Resources for Students in California

Find out everything you need to know about college in the Golden State with our guide for students in California. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Going to College in the Golden State

As the most populous state in the U.S., California is a major player in higher education. The Golden State ranks first in the nation for college enrollment, with more than 2.58 million students attending California colleges in the fall of 2020.

California is also home to some of the country’s top colleges, including UCLA, Stanford, and UC Berkeley.

Our guide to resources for students in California gives you an overview of higher education in the Golden State. Read on to learn about college planning, top schools, and career options after graduation.

Best Colleges in California + Full List of Schools

Best Colleges in California + Full List of Schools

Between top schools and sunny weather, California has a lot to offer. Discover the best colleges in California and get a full list of schools in the state.

Updated September 7, 2023

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Frequently Asked Questions About California Colleges

What is the hardest school to get into in California?

Stanford and Caltech rank as the most selective colleges in California. As of 2023, Stanford boasts an acceptance rate of 3.68%. Caltech maintains a similarly exclusive acceptance rate of 3.9%.

Stanford receives a huge number of applicants each year, accepting just 2,075 students from a pool of over 56,000 in 2023. The same year, Caltech accepted just 510 students from an applicant pool of over 13,000.

How many colleges are in California?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, California is home to more than 200 four-year colleges and universities. The state has 248 two-year colleges, including community colleges and vocational schools.

California also has 194 colleges that take under two years to graduate, such as beauty schools and other technical training centers.

What is the largest college in California?

USC ranks as the largest college in California by enrollment, with about 49,000 students enrolled in 2023. Graduate students make up the majority of USC’s student population, with 28,000 students. UCLA ranks as the second-largest school by enrollment, with 46,430 students.

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