Known as a "public Ivy," the University of Virginia offers in-state students a top-notch education at a reasonable price. What's more, students live and study inside a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the only U.S. college to have that designation), featuring a spectacularly beautiful campus designed by university founder Thomas Jefferson.

Students seem to thrive: UVA has the highest graduation rate of any public university in the country, at 94%. It offers undergraduate programs in subjects like astronomy, environmental thought and practice, medieval studies, Slavic languages and literature, and architecture. The school's roughly 17,000-person student body is not particularly diverse economically, with about 14% of undergrads coming from low-income families.

The Cavaliers field 25 Division I varsity sports teams, and many are strong; its men's basketball team won an NCAA title in 2019. Greek life also plays a major role in the social scene – about 35% of undergraduates take part in a sorority or fraternity – as do a handful of secret societies.

But everyone has to make sure they're on good behavior: UVA has an honor code that forbids students from lying, cheating or stealing, though in 2022, students voted to ease the punishment for violations.