Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, an institution founded exactly 22 years after the Wright Brothers' historic 1903 lift-off at Kitty Hawk, N.C., is where students and academics take flight. With a focus on aviation, aerospace, and engineering, Embry-Riddle offers more than 40 degree programs, in addition to master's and doctoral paths. The academics are what most students rave about, as the courses are challenging and rewarding, although engineering majors are known for especially getting the brunt of the workload. But even though professors pack their syllabi with a lot of assignments and projects, they truly care about their students, and students are thankful for this attention, especially with how high the tuition is (you get what you pay for!). The instructors are so attentive because it’s a small school, but sometimes this smallness can be a drawback, especially when it comes to the athletic programs. Not many students participate in varsity athletics, and there is scarce school spirit to support these teams, so if you're hoping to see flying banners in addition to planes, you're more likely to see the latter. Good news for the ladies' spirits, though: Guys are plentiful on campus, making up approximately 80 percent of the population.
Located in beautiful Prescott, Ariz., Embry-Riddle experiences sunny weather nearly year-round, which may be a reason why the surrounding area is known as a retirement community with little nightlife. Many students travel to Phoenix for more exciting attractions, with the state capital being about an hour and a half from campus. But while the Prescott area consists of an older community, that means that the crime rate is relatively low, which makes students feel safe in their surroundings. Plus, everything on campus is mostly within walking distance, so there's no need to have a car. If you do have a car, though, parking is readily available. If you need to get off campus and don't have a vehicle, the best advice would be to make a friend with one. To get to the airport, the University offers free shuttles for students, and by the end of your time at Embry-Riddle, you'll probably be able to tell your pilot how to fly the plane.