The United States isn’t an old country by any means. We’ve only been around for a few hundred years now, which pales in comparison to the thousands of years of history that other countries have on record. This age is reflected in our educational institutions; while many of the oldest colleges in the world reside in Europe, there are plenty of impressive institutions right here at home that have stood the test of time.

10. Columbia University

Credit: HaizanZheng / iStock

Established in 1754, Columbia University is the youngest college on this list—which is still an impressive distinction, considering that every college on our list was established before the Declaration of Independence was signed! Columbia is located in New York City, serving as one of the premier Ivy League options in the U.S. and is consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country.  

9. Washington and Lee University

Credit: krblokhin / iStock

Founded in 1749 on the edge of Lexington, Virginia, this university was named for two of its most significant benefactors: George Washington and Robert E. Lee, the former submitting a generous donation to the university near its inception and the latter serving as the university’s president from 1865 to 1870.

8. Princeton University

Credit: aimintang / iStock

Princeton University is another Ivy League favorite, established in 1746 and located in the Princeton municipality of New Jersey. Princeton is known for its prestige and academic rigor, and it regularly puts out Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Rhodes Scholars, and Turing Award laureates. On top of these impressive laureates, Princeton alumni include former U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and James Madison.

7. University of Delaware

Credit: Katharina13 / iStock

Established in 1743, the University of Delaware is located in Newark, and is the largest and oldest university in the state. Although the University of Delaware wasn’t chartered until 1833—90 years after its inception—it has grown into a significant public research university with third parties like the Carnegie Classification of Institutions for Higher Education regularly noting the university’s industry-leading research practices.

6. Moravian College

Credit: CynthiaAnnF / iStock

A private college in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Moravian College was founded in 1742, originally known as the Bethlehem Female Seminary. Over time, this institution developed its educational curriculum and eventually became chartered by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1863. But Moravian College is noteworthy for another reason: It was the first college in the United States to educate women, as well as Native Americans in their own language.

5. University of Pennsylvania

Credit: jimfeng / iStock

Established in 1740 and chartered in 1755, the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League institution known for its history of pioneering creativity. The university was one of the first U.S. colleges to combine multiple faculties into a single institution and was the first college to create dedicated schools for medicine and business. In addition, the University of Pennsylvania was the first institution to develop the electronic, large-scale digital computer, and was the first Ivy League college to elect a woman as president.

4. Yale University

Credit: DenisTangneyJr / iStock

Established in 1701 and located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale was actually conceived by Connecticut clergy to educate ministers. Known at that time as the “Collegiate School,” the college received a generous donation from the governor of the East India Trading Company, Elihu Yale. Thus, the school was renamed in his honor and quickly grew into a global leader in liberal arts education.

3. St. John’s College

Credit: smi23le / CC 2.0

St. John’s College as we know it today is actually the successor of another institution: King William’s School, a preparatory school founded in 1696. Though this school eventually became St. John’s College, the current institution didn’t receive its charter until 1784. St. John’s College does bear a unique feature among the entities on this list in that it’s actually split into two campuses: the first in Annapolis, Maryland, and the second in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

2. College of William and Mary

Credit: BDphoto / iStock

If you haven’t heard of the College of William and Mary, you’re not alone. Established in 1693 by direct order of King William III and Queen Mary, the College of William and Mary is as old as it is small. Its undergraduate enrollment is around 6,000 students each year, making it a desirable option for those who want to visit an established academic institution with smaller class sizes.

1. Harvard University

Credit: Pgiam / iStock

Harvard University is the oldest college in the United States. Established in 1636 and chartered in 1650, Harvard is a household name for most of us. It’s well known for its high standards and high costs, along with having one of the lowest admission rates in the country. And as the oldest institute of higher learning in the country, it has a few other key distinctions, such as having the world’s largest academic and private library system.

Historical Colleges in the U.S.

Credit: Nikada / iStock

While American colleges are quite a bit younger than others in Europe (such as Oxford, which is fast coming up on its 1,000th year anniversary!), many of them are considered some of the best educational institutions in the world. Don’t let the numbers fool you—although age brings experience, there’s plenty more to a good school than how many years its doors have been open.