MIT is one of the world's most respected science schools, and for good reason.

For starters, it has a notoriously competitive selection process — only about 4% of applicants are accepted. Then there's the grueling workload, which includes physics, biology, chemistry and calculus as required courses. And, of course, MIT's professors are world class, with 10 Nobel laureates currently on the faculty.

Learning from some of the best pays off: Most of the 95% of Techies who graduate within six years tend to do well. The median salary a decade after enrolling tops $124,000 — one of the highest among all the schools Money analyzed. While MIT isn't exactly a bargain, all students get some form of grant or scholarship to help them pay.

MIT has a diverse student body, and the 166-acre campus in Cambridge gives students access to nightlife as well as the cultural activities of nearby Boston. MIT alone has a dozen galleries and museums on campus.

When not appreciating the arts, Techies are known for creative, nerdy fun, like playing Quidditch or experimenting in the Laboratory for Chocolate Science.