Web Design & Development

75 Best College & University Websites for 2020

There is no question about it: The design and style of a college website can have a big impact on whether or not a prospective student decides to apply there. After all, these websites are hugely important, and the information they contain and the ease in which that info is presented can make a major impact on a student’s ultimate decision about college. Here are 75 of the best college and university websites.

A Complete Look at 2020’s 75 Best College and University Websites

  1. University

    Drexel’s front page contains massive graphics and easy-to-navigate menus. These items are relatively standard for college websites. However, Drexel’s first menu option is “The Drexel Difference,” which goes on to discuss the various ways that Drexel sticks out from its competition.

  2. University of Notre Dame

    The University of Notre Dame website is great when it comes to branding the deep blue and gold that are the university’s colors. It has nice, large menu options and a big display picture that captures your attention and invites you to keep clicking. Scrolling down also generates a ton of new content, including information on college activities and current events.

  3. St. John’s University

    St. John’s University website has a smooth, unobtrusive video that is warm and inviting. It shows campus activity, highlights the gorgeous campus grounds and shows off the diverse student body. Like other websites on this list, its color scheme is branded with the colors of the campus, and the website is easy to navigate.

  4. Bates College

    Bates is a small New England college, and they opted for a different design. Menu options are more limited. Instead, the website encourages you to scroll down by displaying a massive, gorgeous picture of the school’s picturesque campus. The most obvious button may be the most important: With one click, you can go on a virtual tour of the school.

  5. Florida International University

    Florida International University does two smart things with their website. First, unlike many other colleges, they only have one line of menu options, helping keep their website clean. Second, they also have a smooth video playing that highlights a wide array of activities that you can engage in on FIU’s campus.

  6. Oberlin College & Conservatory

    What makes Oberlin’s website special is its button menus. The front page plays a video of students engaged in a variety of academic and artistic activities, but the bottom menu really grabs your attention as you can click on “College of Arts & Sciences” or “Conservatory of Music.” This is an atypical and a great way of driving people to click through the website.

  7. University of Maryland

    The University of Maryland website does something different: It utilizes a left-hand menu. There’s nothing at the top, right or bottom of the screen. Meanwhile, a video plays, showing happy, active students. The design is crisp and clean. It allows the video to highlight campus activity and vibrancy.

  8. Bucknell University

    Unlike other websites, the menus on Bucknell University are easily blended in with the front-page picture, a gorgeous shot of the campus library. Scrolling over menu options will result in you gaining access to a variety of pages, all of which transition in smoothly. The entire website loads seamlessly and really encourages you to click on through the pages.

  9. Brandeis University

    Brandeis has a larger-than-life picture of a student on their front page, showing their student-centered focus. Scrolling further down reveals more Brandeis-related news, and you can click for more on the “BraindeisNow” page.

  10. Stony Brook University

    One of the best parts of the Stony Brook University website is the way it connects to the real world and current events. At the time of this writing, scrolling down reveals how the school is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning to online learning and getting involved in making hand sanitizers through its chemistry department.

  11. University of Nebraska

    University of Nebraska takes the idea of branding and applies it sitewide. All colors are red, white and gray, and every clickable item is in a square or rectangle – perhaps a nod to the shape of Nebraska. This makes the website very easy to navigate and click through.

  12. Murray State University

    The first thing you see when you click on the Murray State University is a great drone video flying over a stately academic building. This encourages you to keep watching the scenes of student activity. Scrolling down reveals an array of pictures on what students and alumni are doing in the real world, helping create the image of a school that is active and working hard at educating its students.

  13. Pasadena City College

    One of the more interesting things about this site is how the design molds with the college’s branding. Pasadena City College emphasizes that its graduates can do anything, and its website has a rotating “Become” followed by insertions of various professions, such as teacher, interpreter, game designer and more. It is unique and eye-catching.

  14. William & Mary

    William & Mary is one of the oldest schools in the country, and its design blends the old and the new, displaying sharp pictures and contrasting menus that are easy to navigate. The page also does something different: It has a list of events right on the front page, showing how the campus is extremely active.

  15. Stanford

    Stanford is one of the best schools in the country, and its website has a bold picture of the gorgeous campus with “Stanford” written simply in the middle. The design goes for simplicity and elegance, letting the school’s impressive name serve as a strong greeting for visitors.

  16. Wheaton College

    Wheaton is a small Christian liberal arts college, and its design is a great representation. It features students standing in an assembly. It also has dual menus that are sized appropriately based on their importance, with academics, admissions and financial aid getting top billing.

  17. Muhlenberg College

    This liberal arts school in Pennsylvania strives for simplicity. Muhlenberg College has small menus that encourage users to scroll down, highlighting current events, student opportunities and the unique experiences that the college offers.

