If you’re looking to enjoy your 4 years in college, it’s hard to beat the typical 80 degrees and sunny weather that Georgia has in the Fall and Spring. And for those of you concerned about the other type of degrees, Georgia also has numerous colleges with excellent academics .
As an Emory University graduate, I’m biased as to thinking it’s the best school in Georgia. With a top-20 ranking in national universities, a decent social scene and a great location in the beautiful Druid Hills subsection of Atlanta, Emory has a lot going for it. But if having a football team is important to you, then I’d suggest you avoid Emory and instead check out fellow Atlanta school Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.
My point is there are numerous solid schools in Georgia, so depending on what matters to you one might be the right for you. Here are the top 5 with brief descriptions of each.
Savannah College of Art & Design
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Average Tuition: $35,190/year
If you’re an artsy type of person looking to study something like animation or special effects then SCAD is a place worth considering. But if you’re looking for a traditional southern school then this obviously isn’t the place for you.
SCAD is a private school that hasn’t been around that long, having been founded in 1978. Being located in Savannah, one of the most fun cities in the South, is definitely a huge draw and the kids who go here are a fun-loving bunch.
Not much in terms of sports to speak of at SCAD.
Georgia Southern University
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Average Tuition:$6,273 / year in-state, $16,847 / year out-of-state
Georgia Southern is a public school with 18,000 undergrads in the city of Statesboro in (shocker) southern Georgia. While the location isn’t ideal, it has a very collegiate-feeling campus with a lot going on.
One of the big appeals to Georgia Southern is the presence of division 1 sports, with the Golden Eagles competing in the Sun Belt Conference.
Georgia Southern’s inexpensive price tag make it’s a solid value, especially if you’re from Georgia.
University of Georgia
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Average Tuition: $11,634 in-state/ $29,844 out-of-state
The pride and joy of Georgia, located in the awesome city of Athens.
Georgia has a massive campus with all the excesses of SEC football culture. Expect ruckus pregames for the school’s beloved Bulldogs, though their team perpetually disappoints.
Even when it’s not football season the party scene is fantastic at UGA, with a heavy dose of greek life and a solid bar scene near campus.
Though it’s not quite on the level of a Virginia or Michigan in terms of academic, it’s certainly a reputable large public university, earning the #56 slot on the 2016 edition of the US News & World Report national university rankings.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Acceptance Rate: 25%
Average Tuition: $10,106 in-state/ $30,904 out-of-state
Georgia Tech is the premier technical school in the south, so you’re going to have to be incredibly bright to get in.
The location in midtown Atlanta is as good as it gets. Plus unlike Emory, Georgia Tech has a big-time division 1 sports program that plays in the ACC. But in a city with so much else going on, Georgia Tech doesn’t have the kind of football culture that you’ll find at UGA.
A lot of the students at Georgia Tech are very studious so the social scene is lacking. You’re going to need to venture off campus for fun, but being in the heart of Atlanta you won’t have to go too far.
Acceptance Rate: 25%
Emory is my alma mater but I’ll try to be fair in assessing its pros and cons.
Emory has as beautiful a campus as you’ll find in the country, and it is located in a luxurious suburban setting in the Druid Hills section of Atlanta.
Greek life dominates the social scene at Emory and for such a strong academic school Emory’s social scene could be much worse (See: Georgia Tech). However, the administration has been cracking down on greek life in the past few years so it’s become a less attractive option for kids looking for a work hard, play hard college experience .
Emory feels highly insulated from southern culture, for better and worse, due to the fact that there are a lot of students from both the northeast and abroad. This type of bubble is how you end up with students making national headlines for protesting Donald Trump‘s name written in chalk in a state that he ultimately carried.
The lack of a football team means that school spirit is mostly lacking. The school does compete in division III however, and has superb basketball, tennis and soccer programs, although most students hardly notice.
Its size of 7,000 undergrads means you get the resources of a larger school with the personal touch you’d expect of a smaller one. While any Emory degree is solid, Emory’s highly ranked Goizueta Business School and pre-med programs are the true standouts.
Despite its drawbacks, the fact is that Emory is in the conversation of the best private universities in the south along with Duke and Vanderbilt. Its reputation along with its the weather and location is a pretty great combination.