Private universities have consistently occupied the top spots in rankings by magazines such as "U.S. News & World Report." America's top private universities have long academic traditions with beginnings in the 17th and 18th centuries, and are some of the oldest universities in the country. Many United States presidents, including Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Barack Obama, attended the nation's top private universities.

Harvard University

Harvard University, founded in 1636 as the nation's first institution of higher education, had about 6,700 undergraduates and 13,600 graduate students as of 2009. The university contains ten separate academic colleges and schools, including the undergraduate college, the graduate school, and the schools of medicine, divinity, law, business, government, design, education, and public health. The university's Division of Continuing Education offers courses through the Harvard Extension School and the Harvard Summer School. Harvard undergraduates can choose from among 35 different academic concentrations. Harvard University's notable alumni include seven U.S. presidents and writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and T.S. Eliot. Harvard University tied for first place with Princeton University in "U.S. News & World Report" magazine's 2010 ranking of national universities. The magazine also ranked Harvard first among business schools and medical schools, second among law schools, and third among education graduate schools.

Harvard University 12 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA 617-495-1555 Harvard.edu/

Princeton University

Princeton University was founded in 1746. As of 2009, the university had about 5,000 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students working toward degrees within four academic colleges and schools, including the undergraduate college and the schools of public and international affairs, engineering and applied science, and architecture. Princeton undergraduates can work toward a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in one of 29 departments, or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree with a concentration in one of six departments. Notable Princeton alumni include Nobel Prize winners Eugene O'Neill, Richard P. Feynman, and Robert Hofstadter; U.S. presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson; and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Princeton University Nassau Hall Princeton, NJ 08544 609-258-3000 Princeton.edu/

Yale University

Yale University was founded in 1701. The school now contains 15 academic colleges and schools, including the undergraduate college, the graduate school, and 13 professional schools, including renowned schools of art, drama, medicine, music, and law. Undergraduates at Yale live in one of twelve residential colleges for four years. Yale University's notable alumni include five U.S. presidents; Academy Award winners Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, and Holly Hunter; and composer Cole Porter. Yale University ranked third in "U.S. News & World Report" magazine's 2010 ranking of national universities, and first in the magazine's ranking of law schools.

Yale University 1 Prospect St. New Haven, CT 06510 203-432-2900 yale.edu/