If you’re currently choosing your college of choice, it might be a good idea to look at the worst colleges in America to narrow down your search.
Heading to college? Well, it’s fair to say that this is no easy decision. Choosing where you want to live, what you want to study, and what college floats your boat can be difficult. There are so many things you need to weigh up when it comes to the school of your choice, and there can be a huge amount of pressure on youngsters’ shoulders to make the right decision. How do you know what the right decision is? What if you choose the wrong college?
One of the best ways to make sure that you choose the right college is to do your research. Of course, Ivy League schools almost always make their way to the top of the league tables, and most students understand their own capabilities when it comes to the acceptance rates. What people don’t realize, however, is that it’s often a good idea to look at the other end of the list. By checking out the worst colleges in America, this can help you decide where you definitely don’t want to go…
Grambling State University
If you’re looking for a college that has a thriving community and one that gives you the chance to make oodles of friends, then Grambling State University may be the one for you. However, these friendships come at a price – quite literally.
Around 4,000 undergraduates enroll here every new school year, and there’s no doubt about the fact that many of them enjoy their time at the school. Yet, 65% of students don’t get to graduate with a degree under their belt, and those that do graduate have to deal with an average debt of $25,732 when they step foot into the real world.
Fayetteville State University
Are you looking for a college in North Carolina? There’s no doubt about the fact that Fayetteville State University has some amazing perks on offer, but there are also some negatives. While this medium-sized college offers space for around 5,400 graduates every single year, it seems as though very few of them manage to make it out the other side.
This place has a graduation rate of just 33%, and the average return of investment stands at just $29,500 over the course of two decades. Obtaining a well-paid job after attending this college is crucial, as you don’t want to be in debt for the rest of your life.
California State University at Long Beach
California is often considered to be one of the most liberal states in the country, and it’s often the choice of many prospective students who want to embrace the liberal arts. However, California State University at Long Beach has been criticized for holding its students on a tight leash.
It’s been suggested that faculty members here do not allow their students to embark on free speech, and many minority groups have noted that they have been discriminated against over the course of their college journey. Because of this, more and more people seem to be avoiding this college and enrolling elsewhere instead.
If you fancy packing your bags and heading to Erie in Pennsylvania, you’ll be happy to know that Mercyhurst University is always looking for new applicants. They have around 2,600 undergraduate students every single year, but there’s no doubt about the fact that some of the numbers here don’t add up.
Students have to shell out around $176,000 for four years at college, and the median salary for graduates just out of college is $41,300. While this isn’t the worst salary on the list, there’s no doubt about the fact that this leaves people in the minus numbers.
The University of South Carolina at Aiken
The US is full of old and historic colleges that students just can’t wait to check out for themselves, but it’s fair to say that the University of South Carolina at Aiken is not one of them. This college is a relatively new addition to the higher education sector and has been welcoming students since 1961.
The University of South Carolina at Aiken enrolls just under 3,400 students every year, but it’s safe to say that a huge number of them jump ship when they realize that there’s nothing much to do in Aiken. With a graduation rate of just 41%, we’ve definitely seen better.
Mt. Sierra College
There are countless colleges in the state of California, and those who are interested in a career in technology or business normally make their way to Mt. Sierra College. This place is relatively new in terms of American institutions and has only been accepting students since 1990.
While the teachers here are often commended for their talent, it seems as though they just don’t have what it takes to keep the students on the roll call. Only 6.2% of those who sign up as undergraduates actually make it to the end of their college life and leave the school with a degree, which is a pretty low number.
If you’re currently weighing up your college options, it might be a good idea to give Shaw University a miss as it’s often ranked in the top five of the worst universities in the United States.
That might have something to do with the fact that this private institution has just a small number of students, and a huge number of them just don’t get the chance to graduate with a degree in their hands. In fact, only 23% of students manage to get to the end of their college career, and those graduates then have to leave with an average debt of $28,000.
Lindsey Wilson College
How does a move to Kentucky sound to you? Lindsey Wilson College has proved to be fairly popular over the years, but that doesn’t mean that it’s shrouded in positives. The private college welcomes around 2,600 students every year, but only a small portion of them get to the end of the road.
With a graduation rent of just 31%, it seems as though very few students decide that the Lindsey Wilson College is the perfect place for them. As if that wasn’t enough, graduates leave with an average student debt of around $21,000, which is even more reason for students to choose another college.
St. Augustine’s University
If you’re looking for a small university, it doesn’t get much smaller than St. Augustine’s University. This private college is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has under 1,000 students to its name, which is perfect for those who want a smaller school with fewer people.
