Georgia Tech gets results: The school has a graduation rate of 89%, and students go on to earn median salaries of around $96,000 a decade after enrolling, according to the federal College Scorecard.

These impressive numbers are no accident. Georgia Tech only accepts about 16% of applicants, and its courses are rigorous. Students have ample opportunities to assist in faculty research, as well as pursue engaging minors like Korean, science fiction studies and naval science.

There's plenty to do on campus and in its Atlanta homebase. Students can walk to Centennial Olympic Park or check out music festivals like Shaky Knees. Each year, Georgia Tech rents out a Six Flags theme park so that faculty, staff, alumni and friends can enjoy the rides without long lines. ("We have a helluva good time," the school website brags.)

Students looking for on-campus fun can cheer on one of the school’s many varsity teams, with the football team being particularly revered. Homecoming week for the Yellow Jackets comes with a full lineup of traditions, including a tricycle competition and a foot race that awards cakes to the winners and cupcakes to all participants.

Students carry on one of the more intense college football rivalries in the country against the University of Georgia Bulldogs, which they first faced back in 1893. Georgia Tech students are known to describe the attitude toward their rival as "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate."