Fun College Facts

The college admissions process can feel complex and competitive, but it is also an exciting and important step in a student’s educational journey. Whether students are just starting to research colleges or are in the final stages of applying (i.e., waiting for admissions decisions to be released over the next two weeks), here are some random fun facts about colleges in the US:

  • The first American college, Harvard University, was founded in 1636.
  • The oldest historically black college in the United States is Cheyney University of Pennsylvania,  founded in 1837.
  • The oldest community college in the United States is Joliet Junior College in Illinois, founded in 1901.
  • The Wren Building at William & Mary is the oldest college building in the U.S., and classes are still taught there.
  • The most popular college major in the United States is business, followed by health professions and engineering.
  • In 1962, Purdue University offered the first computer science degree program in the U.S.
  • The first college to offer a degree in women’s studies was San Diego State University in California, which began offering the degree in 1972.
  • The first college to offer a degree in environmental studies was the University of California, Santa Barbara, which began offering the degree in 1970.
  • The average cost of tuition at a public four-year college in the United States is $10,440 per year for in-state students and $26,820 per year for out-of-state students.
  • The most expensive college in the United States is Harvey Mudd College in California, with an annual cost of attendance of over $79,000.
  • The average college student graduates with over $37,000 in student loan debt.
  • The Common Application, which allows students to apply to multiple colleges using a single application, was first used by five colleges in 1975. Today, over 900 colleges and universities use it.
  • The admissions process at most colleges and universities involves a combination of factors, including grades, test scores (if submitted), essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.
  • College admissions rates vary widely, with some highly selective schools accepting fewer than 10% of applicants while others have admissions rates of over 80%.
  • The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is the most applied-to college in the United States, with over 110,000 applications each year.
  • The first college to admit women was Oberlin College, founded in 1833.
  • The oldest college mascot in the United States is the Yale bulldog, which has been in use since 1894.
  • The smallest college in the United States is Deep Springs College in California, with an enrollment of around 30 students.
  • The largest university in the United States by enrollment is Arizona State University, with over 100,000 students.
  • The largest college by land size is Berry College. Tucked into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it covers over 27,000 acres, nearly twice the land area of Manhattan.