However, it’s important to look into the negatives when it comes to colleges, and St. Augustine’s University has a few. One of the biggest drawbacks of this college is the fact that this place has a graduation rate of just 28%. The student loan default rate for ex-students is also extremely high, which is definitely something to consider when making your decision.
College of New Rochelle
The College of New Rochelle can be traced back to the 1900s when the institution was set up to give women the chance to expand their minds and learn more about the world. However, it has since become a co-educational college and is now accepting men and women from all walks of life.
They accept around 3,200 new students every single year, but that doesn’t mean that it ticks all of the boxes. Graduates have to cope with a negative return on investment, and it’s not a small number. In fact, it currently stands at around -$20,000, which means you’ll need to be extremely lucky in terms of your post-graduate career.
There are many people in this world who prefer smaller towns to big cities, and Goshen College is perfect for those who don’t want to get lost in the crowd. This Christian liberal arts college is home to just shy of 1,000 students, and it’s safe to say that everyone knows everyone.
However, that doesn’t mean that it should be at the top of your list. Goshen is known for being extremely expensive, and it’s been suggested that a four-year course will set you back $159,000. Couple that with the fact that your 20-year return on investment will be just -$29,000 and you have a problem.
Fountainhead College of Technology
As you can probably tell by the name, Fountainhead College of Technology is known for providing students with classes based around technology. Unfortunately, that’s all it’s really known for. The college itself is often considered to be in the top five of the worst schools in the country, and it’s not hard to see why.
Only a small number of students who head to this school actually graduate with a degree under their belts, and an even smaller number get to see a return on their investment. Because so many people who attend this college eventually drop out, it might not be worth it to begin with.
Texas is home to some of the best colleges in the country, but there’s no doubt about the fact that it’s also home to some of the worst. Texas College is often low down on the list, and that might have something to do with the awful numbers associated with it.
While the total cost for four years will set you back just $84,000 – which is relatively cheap compared to other colleges – the ROI is not good. 20 years after you graduate, you can expect yourself to still be in the minus numbers. In fact, you can expect yourself to be around 46,900 in the red.
Florida Memorial University
Florida has often been a popular choice for youngsters who want to move away from home and enjoy their adult life in the sunshine. Those who are able to afford a private college often make their way to the Florida Memorial University – but past students haven’t seen this investment pay off.
1,700 undergraduates enroll here every single year, and it costs them around $22,270 in fees to have that pleasure. However, the graduation rate at the Florida Memorial University is just 38%, and even then the median starting income for new grads stands at just $36,600. So, you might want to expect some serious student debts.
Black Hills State University
If you’re the kind of person that loves to be around nature and loves to be away from the big city, then the Black Hills State University may be the place for you. Located in Spearfish, South Dakota, this college boasts a whopping 123 acres of land and buildings spread across the whole campus.
This allows the 4,000 students to have their space and collect their thoughts in between lectures. However, those with high-income aspirations might want to rethink this college offer. That’s because Black Hills State University has a negative return on investment when it comes to student loans and median graduate income. Do you have the money to spend?
Saint Francis University
Saint Francis University is located in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and there’s no doubt about the fact that it’s situated in beautiful surroundings. Sitting on 600 acres of farmland and forests, this college is a private Catholic liberal arts institution that was founded in the mid-1800s.
While it’s great for those who want to make their way into the realm of healthcare, it’s fair to say that those who leave this college often struggle to make a return on their investment. The 20-year return on investment for Saint Francis University stands at -$26,000. It’s a risky move if you choose this college as your chosen institution.
Georgetown University is located in Washington, D.C., and is known for being one of the biggest colleges that this state has to offer. Although a large majority of the 17,000 students who attend this school are post-graduates looking to learn a thing or two at the Law School, Medical School, School of Business, School of Foreign Service, or more, many of them are also undergraduates.
Despite the fact that the academics can’t really be faulted, there’s no doubt about the fact that this college has a few negative traits. In the past, Georgetown faculty members have made a name for themselves as people that regularly shut down their students’ right to free speech.
State University of New York at Potsdam
Whether you know it as the State University of New York at Potsdam or SUNY, there’s no doubt about the fact that a college in New York has caught your attention at least once. This state has always been popular with those who want to experience a new way of life, and the State University of New York has often enticed new students with its four-year cost of $82,700.
However, that doesn’t mean that the return on investment is worth it. With a 20-year net return on investment that stands at -$34,000, it’s safe to say that this college will leave you in a huge amount of debt.
Morris College has been around since 1908, but it’s always been on the small side of things. Around 1,200 undergraduates call this place home every single year, but many of them have noted that the college is a little behind the times.
With outdated technology and a lack of modern additions, it should come as no surprise to hear that many students drop out or transfer to another school. The graduation rate lies at just 29%, and those that do make it to graduation normally head into jobs that have a median income of $32,000. This leaves them with a debt of around $26,000.
