High school students usually start looking for colleges and universities as early as their sophomore year. Throughout their entire high school career, students are preparing for college through their GPA, standardized test preparation and extracurricular activities that will impress admission offices. High school students who strive hard to accomplish high achievement in the above benchmarks might have a chance at enrolling in one of the United States' top 10 colleges.

Princeton University

One of the most prestigious and selective Ivy League schools, Princeton University was founded in 1746 and is located in Princeton, NJ. The annual tuition is $35,340 (See References 1 and 2). Princeton provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in engineering, the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, and boasts an art museum and a history museum on campus. Princeton's main library has more than 5 million books. Out of 15,000 applications, 90 percent will receive a rejection letter, according to stateuniversity.com (See Reference 1). Fun fact: Albert Einstein began teaching at Princeton in the early 1930s.

Harvard University

Harvard is universally considered the top American university. It was founded in 1636, making it the oldest university in the US. This highly regarded Ivy League school is located in Cambridge, MA, and according to statuniversity.com, Harvard only accepts the "best of the best" (See Reference 1). As of 2010, its annual annual tuition is $37,012 (See References 1 and 2). Harvard Law School is one of the most prestigious law schools in the world, and its other schools such as medical, divinity and business are equally well-regarded. Famous alumni include: W.E.B DuBois, Theodore Roosevelt and Henry David Thoreau (See Reference 1).

Yale University

Yale University was founded in 1701 and is located in New Haven, CT. Annual tuition as of 2010 is $36,500 (See References 1 and 2). According to stateuniversity.com, Yale is home of the seventh largest research library in the world (See Reference 1). Yale University is made up of three main academic centers: Yale College (its undergraduate program), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and its professional schools, such as its top-notch law school. Yale has 2,000 undergraduate courses in its liberal arts and science programs in more than 65 departments. The university hosts a wide array of libraries, museums and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

Stanford University

Stanford , founded in 1885, is located in Stanford, CA, and is a world renowned research, science and teaching university. It boasts premier law, engineering, business and medical schools. The tuition for Stanford University is $37,881 a year as of 2010, according to "US News and World Report" (See Reference 2). According to stateuniversity.com, 70 percent of the college's student to teacher ratio is 20-to-1 (See References 1). Out of 22,000 applicants only 1,600 are accepted. Famous alumni include: Herbert Hoover, Fred Savage and Ted Koppel (See References 1).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, popularly known as MIT, is located in Cambridge, MA, and was founded in 1861. Annual tuition as of 2010 is $37,782 (See References 2). This university is divided into five schools: engineering, humanities, arts, social sciences, management, science and architecture, according to stateuniversity.com (See Reference 1). Its engineering, math, science and research departments are considered some of the best in the world

Duke University

Duke is a private research university located in Durham, NC that was founded in 1838 by Methodists and Quakers. Annual tuition as of 2010 is $38,975. Duke boasts world-class business, engineering and medical schools, as well as a prominent athletic department known as the Blue Devils. Duke accepts international students and has 85 foreign countries represented in its student body.

California Institute of Technology

Cal-Tech, the home of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was founded in 1891 and is located in Pasadena, CA (See Reference 2). It is a private research university that is "highly regarded as one of the world's preeminent institutions of science and engineering," according to "US News and World Report" (See Reference 2). This school also operates several observatories and laboratories. This university's admission policy is extremely selective with an annual target of 215 freshman (See References 1).

Cornell University

Cornell, founded in 1865, is a private Ivy League university located in Ithaca, NY. Cornell calls itself America's 'first university," a claim Harvard also makes. Annual tuition as of 2010 is $37,954 (See Reference 2). According to stateuniversity.com, Cornell was the first university in the eastern US to admit women (See Reference 1). Cornell prides itself in its preeminent veterinary, law and business schools, as well as for the original research the comes through its high-level staff and students. According to stateuniversity.com, talents and skills are just as important as test scores regarding admissions (See Reference 1).

Brown University

The Ivy League Brown University was founded in 1764 and is located in Providence, RI. Tuition as of 2010 is $38,848 a year (See References 1 and 2). Brown was the first American college to accept students regardless of religious affiliation. The school is now known for its law school, engineering program (the oldest in the country), Alpert Medical School and Watson Institute for International Studies.

Rice University

Rice University is located in Houston, TX and was founded in 1912. As of 2010 annual tuition is $31,248. There is a 5-to-1 student to faculty ratio (See Reference 2). Rice is one of the leading research universities and is very selective in its admissions. One out of every 12 students applying is selected for the freshman class. The school prides itself in its various engineering and computer science programs.