  18. Virginia Commonwealth University

    Virginia Commonwealth University’s website gets points for color branding; everything is black and gold, the school’s colors. When you click on the headings, drop-down menus appear, making it easy to move around within the school’s website.

  19. Boston University

    Like many schools, Boston University goes for a rotating video. What is most interesting is that the video is obviously influenced by current events. It’s entirely students, and currently, it is students talking about their experiences with social distancing and the COVID-19 outbreak. This shows a website that is both up to date and student-centered, and that’s impressive.

  20. Texas A&M University

    Texas A&M University’s website is unique in its focus. From the video to the big “T A&M” logo and its links, everything on this website is centered. Texas is big, and this website looks big thanks to its design.

  21. Harvard University

    Of course, it’s Harvard, so its website is going to be great. The website goes for a classic look, avoiding many modern website tropes (like videos) and instead opting for square clickable pictures and links. It’s impressive, and the website looks classic without seeming out of date.

  22. John Hopkins University

    Like many websites, John Hopkins University has a video running. What’s impressive, though, is that the video takes up the entire screen, with the exception of a small menu on the right-hand side of the page. Clicking on the menu enlarges it, but the video still runs.

  23. University of Texas at Austin

    The University of Texas at Austin’s design here is so sharp. There’s a video, but once you scroll down, you can see gorgeously designed graphics, texts and pictures that tell a complete story. Furthermore, numbers sharply load, highlighting the school’s various strengths, including its programs, research successes and economic impact.

  24. Georgia Tech

    The front page of the Georgia Tech website is set up in an isometric style that zooms in when you mouse over it, providing a different style than most college websites. Each page is sharply designed but still stays within the same branding, making it easy to navigate from section to section.

  25. University of Washington

    One of the things that grabs your attention as soon as you navigate to the University of Washington website is a menu with icons that are clearly designed to direct you to important parts of the website, including athletics, libraries and their school of medicine. The front page is small, and the format is clearly supposed to funnel you to other sections.

  26. American University

    The pictures and menus for American University are nice, but as you scroll down, what really captures your attention is the way this website highlights its various schools and graduate programs. If you click on one of those buttons, you get a quick preview and are encouraged to click on to that page.

  27. Ohio University

    Ohio University is a massive public school, but its website does a great job of making it easy to point you toward the information you are looking for. It does this through the use of large and easily navigable drop-down menus.

  28. University of Oregon

    Every background on this page is green and yellow, the school’s colors. The front page for University of Oregon is large, and again, this encourages you to scroll on and read more about the massive array of programs offered at this school.

  29. Arizona State University

    ASU operates a small front page that doesn’t have a lot of room to scroll. Instead, it has a broad menu that nearly stretches across the entire top of the screen. As a result, users are encouraged to click on each section and dig deeper into the content.

  30. Bowling Green State University

    Bowling Green State University takes advantage of the dual-menu approach, with bigger buttons on the bottom menu that highlight the relative importance of these areas. A quick scroll over to the top menu also shows an array of information – all easily accessible – and all well-sorted by the website’s streamlined page design.

  31. Moravian University

    A quick scroll down and Moravian’s website happily displays facts that are important about the school, including the tech it gives you, its rank for graduate incomes and the amount of financial aid it awards every year. Just below that is an easy-to-navigate virtual tour of the campus.

  32. Miami University

    This Ohio school is actually different than most. Miami University offers one menu, vertically oriented down the side of the page. This actually reorients itself nicely when viewing on a mobile device. As such, this website is simultaneously technologically astute and easy on the eyes.

  33. Cedar Crest University

    Cedar Crest University is a small all-girls school located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It uses rotating pictures with clickable links to capture your attention. Those pages are clearly clicked through on a regular basis and highlight whatever is timely and relevant to the school at that moment.

  34. Campbell University

    “Lead with us. Lead with purpose” is Campbell’s slogan, and it is displayed right smack across their front page. Two buttons immediately encourage you to explore the school and apply for admissions, making it easy for visitors to learn more about the school and potentially enroll.

  35. Vanderbilt University

    This Tennessee school’s website starts with a video and this text overlaid: “Developing the next generation of leaders.” The images highlight the stately nature of the city and provide a nice contrast with the student-centered nature of the content below, which focuses primarily on student achievements and recent activity on campus.

  36. University of Illinois

    The content below the main picture on this website is fantastic. It highlights the school’s off-campus activity, presence in local news and more. University of Illinois also has some unique tabs in its main menus, like “International,” which discusses the college’s extensive international partnerships.

  37. Rice University

    The Rice University’s homepage features another video, but it has much higher production values than many of the others on this list. It interlaces text and the colors of a sunset to highlight the campus’s exteriors and interiors. You almost have to keep clicking once you see this video.

