Discover Top Colleges in South Texas for an Empowering Education
South Texas contains numerous highly esteemed colleges and universities that fully prepare and empower students to achieve their biggest academic and career aspirations. These exceptional institutions provide access to top-tier faculty, groundbreaking research initiatives, abundant resources, robust student support services, and much more to set students up for immense success now and in the future. This comprehensive guide takes an in-depth look at the standout colleges in South Texas, thoroughly assessing crucial factors like national and global rankings, academic rigor, research prominence, career outcomes, campus culture, and overall value and affordability. It also shares insider tips to help prospective students and parents make fully informed, strategic decisions when searching for the best college fit.
Leading Colleges in South Texas
The University of Texas at Austin
- Average Net Price: $17,519
- Graduation Rate: 82.03%
- Retention Rate: 96.54%
- Median Earnings: $72,713
UT Austin, the flagship campus of the prestigious UT system, earns the #42 rank nationally and #41 globally. Enveloping more than 50,000 students, it serves as a formidable public research institution, offering 180+ challenging undergraduate degrees and 100+ graduate degrees across diverse fields such as engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, and beyond. UT Austin, fueled by generous research funding and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, empowers students to attain unparalleled feats in discovery and scholarship. It provides an intellectually thrilling environment for those seeking a large, vibrant campus adjacent to the eclectic city of Austin.
Texas A&M University
- Average Net Price: $20,976
- Graduation Rate: 83.23%
- Retention Rate: 93.59%
- Median Earnings: $70,877
Texas A&M, another premier public research university, ranks #52 globally and #51 nationally. It confers over 120 undergraduate degrees and 200+ graduate degrees across a vast range of academic disciplines. With over $1 billion in annual research expenditures, Texas A&M steeps students in robust academic vigor within a spirited scholastic community on its thriving College Station campus. The university immerses students in traditions and Aggie pride while providing access to 10 different colleges spanning programs in engineering, sciences, liberal arts, agriculture, and more.
- Average Net Price: $17,805
- Graduation Rate: 94.06%
- Retention Rate: 96.87%
- Median Earnings: $87,254
This leading private research university in Houston holds the #17 global rank and #18 US rank. Rice proffers over 40 undergraduate degrees and 50+ graduate degrees with an emphasis on pioneering discovery and research. Its 6,800 students access decorated faculty, abundant research collaborations, and a tight-knit residential college system during their academic journey. Rice delivers world-class academics within a beautifully landscaped 295-acre campus in the heart of Houston.
- Average Net Price: $37,248
- Graduation Rate: 77.72%
- Retention Rate: 89.43%
- Median Earnings: $62,913
As the largest private Christian university in Texas, Baylor ranks #47 globally and #50 nationally. It bestows 130+ comprehensive undergraduate degrees and 60+ graduate degrees, anchoring its rigorous academics in Christian tradition and values. With intimate student-faculty bonds and expanding research initiatives, Baylor nourishes holistic personal growth alongside academic excellence for its 17,000 diverse students. Students experience Baylor’s baptist heritage while forming connections across 200+ campus organizations.
Other Notable South Texas Colleges
The University of Texas at San Antonio
- Average Net Price: $10,489
- Graduation Rate: 51.95%
- Retention Rate: 77.71%
- Median Earnings: $54,117
UTSA boasts an enrollment of over 30,000 students and presents an extensive array of 145 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, encompassing liberal arts, sciences, engineering, business, architecture, and beyond. This large public urban research university has risen rapidly in rankings and reputation.
Texas Tech University
- Average Net Price: $17,313
- Graduation Rate: 62.88%
- Retention Rate: 86.26%
- Median Earnings: $60,456
As a public research university, Texas Tech grants over 150 undergraduate and graduate degrees across 10 colleges and schools. Its campus in Lubbock provides a friendly college-town atmosphere.
Texas State University
- Average Net Price: $17,033
- Graduation Rate: 61.77%
- Retention Rate: 76.89%
- Median Earnings: $53,885
This public university located in San Marcos, TX confers over 200 degree programs to nearly 40,000 students. It provides an affordable, inclusive education focused on student success.
Prairie View A&M University
- Average Net Price: $14,847
- Graduation Rate: 45.19%
- Retention Rate: 74.42%
- Median Earnings: $43,390
As an HBCU, Prairie View A&M uplifts underrepresented minorities by providing STEM and other degree programs imbued with leadership development and social justice values.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a College
When evaluating potential colleges, start by comparing academic program rankings and reputations in your prospective major across institutions. Analyze overall value and affordability, weighing tuition costs against available financial aid options as well as expected career earnings post-graduation. Assess opportunities for hands-on learning via research projects, internships, study abroad programs, and service initiatives. Review four-year graduation rates and career placement outcomes to gauge student success. Finally, visit campuses in person to discern culture and fit. Tour facilities and spaces like dorms, labs, libraries, rec centers, and more. Connect with current students to gain authentic insider perspectives on academics, social life, housing, food, and more.
College Planning Insights for Parents
For parents guiding students through the college search process, first have your child articulate their specific academic interests, future career goals, extracurricular passions, and lifestyle preferences. Encourage your student to create a balanced college list that includes academic safety, target, and reach options spanning large public schools, smaller private colleges, in-state, out-of-state, rural, urban, and more. Compare financial aid packages and calculate true out-of-pocket costs per year for each school. Tour campuses together to get a feel for the environment. Have your child directly engage with current students to gain insights into academics, student life, and student supports. Provide wisdom to help your child make informed choices, but let their voice lead when selecting a college that empowers their aspirations.
Preparing for College Success
To optimize their experience at any leading college in South Texas, students should:
- Take the most rigorous STEM, writing, humanities, and other core academic courses available to construct a rock-solid educational foundation.
- Engage in pertinent student organizations, seize leadership opportunities, cooperate on projects, and cultivate talents for teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
- Seek immersive learning via internships, faculty-led research, study abroad programs, service initiatives, and other hands-on experiences.
- Utilize career center support early and often for resume/cover letter writing, interview prep, networking events, job fairs, graduate school advice, and more.
- Build strong relationships and connections with professors, academic advisors, mentors, and university staff.
- Proactively seek academic assistance like tutoring or study groups for challenging courses.
- Seize all available academic, professional, and personal growth opportunities to their fullest extent.
Thriving and flourishing, students fully immerse themselves in all the top-tier college offers, acquiring expertise, experiences, connections, credentials, and confidence essential for launching into meaningful careers post-graduation. South Texas abounds with exceptional colleges and universities, offering endless opportunities for personal, professional, and intellectual growth.
[U.S. News & World Report](https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/rankings): This magazine publishes annual rankings of colleges and universities based on a variety of factors, including academic reputation, student outcomes, and cost.
[CollegeData](https://www.collegedata.com/): This website provides data on colleges and universities, including tuition, financial aid, and student outcomes.
[Niche](https://www.niche.com/colleges/): This website provides reviews of colleges and universities from students, parents, and alumni.
[Payscale](https://www.payscale.com/): This website provides data on salaries and job prospects for college graduates.
* [University of Texas at Austin](https://www.utexas.edu/)
* [Texas A&M University-College Station](https://www.tamu.edu/)
* [Rice University](https://www.rice.edu/)
* [Baylor University](https://www.baylor.edu/)
* [Southern Methodist University](https://www.smu.edu/)