Although it's known for having one of the largest freshman classes in the Ivy League (about 2,400 students), the University of Pennsylvania is still wildly tough to get into. Its acceptance rate for the class of 2025 was about 6%.

Once admitted, however, Penn students clearly thrive: 96% of students graduate within 6 years, giving Penn one of the highest graduation rates in Money's rankings. Among the most elite departments within Penn are business and economics, which are notoriously demanding. Students in introductory economics hold a midnight "Econ scream" just before midterms where they gather and scream in ahead of the test in the name of stress relief. It may all be worth it, however, given how highly employers value degrees from the university. The median earnings for students who attended Penn rise to more than $112,000 within ten years — so it’s no wonder that the university ranks among the top six schools on Money’s list for student outcomes.

For fun, Penn hosts Spring Fling the last week of classes, touted as the largest college party on the East Coast. Past headliners at the two-day bash, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023, have included Kesha, Ludacris and David Guetta. Another fun tradition is a bit more unusual: During every home football game, students toss thousands of pieces of toast onto the field as a toast to the school.