In a competitive job market, the quality and reputation of a graduate’s alma mater can mean the difference between a job offer and a rejection letter. 

That's why next year's high school graduating class must carefully weigh the pros and cons of the colleges or universities they want to attend as the freshman class of 2020, according to a new report by personal finance website WalletHub.

Cost will inevitably be one factor, the report noted, with tuition and room and board at four-year colleges and universities averaging between $21,000 and $48,000 per year. 

"For those prices, students want to know they are getting a good deal," WalletHub said.

WalletHub studied 1,003 U.S. schools and assessed them in  seven key categories: student selectivity; cost and financing; faculty resources; campus safety; campus experience; educational outcomes; and career outcomes. 

"WalletHub’s Best Colleges ranking also analyzes post-attendance metrics—the student-loan default rate and the share of former students outearning high school graduates, for instance—to show the value of the education students can expect to receive beyond their undergraduate studies," the report said.

Following, in ascending order, are WalletHub's top 10 best colleges and universities of 2020.

10.  University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also known as UNC, is the flagship of the university’s 17 campuses. The school ranked first in educational outcomes, 159th in career outcomes and 396th in cost and financing and 889th in campus safety.