Although Notre Dame is a Catholic school and requires students to take at least two theology courses, it welcomes students of all faiths. Its 15% acceptance rate places it among the most selective colleges on Money’s list. The university may be best known for its humanities and business programs, but it's also strong in the sciences. The school says 84% of its pre-med grads are accepted to medical school — twice the national average.

About 96% of students finish within six years, meaning Notre Dame also has one of the highest graduation rates in Money's rankings. Students fare very well on the job market, with early-career salaries about $93,000 in the decade after enrolling. Many go on to celebrated careers: Grads include the late talk show host Regis Philbin, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and actor Mark Consuelos.

Notre Dame's Fighting Irish, including the football team, compete in Division I athletics. Sports are a big part of the university's social life, especially because there are no sororities or fraternities at Notre Dame. If you’re in town for a game, don’t forget to stop by “Touchdown Jesus” — a beloved 134 foot high mural near the football stadium. South Bend has museums, shops and restaurants aplenty, but if students are looking for more, Chicago is only a train (or bus) ride away.