  38. Wesleyan University

    Here, you see another intro video with a twist. This one sharply overlays students into a graphic that discusses how “You make us” followed by a series of positive adjectives. Once you start to scroll down, the website for Wesleyan University discusses a variety of positive statistics that are sure to entice any student or parent.

  39. Winston-Salem State University

    The homepage for Winston-Salem State University features an intense picture of happy students graduating, giving the website great energy. Its menus are smooth and easy to use, and a right-hand widget highlights the most important parts of the website.

  40. Clarkson University

    Clarkson’s homepage is all a variety of pictures, but just below that, the website steers you toward its three most popular program areas: undergraduate, graduate and research. This is a great example of good design funneling you toward the areas of interest.

  41. Guilford College

    Guilford’s website takes great advantage of a horizontal design, showing students the various strengths of the school. Interestingly, it also offers “scenario-based” buttons, so you can know what to click on if you are a high school student or “busy but want to earn a degree.”

  42. Coastal Carolina University

    The Coastal Carolina University website is entirely done in the sea-green colors of the school. It has sharp geometric squares that lead users to easily labeled programs, making this website easy on the eyes and easy to navigate.

  43. University of Kentucky

    A deep-blue menu hangs over the top of the screen here, but a gloved hand putting chemicals into test tubes is the main feature. The University of Kentucky is clearly trying to lean into its research and health care, with separate tabs for each.

  44. Arcadia University

    Arcadia is one of many schools that basically plops its virtual tour right on its homepage; make one click, and you are exploring this beautiful school. That takes confidence to do, and it’s no wonder as the campus is exquisite. Indeed, the rest of the webpage extensively highlights the gorgeous campus.

  45. Duke University

    Duke does an interesting thing on its website: It heavily leans into its name, featuring “Duke” in big letters on its front menu. Scrolling down reveals resources and events for students and faculty. This feature is being updated constantly.

  46. University of Chicago

    A rotating carousel of pictures shows the University of Chicago in the news. Interestingly enough, the first picture you see discusses partnerships between the school and the South Side of Chicago, showing that the school is trying to highlight its off-campus partnerships.

  47. Smith College

    Smith College actually has elements that fade in, encouraging you to keep scrolling. Even more interesting is that the vast majority of these elements are pictures of happy students, and they use these as enticing ways of drawing you deeper into the very informative website.

  48. Carnegie Mellon University

    Carnegie Mellon University’s website is undeniably sharp. It uses pictures and imagery very nicely. As you scroll, more pictures and information smoothly transition in, spotlighting various aspects of the college, campus life and its features.

  49. George Washington University

    George Washington goes for a sharp and silent video on their front page. However, what really captures your attention is the incredibly up-to-date virtual tour. It offers an impressive array of options that also highlight Washington, D.C., where the campus is located.

  50. Purdue University

    Purdue has a very nice, unique feature: It allows you to “customize” your view of their homepage by adding a series of buttons. This is great for returning users, and it allows new users the chance to understand that they can be welcome at Purdue and able to create their own experiences.

  51. Auburn University

    The homepage for Auburn University has top and bottom menus, making it easy to get to where you want to go. The middle picture, right at the front of the website, deals with current events or Auburn in the news. Clicking on any of the links will then take you to a similarly formatted page within the website.

  52. Washington State University

    The banner picture and story on this website can be rotated through by users, so you can see just how WSU has been in the news of late. Furthermore, the links are all big, broad buttons, making it easy for you to visit different parts of their webpage.

  53. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s website is really different as it’s a school for people who want to get involved in the study of the ocean and sea life. The school’s website uses images of above- and below-ocean activity to highlight its unique nature. The site is horizontally designed, so as you scroll, you see more and more.

  54. Dixie State University

    Dixie’s website is also horizontally designed with unique buttons and geometric shapes that really capture your attention. Scrolling over the menu doesn’t create a drop-down, which forces users to click through the website. This gives visitors a chance to explore the site’s various pages.

  55. Ramapo College

    Located in New Jersey, Ramapo College makes it onto this list because of its person-centered focus. Three pictures with quotes are immediately visible, and all are from students. Scroll down, and you get three more pictures of visiting speakers, students and professors.

  56. Butler University

    Butler has a gorgeous picture of its campus on its homepage. Scrolling down leads you to buttons that have more information about campus and student-centered learning. Other pages are also sharply designed and contain a wide breadth of information about the rest of the campus.

  57. University of Dubuque

    Dubuque highlights its admissions process on the front of its website. Four easy-to-access buttons encourage users to apply or find out more about this small school. It has a nice menu at the front that also highlights its unique attributes, including its Heritage Center and Theological Seminary.

