Best Colleges in Oklahoma

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For any high school senior going through the stress of figuring out where to attend the next four critical years of your future, I just want to say don't let it get to you or intimidate you. Some of the best colleges in Oklahoma could be a winner for you.

Choosing a college is truly a process that requires trial and error, as you may fall in love with an area you never considered prior. I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and pursue environments you never thought to consider.

Oklahoma, known as the Sooner State, offers a wide range of college options for students seeking higher education. Whether you're interested in public or private institutions or even online programs, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue your academic goals.

I want to introduce you to some of the best colleges in Oklahoma, exploring their rankings, benefits, and strengths. So, let's get started by understanding the criteria used to evaluate these esteemed institutions.

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Best Public Colleges in Oklahoma

Why Public Schools?

The first decision you should consider before deciding between a university is deciding whether your want a public or private institution. There are a lot of benefit of going to a public school, including in-state tuition.

If you are currently a resident in the state of your institutions location, then you qualify for a significant discount in tuition. This can make attending an in-state college more affordable, particularly for students and families who may be budget-conscious or seeking to minimize student loan debt.

On the plus side, there is a sense of familiarity and comfort in attending a school that is near your hometown. You are able to identify resources or potential career opportunities in the area.

1. University of Oklahoma (OU)

Located in Norman, Oklahoma, The University of Oklahoma (OU) remains a symbol of academic excellence and tradition. As the state's flagship public research university, OU offers a vibrant and diverse community dedicated to fostering innovation, leadership, and scholarship. Boasting a rich history dating since 1890, OU combines a storied past with a forward-thinking approach to education, preparing students to excel in an ever-changing world.

Some of it's most top ranked programs include fields ranging from engineering and business to the arts and sciences, OU provides students with unparalleled opportunities for academic and personal growth.

Beyond the classroom, the university's spirited campus life, championship-caliber athletics, and strong ties to the local community create an enriching and dynamic collegiate experience.

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2. Oklahoma State University

Located in the bustling city of Stillwater, Oklahoma State University (OSU) is a leading institution that stands with academic excellence and innovation. Created in 1890, OSU has excelled into a renowned public research institution, renowned for its commitment to student success and groundbreaking discoveries.

The school offers a diverse array of programs spanning disciplines from agriculture and engineering to business and the arts. At OSU, there is a world-class education coupled with hands-on learning experiences applicable to just about every student.

Moving beyond the classroom, The Oklahoma State University Institute boasts a vibrant campus life, including spirited athletics, thriving student organizations, and a welcoming community atmosphere. With state-of-the-art facilities, top-tier faculty, and a legacy of excellence, Oklahoma State University empowers students to fulfill their life passions.

central oklahoma

3. University of Central Oklahoma

The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) excels in a range of academic disciplines, with notable strengths in several key areas. UCO has access to some of the most highly skilled educators across various levels and specialties.

In fact, its Business Administration offers comprehensive business programs, emphasizing experiential learning and professional development to equip students for success in the dynamic world of business.

In a similar vein, UCO also shines in health sciences, providing students with cutting-edge facilities and hands-on experiences in nursing, nutrition, kinesiology, and allied health fields.

UCO has a big emphasis on STEM education, offering majors in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering physics, and mathematics and emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration and research opportunities.

4. Northeastern State University

Not to be confused with Northeastern University in Boston, Northeastern State University is located in the sweet town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Northeastern State University (NSU) places a lot of emphasis on academic resilience and cultural diversity.

Since it's establishment in 1940, the university has been impacting lives since 1940. Today, the university offers a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs, ranging from education and business to health sciences and the arts.

With a strong focus on student success and community engagement, NSU provides a supportive learning environment where students can thrive academically and personally. Through these engaging learning experiences, innovative research opportunities, and a vibrant campus life, Northeastern State University prepares students to become leaders in their fields and make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.

Best Private Colleges in Oklahoma

Why Private Universities?

While public schools are an incredible option, there are plenty of benefits associated with private schools as well. Private colleges can offer students a wealth of opportunities beyond what might be available at public institutions. With more intimate class sizes and often higher levels of financial resources per student, private colleges can provide a more personalized educational experience.

This means greater opportunities for personalized attention from professors, mentorship, and hands-on learning experiences. There is more accessible to you because you have to fight less to obtain them. Additionally, private colleges often have more flexibility in designing their curricula and programs, allowing them to tailor educational experiences to meet the evolving needs of students and industries.

Moreover, private colleges have a more successful network of alumni and industry connections, providing you with more valuable connections to dream opportunities, internships, and career placements.

university of tulsa

1. University of Tulsa

Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this university is one of the most vibrant and successful universities in the state. Operating on a semester-based academic calendar, TU is ranked #195 among National Universities in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges.

A unique aspect of TU is that students graduate with two transcripts - one academic and a Co-Curricular one. The unique Co-Curricular Transcript (CCT) documents students' involvement in clubs, leadership positions, and acquired skills alongside their academic transcript.

With over 200 student clubs and a thriving Greek system, the campus fosters a vibrant community. Sporting the Golden Hurricane teams in Division I athletics, TU offers a range of campus events like Hurricane Thursdays. Located just two miles from downtown Tulsa, students enjoy easy access to cultural and entertainment hubs.

2. Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City University (OCU) is a prestigious private institution located in the heart of Oklahoma City. There are a variety of different undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines, including arts, sciences, business, law, and health sciences.

3. Oral Roberts University

Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a prestigious Christian liberal arts university located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Established in 1963 by evangelist Oral Roberts, the university is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and global outreach.

Here, there is a strong emphasis on faith-based education; ORU offers a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines, including business, education, theology, and healthcare. The university's vibrant campus community fosters personal development and leadership skills, preparing students to make a positive impact in their professions and communities.

4. Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University, another distinguished Christian liberal arts institution, is located in Bethany, Oklahoma. SNU is deeply rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, emphasizing academic excellence, spiritual formation, and service to others. Majority of the student population come from a relatively religious background.

Offering a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs, including business, education, nursing, and theology, SNU provides students with a nurturing and inclusive community that fosters personal and professional growth.

best community colleges in oklahoma

Best Community Colleges in Oklahoma

Why Community College?

While most students choose to pursue a traditional four-year education following college, many actually opt for a community college route. Although it typically gets a bad reputation, there are actually many pros of choosing this path.

Its appeal lies in its cost-effectiveness, with lower tuition fees compared to four-year institutions, making education financially viable for students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

By completing general education requirements and introductory courses at community colleges, students can significantly reduce the financial burden of obtaining a degree. Moreover, community colleges often have articulation agreements with universities, enabling seamless credit transfers and allowing students to complete their majors at a lower cost.

1. Tulsa Community College

Tulsa Community College offers many benefits and is a great school to begin the initial years of your bachelor's degree. Tulsa Community College (TCC) stands as a strong pathway to achieving higher education, offering accessible pathways to success for students of all backgrounds.

With multiple campuses across the Tulsa metropolitan area, Tulsa Community College provides affordable tuition rates, flexible scheduling options, and a wide range of academic and vocational programs.

Students benefit from personalized support services, including tutoring, counseling, and career guidance, ensuring their academic and professional success. There are so many avenues to explore here - whether that be pursuing an associate degree or certificate program or seeking to transfer to a four-year institution. TCC empowers students to achieve their educational and career goals.

2. Oklahoma City Community College

OCCC provides two-year associate degrees and certificates, equipping students for both immediate employment and seamless transfer to four-year institutions. With over 60 degree programs, state-of-the-art technology, and small class sizes, OCCC ensures a personalized and cutting-edge educational experience.

In their dedication to creating cultural diversity and extensive support services, including for international students and English language learners, OCCC fosters an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Furthermore, OCCC alumni have gone on to excel in various fields, cementing its reputation as a cornerstone of higher education in Oklahoma.

3. Rose State College

From a financial aid standpoint, Rose State College gives over $30 million in scholarships and grants every year. While this number is distributed among the entire student population, there is a lot of opportunity to graduate debt-free in a college as generous as this.

Furthermore, Rose State was declared as the best online community college in Oklahoma. For any student hoping to complete the first two years of their undergraduate with a lot of flexibility, Rose State could be great for you.

4. Northern Oklahoma College

Northern Oklahoma college is a public community college mainly in Tonkwa, Oklahoma yet also have campuses on Stillwater and Enid as well. Students at Oklahoma City Community College have the autonomy to pursue degrees and certificates in 27 diverse fields of study. Among those, the most popular programs are Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse, General Studies, and Management Information Systems, General.

Other Notable Colleges in Oklahoma

While the schools above are some of the most reputable in the country, there are tons of public and private universities in Oklahoma. Students can cast a wide net when exploring which options could work with their schedules. Here are some others I also recommend you consider applying to:

  • Oklahoma Panhandle State University
  • Northwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Southwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University
  • Rogers State University
  • Oklahoma Baptist University
  • Oklahoma Christian University
  • Oklahoma Wesleyan University
  • Southwestern Christian University
  • East Central university
oklahoma colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Oklahoma Colleges

How many colleges are in Oklahoma?

There are so many options to choose from in Oklahoma. While not every college will appeal to your future ambitions, there are an abundance of colleges and universities that offer a variety of different expectations.

I believe that there are around 40 public and private colleges and universities in Oklahoma, including both two-year and four-year institutions. These range from community colleges and technical schools to comprehensive universities and research institutions.

How many community colleges are in Oklahoma?

While this number can change with recent closures or even the opposite, the comfort of knowing that there are places for you to go is vast in Oklahoma. According to rankings online, there seem to be 17 reputable community colleges in Oklahoma.

How much does college cost in Oklahoma?

The cost of college in Oklahoma can vary depending on several factors, including whether the institution is public or private, whether the student is an in-state or out-of-state resident, the specific college or university attended, and whether the student lives on or off campus.

I suggest applying to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to receive a better estimate of how much your education will cost. To lower any financial burdens, you should probably begin applying for scholarships via your school's website or Bold.org!

Have more questions or want to explore schools in other beautiful states? Browse our Scholarship Blog to stay up to date and find information to help you through your college process.