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100 best liberal arts colleges in America

  • #20. University of Richmond

    - Location: University of Richmond, VA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 3,040
    - Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
    - Acceptance rate: 30%
    - Graduation rate: 87%
    - Six year median earnings: $64,500
    - Two year employment rate: 95%

    The University of Richmond has the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, which promotes ethical and effective engagement in society. At the core of its curriculum is critical thinking and ethical reasoning and cultivating a sense of justice and concern for others. A team of Jepson students competes nationally in Ethics Bowl competitions, typically debating a political or social issue.

  • #19. Hamilton College

    - Location: Clinton, NY
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,991
    - Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
    - Acceptance rate: 21%
    - Graduation rate: 93%
    - Six year median earnings: $60,200
    - Two year employment rate: 91%

    Hamilton College's approach to education is led by the motto “Know Thyself,” and its open curriculum is designed to give students freedom to follow their interests while learning critical thinking and communications. The open curriculum allows students broad leeway in choosing their courses, and there is no core curriculum or distribution requirements. Students do have to take three writing-intensive courses and a quantitative and symbolic reasoning course and meet a physical-education requirement.

  • #18. Wesleyan University

    - Location: Middletown, CT
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,928
    - Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
    - Acceptance rate: 17%
    - Graduation rate: 89%
    - Six year median earnings: $54,700
    - Two year employment rate: 90%

    Wesleyan University has an open curriculum, meaning students have the freedom to design their educational path. The school says it encourages students to explore their interests, take chances, and question the status quo.

  • #17. Davidson College

    - Location: Davidson, NC
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,843
    - Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
    - Acceptance rate: 19%
    - Graduation rate: 90%
    - Six year median earnings: $58,900
    - Two year employment rate: 88%

    At Davidson College, students sign an Honor Code under which they take home unsupervised tests and take unproctored exams. The school also just started a pilot program making standardized test scores optional for applicants, meaning students can decide whether to include their SAT or ACT scores.The school said that while test scores could be useful, other information is a better reflection of how they will perform.

  • #16. Colgate University

    - Location: Hamilton, NY
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,936
    - Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
    - Acceptance rate: 25%
    - Graduation rate: 89%
    - Six year median earnings: $63,600
    - Two year employment rate: 93%

    Students at Colgate University follow a foundational curriculum to learn critical thinking, communication, analytical skills, and complex problem-solving. Core courses include classes in global engagement, scientific perspectives, and challenges in modernity.

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  • #15. Wellesley College

    - Location: Wellesley, MA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,391
    - Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
    - Acceptance rate: 20%
    - Graduation rate: 92%
    - Six year median earnings: $60,800
    - Two year employment rate: 94%

    Wellesley College, one of the Seven Sisters women’s schools, has what it calls a “full-engagement” academic philosophy. Full engagement means students are involved in nearly all aspects of the college—serving on major committees of the Board of Trustees, participating in faculty searches, and contributing to strategic planning.

  • #14. Swarthmore College

    - Location: Swarthmore, PA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,554
    - Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
    - Acceptance rate: 9%
    - Graduation rate: 94%
    - Six year median earnings: $56,700
    - Two year employment rate: 85%

    Swarthmore College was founded by Quakers and continues to emphasize teaching students to become leaders for the common good. Students’ first semester is pass-fail so that they can take risks and learn without worrying about letter grades.

  • #13. Barnard College

    - Location: New York, NY
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,519
    - Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
    - Acceptance rate: 14%
    - Graduation rate: 92%
    - Six year median earnings: $57,900
    - Two year employment rate: 90%

    Taking advantage of its New York location, Barnard classes often tap into the city as its classroom, with visits to the opera or museums, neighborhood trips, or sessions at the United Nations. Required coursework includes classes in thinking locally about the community and environment, global inquiry, social difference, and historical perspectives.

  • #12. Claremont McKenna College

    - Location: Claremont, CA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,321
    - Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
    - Acceptance rate: 9%
    - Graduation rate: 93%
    - Six year median earnings: $72,900
    - Two year employment rate: 92%

    Claremont McKenna College was founded as a men’s school but went coed in 1976. It is known for its economics and government coursework, and it features a number of specialized institutes in fields such as Entrepreneurship, Financial Economics, Human Rights and, State and Local Government.

  • #11. Middlebury College

    - Location: Middlebury, VT
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,551
    - Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
    - Acceptance rate: 17%
    - Graduation rate: 91%
    - Six year median earnings: $58,200
    - Two year employment rate: 87%

    Middlebury College has highly regarded language schools. Students in its immersive language programs take classes morning to night and sign a pledge to communicate only in the language they are studying—no English—for the length of the term.

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