With more than 55,000 undergraduates, Texas A&M is one of the largest schools in the country. It's also just plain big, covering 5,200 acres in College Station. To help students ease into such a large community, first-year students participate in what’s called “Hullabaloo U,” a small class that introduces campus resources and gives freshmen access to a peer mentor.

Best known for its business, agriculture and engineering programs, Texas A&M also has one of the country's largest programs in recreation, park and tourism management. The school boasts an 83% graduation rate — about 6% higher than predicted based on the composition of students, according to Money’s calculations. Aggies tend to thrive financially after leaving school, with median earnings above $70,000.

The school has a rich military tradition; the Corps of Cadets is the oldest student organization on campus (but military service isn't mandatory). Athletics, however, may be the most vibrant element of campus culture. Some 12,000 Aggies play either team or club sports, taking part in crew, fencing, ice hockey, paintball, gymnastics and more. Football is a fan favorite. In fact, the school refers to all students and alumni as "the 12th Man" to symbolize their readiness to jump onto the football field if needed. It's a tradition that dates back to 1922.

Another tradition is the presence of Reveille — a collie with the title "First Lady of Aggieland" — on campus.