Students at Washington University in St. Louis say they study hard, like to party, love their school and get frustrated if people haven't heard of it (or think it's in D.C. or Washington state). Make no mistake: The college is headquartered in Missouri and simply named after the nation’s first president.

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Academics are rigorous at this private research university, and students report that A's are elusive. As a result, competition is fierce, especially among students in the popular engineering, social sciences and business programs. But the hustle pays off: The six-year graduation rate is almost 94%, and students post median earnings of about $90,600 a decade after enrolling.

WashU has a thriving social scene. The Loop — an area within walking distance of campus — offers restaurants, shopping and plentiful bar options. As far as campus goes, students praise the amenities, particularly the food and dorms (they're modern, with air conditioning, carpet, laundry facilities and big living spaces). Intramural sports teams like soccer, volleyball and flag football are popular and free to play (there's a forfeit deposit, but you get refunded at the end of the semester if you don't forfeit). The school also brags that it's environmentally conscious, eliminating over half a million plastic bottles every year.