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Best Colleges in Missouri

by Chanelle Garzon
June 2, 2024
8 min read
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The Midwest might seem like it doesn’t have much to offer, but in Missouri, academic opportunity and competition come in abundance. Missouri is rich in schools that offer graduate programs with a well-balanced student-to-faculty ratio, community college options for students who want to start slowly and earn their associate degrees, and even for those looking to take online courses to fit their busy schedules.

So, whether you’re interested in psychology or computer science, colleges and universities in the state of Missouri could be a great fit for those looking for a quality education and historically rich student life.

Today’s article is all about the top colleges in Missouri. We will go over everything from the best colleges to know how to choose the right college education for you. We will even leave you with some tips on how to prioritize your college search when it’s time to apply. So, if you’re a student in pursuit of academic excellence, you might just find yourself cozy, comfortable, and living a studious life in Missouri.

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missouri colleges

Missouri University

  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Cost of Tuition: Average cost, $18K
  • Graduation Rate: 71%

What Students Can Expect

At Missouri University, also known as the University of Missouri, students can expect a united campus community, a diverse student body, and access to world-class faculty members. With four major campuses throughout Missouri, the university also provides resources for career development, internships, and networking opportunities that help push students to academic and professional excellence.

Washington University in St. Louis

  • Acceptance Rate: 12%
  • Cost of Tuition: Average cost, $28k
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

Why Washington University in St. Louis Stands Out

Washington University in St. Louis stands out for its prestigious academic programs, renowned faculty, research opportunities, and historic campus. Known to be the hardest university to get into, WUSTL takes pride in its interdisciplinary learning methods and global engagement efforts. Washington University in St. Louis is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion, creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.

Saint Louis University

  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Cost of Tuition: Average cost, $53k
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

Campus Life

Located in the heart of St. Louis, Saint Louis University students thrive in a vibrant and diverse community that offers a wide range of student organizations, events, and activities. The university has a strong emphasis on service and social justice, with many opportunities for students to get involved with their surrounding community. The campus also offers students cultural dining options and recreational activities.

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Missouri State University

  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Cost of Tuition: Average cost, $17k
  • Graduation Rate: 55%

Academic Programs and Professional Opportunities

Missouri State University is a public four-year university known for their psychology, education, health and business programs. With over 14K undergraduate students enrolled, MSU is the second largest university in the state that offers students, both as undergraduate majors and graduate students, opportunities for professional growth through internships.

University of Missouri - Kansas City

  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Cost of Tuition: Average cost, $13k
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Annotations and Reputation

The University of Missouri - Kansas City is a fully accredited university by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that honors their highly sought after programs in business management, computer science, marketing, journalism, family and community medicine, and more. UMKC hones a widely known reputation for its diverse atmosphere and invites students of all backgrounds to join their campus.

Other Notable Colleges in Missouri

Though the schools mentioned above are some of the top colleges in Missouri, it’s important to shine light on other incredibly annotated universities and colleges throughout the Mother of the West. Check them out below.

  • Maryville University - is a private college in Town and Country, MO with over 90 degree programs for those seeking bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and/or doctoral degree programs.
  • Southeast Missouri State University - is a public college known for their excellence in public engagement, education and creative efforts to keep campus life diverse and inclusive.
  • Northwest Missouri State University - Northwest Missouri State University is a residential university with a broad range of academic programs for students with interests in
  • Lindenwood University - Lindenwood University is a private, non-profit university known for its academic programs, particularly in education and the arts. LW also has a successful athletics program that brings life to its vibrant campus community.
  • William Woods University – William Woods University is a private university in Fulton, MO, whose mission is to support graduate and adult programs. 
  • University of Central Missouri – The University of Central Missouri is a Division II university in Warrensburg, MO.
  • William Jewell College – A private, Christian liberal arts college, William Jewell college rank in at #8 out of 83 regional colleges in the Midwest.
  • Missouri Southern State University – Missouri Southern State University is another Division II school with a prominent athletic reputation and academic focus on theatre, art, music, and film studies.
  • Stephens College – Stephens College is a private all women’s college with a heavy concentration on art programs like design, performing arts and equestrian studies.

Missouri’s dedication to higher education offers in and out-of-state students a handful of academic opportunities that have the potential to boost them into the career of their dreams. Just make sure the school of your choice supports all of those aspirations.

missouri community colleges

Best Community Colleges in Missouri

We understand a quality education can be expensive, but there are still ways to get a great academic experience without digging yourself into a hole of student debt, like community college. Missouri is home to some of the best community colleges in the Midwest. Let’s talk about them!

State Technical College of Missouri

  • Linn, Missouri. State Technical College of Missouri boasts the #1 graduation rate in the state and offers students a hands-on education with more than 50 labs to choose from. Automation & Robotics Technology/Advanced Manufacturing is one of the many programs specific to State Tech, and 99% of the school’s graduates find employment within six months of graduation.

Crowder College

  • Neosho, Missouri. Crowder College has six locations and is one of the few community colleges in Missouri that offers on-campus housing. Crowder has over 80 associate certificate degree programs to choose from, and allows students to complete courses part online and in-person to accommodate their work and life schedule.

Moberly Area Community College

  • Moberly, Missouri. As a public community college with four campuses, Moberly Area Community College provides students with dynamic and accessible education programs, which include college transfer, academic, and career/technical programs. MACC’s Moberly campus is home to the Graphic Arts/Fine Arts Gallery, which hosts exhibits year-round that students are encouraged to participate in.

Ozarks Technical Community College

  • Springfield, Missouri. Since its inception in 1990, Ozarks Technical Community Colleges have served over 200,000 students and focuses on job-skill training and college transfer preparation. The average cost of tuition after aid is $7,525 and in-state tuition sits at $4,924.

St. Charles Community College

  • Cottleville, Missouri. St. Charles Community College is a public, two-year college that offers associate degrees and certificate programs in arts, business, sciences, and career-technical fields. SCC student life is made up of 45 student organizations and clubs, and there are multiple performances and exhibits all year-round for students and the community to enjoy.

How to Choose the Best College in Missouri

Though getting familiar with the colleges and undergraduate programs in Missouri is the first step in pursuing your education, it’s only half the battle. Knowing and choosing the best college for you comes second, and it involves considering important factors like academic, personal, and career goals. So, if you’re having trouble choosing the top college for you, here are some tips that can help you make an informed decision:

  1. Identify Your Priorities: Ask yourself: what is most important to you in a college? Is it academic programs, campus culture, location, size, extracurricular activities, or cost?
  2. Research Colleges: This is key. You should do extensive research on the different colleges and universities in Missouri. Look into their academic reputation, graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio, post-graduation employment opportunities, etc., before making a decision.
  3. Visit Campuses: If possible, schedule campus visits to get a feel for the college environment and see if it is a good fit for you.
  4. Consider Your Academic Goals: Think about what you want to study and look for a college that offers strong programs in that field of study. Check to see if that program offers into opportunities for research, internships, and hands-on learning experiences, as well.
  5. Evaluate Financial Aid Options: Because the cost of attending college can be high, you always want to consider tuition, room and board, and all other school-related costs. The majority of colleges offer in-house financial assistance, like merit-based scholarships (for qualifying students), so explore all financial aid options, scholarships, and grants each school has to offer.
  6. Seek Guidance: Don’t hesitate to speak with guidance counselors, teachers, mentors, and current college students for advice and insights on the colleges of your choice.
  7. Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, you should trust your instincts! Choose a school that makes you feel comfortable, supported, and excited to pursue your academic goals.

Above all, you want to make sure the school of your choice aligns with your values and goals. By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the best college that will provide you with a fulfilling and exciting educational experience.

Tips for Applying to Colleges in Missouri

Congratulations on choosing a top college in Missouri! You are one step closer to getting the education you deserve. But first? The application! Here are some tips for a successful college application process:

  1. Start Early – It’s crucial to start looking through schools in Missouri to determine which ones align with your academic and personal goals.
  2. Research – Once you have schools that stand out, do thorough research on all the universities and colleges in Missouri of your choice. Familiarize yourself with the admission requirements of each college and application deadlines.
  3. Personal Statement – Write an impressionable personal statement that highlights any accolades or achievements you might have and why you are a good fit for the college.
  4. Extracurricular Activities – Don’t leave out any extracurricular achievements like volunteering, school club involvement, sports, etc.
  5. Letters of Recommendation – Strive to get letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or anyone who can speak to your academic abilities and character.
  6. Financial Aid – And most importantly, explore all financial aid options available to you. (i.e., scholarships and grants).

Going to college is one of the most fulfilling experiences in a student’s life, and with the right direction, it can be that much easier to maneuver through. Apply some of these tips to your application process, and you’ll be good to go. Good luck!

colleges for missouri students

Frequently Asked Questions About Missouri Colleges

How many colleges are in Missouri?

Currently, there are a total of 67 colleges and universities in Missouri. Students can choose graduate degrees from private and public universities, some of which are affiliated with a religion or operate as specialized/technical colleges. Student’s also have the option to attend notable community colleges, as well.

Which is the best school in Missouri?

The definition of the “best” school in Missouri really depends on your personal preferences, academic opportunities, campus culture, and other factors. However, in terms of ranking, the top universities in Missouri are Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Missouri, and Saint Louis University. Ultimately, the best school will support all of your endeavors. You can always research and visit different schools to know which one aligns best with your academic and personal goals before making a decision.

How to establish residency in Missouri for college

In order to establish residency, students cannot have ties to another state. Missouri residency can be obtained by living in Missouri for full-time employment, retirement, religious studies, or for a minimum of 12 months with proof that you’ll be living in the state for an indefinite period of time. That is, a home address you’ve established. Just be sure to check with the state guidelines before heading to the Midwest.

Visit for all college-related tips, as well as a full list of scholarships that will help fund your education.

Chanelle Garzon
Content Writer

About Chanelle

Chanelle is a dedicated and seasoned writer, editor, and researcher. She’s familiar with college admissions, finding and applying for scholarships, and the financial aid process.

She graduated from the University of South Florida with a major in English, Creative Writing with a specialization in Technical Writing.


Chanelle has over a decade of experience in the writing industry, specializing in blog writing, SEO writing, editing, translations, corporate writing, and various forms of creative writing. She founded and operated Femme Feature Magazine, an online and print publication dedicated to celebrating women in all corners of the creative field. An avid reader, Chanelle is constantly seeking refined and innovative ways to tell her stories. Writing is her foremost passion, and she is always on the lookout for her next narrative adventure.

Since joining the team as a Content Writer in 2023, Chanelle has brought her enthusiasm for merging the writing and digital worlds. She is dedicated to assisting students and young adults in navigating their educational and professional journeys.

Chanelle's unwavering commitment to her craft and her dedication to helping others shine through in her work. Leveraging her personal and professional experiences, she provides invaluable support to students, empowering them to achieve their goals and realize their potential.

Quote from Chanelle

“There is always a way to say the same thing over and over again. You just have to be creative and think outside the box.”

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