  58. North Park University

    This Chicago school leans heavily on its hometown; “Chicago is our classroom!” is one of the brags of the rotating pictures. North Park University also has one of the smoothest menus on this entire list, keeping the options simple: Apply, Visit, Inquire and Give. As such, you have to scroll down for more information, but it is all easily available.

  59. Columbia University

    Columbia is an Ivy League school in New York, and its website reflects this status. The emphasis of the site is on the school’s academic rigor and research programs.

  60. University of Oxford

    Oxford is one of the most famous colleges in the world, and it enhances its reputation with its website. The current lead story here is on a vaccine trial that the school is running. Scrolling down reveals more information under broad headings, including News and Discover. These headings reveal an array of unique and interesting information that only Oxford could produce.

  61. Butte College

    This community college pivots right to resources available for students and faculty during the current pandemic shutdown, proving that it is well-maintained and up to date. Butte College also features a unique “Apply Now” button in its upper-right hand corner, making it easy for students to gain admission to the school.

  62. University of Central Florida

    The University of Central Florida
    opening picture – a beautiful fountain, academic building and setting Florida sun – is incredibly inviting. The top menu is relatively standard, but the bottom menu highlights some very specific aspects of the college.

  63. Michigan Technological University

    The homepage for Michigan Technological University is horizontally designed and prominently features a great picture of the campus. However, what really captures your attention is when you scroll down; six pictures, all nicely spaced and arranged, highlight the different majors, graduate programs and academic features of the school.

  64. Northwestern University

    The various shades of purple, obviously one of the school’s colors, give this website a great feel. Northwestern University’s menus are just below a search panel, so it’s easy for users to find anything that they are looking for. Additionally, all you have to do is scroll down to come across various panels that show off the school’s people, places and events.

  65. Norfolk State University

    Norfolk State University has a massive graphic and picture on its homepage, drawing you in with the latest news about the school. Scrolling down reveals pictures of seven students that are meant to highlight various aspects of the student body, including prospective students, transfers, graduate students and military members.

  66. Lee University

    Lee University is a small Christian school, and its website does a great job of driving this brand home. Every page on this website directly addresses this theme, ensuring that users know exactly what type of college they are looking at. This webpage does a great job of keeping the school on-message and on-brand.

  67. University of Tampa

    This Florida school has a running video that opens with starfish and collegiate swimming, boating and rowing. University of Tampa is clearly leaning into its Florida location, and it goes so far as to show the current temperature in Florida. Its menus are limited and crisp, making it easy for you to find what you are looking for.

  68. University of Michigan

    University of Michigan is one of the largest and most prestigious public schools in the country, and their website will not hesitate to remind you of that fact. Reflecting that, the website has leading features on school news, its presence in off-campus news and its public-engagement activities.

  69. Oakland University

    Oakland has a couple of menus on its homepage, and each is bracketed by gorgeous and inviting pictures. Clicking through to any of those pages reveals a webpage that concentrates more on its images than its wording. As a result, you are left with the sensation that this is an active and vibrant campus.

  70. Chapman University

    Chapman University’s webpage uses a format that is very familiar by now – a video in the background with text overlaid on top. However, the images are sharp, and big buttons highlight important facets of the website, including the giving, admissions and “visiting the school” sections.

  71. University of Houston

    University of Houston’s website is different; text is all that greets you when you arrive. However, that makes you scroll down, landing you smack in the middle of a virtual tour of the campus.

  72. University of Virginia

    This one goes for a gorgeous picture, right on the University of Virginia homepage. The photo features an urban campus with a beautiful mountain range in the background. It has smooth drop-down menus that allow you to click deeper into the website, and many of its individual pages have videos that load automatically.

  73. Brown University

    This Ivy League school opts for video as well, highlighting campus activity. It also has a clickable text that encourages students to go deeper into Brown’s website. When you do, you can find more information that transitions pleasantly onto the screen.

  74. Lehigh University

    Lehigh University opted for a drone video of their gorgeous, mountainous campus, correctly assuming that they could use their school’s beautiful physical setting to entice visitors. It has easy-to-navigate menus and a homepage that displays current events on campus.

  75. Middlebury

    Middlebury has one of the more unique websites on this list, and that’s what makes it great. It has one picture in a sea of space, and it features a series of sharp, multicolored vertical lines. Highlighting those lines will give users access to different news items on the website, encouraging users to click more. At the same time, understated menus give users access to information they are actually searching for.

A college that can’t maintain a good website looks out of date and like they aren’t capable of competing in the modern world. Thankfully, these schools succeed wildly at recruiting students and giving anyone who visits their websites the information they need about their institutions.

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