diverse schools on one campus. It’s also an innovation hub, credited with inventions like the pacemaker.

    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 36,200
    • Acceptance Rate: 73%

    What Are the Largest Colleges in the U.S.?

    What are the largest colleges and universities in U.S., regardless of four- or two-year offerings? Below, we list the top fifty colleges in the U.S. by total enrollment.

    RankUniversity NameLocationEnrollment
    1Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA79,152
    2University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL68,571
    3Texas A&M University — College StationCollege Station, TX68,367
    4The Ohio State University — ColumbusColumbus, OH61,170
    5University of Maryland, University CollegeAdelphi, MD60,603
    6Florida International UniversityMiami, FL58,064
    7University of FloridaGainesville, FL52,218
    8New York UniversityNew York, NY51,847
    9The University of Texas at AustinAustin, TX51,832
    10Arizona State University — Tempe CampusTempe, AZ51,585

    The Pros and Cons of Attending a Large College

    Choosing the right college is a pivotal decision in a student’s life, and the size of the institution can play a significant role in shaping their college experience. Here, we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of attending large colleges.

    Advantages of Large Colleges

    Embarking on an educational journey at a large institution can open up a myriad of opportunities and experiences. Here are some of the standout benefits:

    1. Diverse Academic Opportunities: Large colleges often offer an extensive selection of majors. This vast range is particularly beneficial for students who are undecided about their field of study, allowing them to explore various disciplines before settling on a major.
    2. Research Opportunities: Due to their vast resources, these institutions often provide state-of-the-art research facilities and the chance to work alongside top faculty members across various fields.
    3. Expansive Alumni Network: A broader alumni base can be a treasure trove when seeking internships, mentorships, and job opportunities after graduation.
    4. Study Abroad Programs: Many big colleges have extensive study abroad programs. For example, if you’re studying Italian, you might have the chance to spend a summer in Rome, immersing yourself in the language and culture.
    5. Extracurricular Activities: The plethora of clubs, organizations, sports, and volunteer opportunities ensures that there’s something for everyone, offering numerous chances to meet new people and engage in diverse experiences.

    Disadvantages of Large Colleges

    While large institutions boast numerous advantages, they also come with certain challenges that prospective students should consider. Here are some potential drawbacks:

    1. Potential for Feeling Overwhelmed: Those who are introverted or shy might feel lost or overwhelmed in the vastness of a large institution.
    2. Impersonal Learning Environments: Large lecture halls with hundreds of students might not be ideal for those who prefer intimate, interactive learning experiences or one-on-one attention from instructors.
    3. Competitive Atmosphere: The vast number of students can sometimes lead to intense competition, whether it’s for class spots, research opportunities, or internships.
    4. Navigating Bureaucracy: Larger institutions might come with more red tape, making processes like registration, seeking academic advisement, or resolving issues a bit more challenging.

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    Enrollments at Large Colleges FAQ

    Below, you will find some common questions about colleges with large enrollments, and the impact of these large populations, and their answers.

    What constitutes a “large” college in terms of enrollment?

    A large college typically refers to institutions with an undergraduate enrollment of more than 15,000 students. However, this number can vary depending on the context or source of information.

    Why do some colleges have such large enrollments?

    Large colleges often have a wide range of programs, extensive facilities, diverse faculty, and a long-standing reputation that attracts a high number of applicants each year. Their capacity to accommodate more students is also a factor.

    Does a large enrollment mean larger class sizes?

    Not necessarily. While large colleges might have some lecture-style classes with hundreds of students, they also offer smaller discussion-based classes, seminars, and labs with fewer students.

    Are there any benefits to attending a college with a large enrollment?

    Yes, large colleges often offer a wider variety of academic programs, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, and networking opportunities due to their extensive alumni base.

    Does a large student population impact the student-to-faculty ratio?

    It can. Some large colleges may have a higher student-to-faculty ratio, meaning there might be more students per faculty member. However, many large universities still maintain a favorable ratio by employing a significant number of faculty members.

    Is it harder to get personalized attention at a larger college?

    It can be challenging in some large lecture classes, but many big colleges offer resources like tutoring centers, office hours with professors, and smaller class formats to ensure students receive personalized attention.

    Do large colleges offer more online courses?

    Many large colleges have the resources and infrastructure to offer a variety of online courses and even complete online degree programs. However, the availability of online courses varies from one institution to another.

    Are all state universities considered large colleges?

    No, while many state universities are among the largest in terms of enrollment, not all state institutions are “large” colleges. The size varies based on factors like the state’s population, funding, and the university’s history.

    Does having a large enrollment mean the college has a diverse student body?

    A large enrollment can increase the likelihood of diversity, but it’s not a guarantee. Diversity depends on the college’s recruitment practices, location, tuition, and other factors.

    How do large colleges manage their vast student populations?

    Large colleges often have comprehensive systems in place, including advanced technological solutions for registration, academic advising, housing, and other student services. They might also have multiple campuses or satellite locations to accommodate the student body.

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    Frank Gogol

    I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.