By the time of the American revolution, there were already multiple colleges up and running.
Harvard was founded in 1636 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was chartered in 1650, making it the oldest institution of higher education in the U.S.
College of William and Mary
W&M was founded and chartered in 1693 in the Colony and Dominion of Virginia by King William III and Queen Mary II of England. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler and James Monroe received their undergraduate degree from W&M. William and Mary is also famous for founding the first Greek-letter society, Phi Beta Kappa, during the Revolutionary War in 1776.
Founded and chartered in 1701 in the Connecticut Colony, Yale was previously known as the Collegiate School. During the American Revolution, Yale graduates served as influential leaders- 25 served in the Continental Congress and four graduates signed the Declaration of Independence.
Founded and chartered in 1746 in the Province of New Jersey, Princeton was first originally known as the College of New Jersey. Nassau Hall, the oldest building on Princeton's campus, was once used as barracks and a hospital by both the British and American soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
University of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1740 and chartered in 1755, UPenn established the first Medical School in the American colonies in 1765. Also the Continental Congress met at College Hall on campus in 1778 during the Revolutionary War.
Founded and chartered in 1754, Columbia was originally named King's College. Though the college was forced to suspend instruction in 1776 due to the Revolutionary War its earliest students included influentials such as Alexander Hamilton and Robert Livingston, a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence
Founded and chartered in 1764, Brown was first known as the College of Rhode Island. Brown was the first Ivy League school to accept students from all religious affiliations.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Founded and chartered in 1766, Rutgers was first known as Queen's College. In 1776, John Taylor, the college's tutor, joined the Revolutionary Army as a captain.
Founded and chartered in 1769, Dartmouth is the ninth oldest college in the U.S. and the last college to be chartered before the American Revolution.