Mississippi Valley State University
Mississippi Valley State University is a college that is known historically for welcoming black students and has made a name for itself as an HBCU. Around 2,300 undergraduates make their way into the lecture halls every single year, but that doesn’t mean that all of them stay to stand the test of time.
Only 22% of students graduate at the end of their college career, and it’s safe to say that the return on investment is pretty low. Because of this, it seems as though people are starting to avoid this college and go elsewhere. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone avoids it.
The University of Montevallo
If the idea of living in Alabama tickles your fancy, there’s a high chance that you have been drawn to the sights and the sounds of the University of Montevallo. This college may be surrounded by flowers and foliage, but it’s safe to say that it hasn’t done too well in terms of university rankings.
Since 1896, the University of Montevallo has welcomed a new bunch of undergraduates every single year – but a huge number of them don’t stick around. In fact, only 47% of students graduate at the end of their college career, and even then their return on investment is just over $20,000.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary first welcomed students into its hallowed halls in 1859, and it’s now considered to be one of the oldest seminaries within the Southern Baptist Convention. With just over 3,000 students to its name, it’s safe to say that the college is smaller than some of the other universities on this list.
Around 46% of people who attend this college manage to graduate with a degree under their belts, but there’s no doubt about the fact that the return on investment isn’t the greatest on this list. In fact, many students find themselves in a huge amount of debt even 20 years after they graduate.
Jackson State University
Jackson State University has certainly made a name for itself in terms of its inclusivity, and most people know it as one of the biggest HBCU (historically black college and universities) colleges in the country. Those who attend this college take classes that focus on research and new information, but that doesn’t mean that it pays off in the end.
In fact, the Jackson State University is notorious for having an awful return on investment in terms of student debt and median salaries post-college. That’s why more and more people seem to be steering clear of it and opting for another college instead.
Columbia College Hollywood
With a name like Columbia College Hollywood, and with buildings in and around Los Angeles, you don’t need to be a genius to know that this college is pretty niche. Focusing on the world of film and media studies, many aspiring scriptwriters and special effects artists shell out the hefty tuition fees to graduate with a degree from this seemingly prestigious college.
However, you’ll have to pay around $10,000 more than the average college for this privilege, and even then you may only be one of the 35% of students who actually graduate. If you do graduate, you then have to traverse the wild world of Hollywood and hope to obtain solid employment.
Christian schools are incredibly popular in the US, and Johnson University in Tennessee is often chosen by students who want a quieter college life. With just under 700 undergraduates accepted every single year, this place certainly gives students the chance to enjoy an education that’s calm and collected.
63% of students graduate from this college every single year, which is certainly a good number compared to some other colleges on this list. However, those who attend Johnson University often struggle to make their way into the career world and earn less than the national median salary for many years after they graduate.
Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Claflin University is popular with those who want to study in a small environment. Degrees largely focus on subjects such as Sociology, Criminal Justice, Organizational Behavior Studies, and more, and it seems as though many students love this place.
However, only 53% of students manage to make their way through the whole process and don their cap and gown, and only 86% are employed six years after graduation. Many people make their way to college to obtain the job they want as soon as they graduate, so it’s best to weigh up your options before making a final decision.
It’s not every day that a college is dues by the Federal Trade Commission, but that’s exactly what happened to this Illinois university. DeVry University was penalized for giving its students misleading information in regards to their chances of obtaining a job after college – and it’s safe to say that this reputation has stuck.
As if that wasn’t enough to put you off, only 29% of those who attend this college actually make it to graduation. Couple that with a post-graduate debt of $43,000 and you probably don’t need another reason to scrap this college from your list of potentials.
Nazarene Bible College
If you’ve always wanted to attend a private religious college to study philosophy, then there’s no doubt about the fact Nazarene Bible College is the place for you. It ticks all of your boxes if that’s exactly what you want, but that doesn’t mean that this university is full of positives.
That’s because a large portion of the people who obtain a philosophy degree from Nazarene struggle to obtain a job when they graduate. That’s because jobs in the realm of philosophy are few and far between, and most graduates have to be offered part-time teaching posts because of this. This means that they don’t get to experience full-time privileges.
Most colleges in America feature students that study full-time while working on the side to help pay the bills. However, it’s a little different at Stratford University. This Virginian college has a student body that consists largely of students who work full-time and study on the side.
They do this through online classes, short classroom programs, and other features that suit someone who only has a short amount of time to study. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t work in favor of the students themselves. Those who do not have the time or energy to focus solely on their studies are more likely to drop out, which is probably why the graduation rate is just 30%.
Pacific Oaks College
If you’re looking for a private college, it may be that Pacific Oaks College is on your list. This Californian college is fairly small and normally houses around 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students every single year. Very little is known about this college, and it seems that those who attend this school aren’t too keen to give away any secrets.
This, coupled with the fact that it’s a very small college, leads many people to believe that it’s not the college for them. After all, those who attend niche colleges normally struggle to obtain a well-paid career at the end of their journey.
California State University Los Angeles
Who doesn’t want to live their best lives in Los Angeles? The City of Angels is a hugely popular destination for college students, and around 27,000 students enroll at this college every single year. There’s no doubt about the fact that this college is pretty huge, and it’s also pretty impressive in terms of the degrees on offer.
However, the college has often come under fire for its practices and its control over its students. This came to a head when the college imposed a tax on free speech. While this has since been abolished, its reputation has been tarnished because of it.
Philander Smith College
Philander Smith College celebrates those from minority backgrounds, and it’s long been held as one of the most influential HBCUs in the country. However, one thing that puts prospective students off this college is the fact that it’s extremely small. With just 760 students here, you’d expect that a large portion of them would be able to stick out their college career and graduate when they reach the end.
However, a huge number of students drop out, and only 30% of students eventually graduate. As if that wasn’t enough, the average student earns almost $10,000 below the national average six years after graduation.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Although many public colleges have made their way onto this list, it’s fair to say that numerous private colleges also sit alongside them. That’s certainly the case for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. The college was established in 1824, and there’s no doubt about the fact that a fair number of undergraduates make their way through the gates every single year.
However, the college has come under fire over the past few years for trying to restrict the free speech of its students. Couple this with the fact that many of their policies are outdated, and you have some pretty unhappy students.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago is a hugely popular destination for college students, and it seems as though everyone wants to make their way to the Windy City. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is great for those who want to make a name for themselves in the art and design world – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work out that way.
A four-year stint at this college will set you back $230,000, and the average 20-year return of an investment will put you in the minus numbers. To be exact, the ROI here stands at -$25,000, which is not very appealing for prospective students.
University of the District of Columbia
If you have always wanted to live out your college career in an urban environment, then the University of the District of Columbia may just be the place for you. That’s because this college is right in the heart of the urban district of Washington, D.C. but still has a relatively small student body.
This gives you the chance to experience city life while also getting the chance to make your mark, and it seems as though some people love this vibe. However, it’s a little disconcerting to learn that only 32% of those who attend this college leave with a college degree under their belts.
Welcoming around 660 undergraduates every single year, Bennington College in Vermont has proven to be pretty popular for those wanting to start their career within the realm of liberal arts. The college was originally opened as a women’s college in 1932 but was later opened up to men around three decades later.
Since then, students have been able to study under the teachings of competent professors, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any negatives. The college is extremely expensive, and the return on investment is pretty low. This has made many prospective students wonder whether all of the extra money is worth it.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Whether you know it as Bard College at Simon’s Rock or simply Simon’s Rock, this liberal arts college resides in Massachusetts, and has done so since the mid-1800s. This college is known for welcoming younger students than other colleges, and its reputation as an “early college” has worked both in its favor and against its favor.
However, this college is pretty pricey, and the professors are known to be pretty harsh on their students. In fact, 35% of students have noted that the workload is easy to manage, while the rest have struggled throughout the whole process. Is that the kind of place you want to call home?
St. John’s College
St. John’s College is located in Annapolis, Maryland, and there’s no doubt about the fact that the college and its surroundings are pretty stunning. The impressive architecture and the luscious trees can’t quite hide the fact that many of the students here decide to leave their studies or transfer to another college as the years go by.
As if that wasn’t enough, it’s been suggested that the return on investment isn’t as high as many students would like. To top it all off, only 67% of students feel confident that their college degree from St. John’s College will help them obtain a job in their chosen field.
If Vermont is on your list of places you’d like to move to for college, then it may be that Marlboro College is also at the top of your list. This private liberal arts college allows students to follow an individualized course of study, but that doesn’t mean that it’s shrouded in positives.
The quirky school doesn’t sit too well with some students, and they end up leaving before they can obtain their degree. With a graduation rate of just 52%, it’s not the worst college on this list, but it’s also not the best. So, it’s up to you whether you decided to try it for yourself or not.
Warren Wilson College
Located in North Carolina, the Warren Wilson College is a private liberal arts college that welcomes around 650 undergraduates every single year. Because of this, it’s much smaller than some of the other colleges on this list. While many students praise this college on its diversity, value for money has been rated extremely low.
The college graduates around 53% of students every single year, but these graduates are notorious for their low starting salaries. With this in mind, the return on investment is something you might want to weigh up before making your decision. After all, it’s not a decision you should take lightly.