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Best small colleges in America

  • #30. Babson College

    - Location: Babson Park, MA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,361
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 14:1
    - Acceptance rate: 24%
    - Graduation rate: 91%
    - Six-year median earnings: $96,100
    - Two-year employment rate: 91%

    A business school with a focus on entrepreneurship, Babson College offers undergraduate and graduate programs. It has master’s degree programs focused on entrepreneurship, finance, business analytics, and management, as well as an MBA. It offers programs for executives that can be custom-designed for corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, or startups.

  • #29. Scripps College

    - Location: Claremont, CA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,046
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 24%
    - Graduation rate: 88%
    - Six-year median earnings: $54,100
    - Two-year employment rate: 90%

    Scripps College, the women’s college of The Claremont Colleges, is a liberal arts school founded in 1926 by the newspaper publisher and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps. Its top majors are English, computer science, media studies, psychology, politics, and biology/life sciences. All of its students complete a senior thesis or project to graduate.

  • #28. Reed College

    - Location: Portland, OR
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,453
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 9:1
    - Acceptance rate: 35%
    - Graduation rate: 81%
    - Six-year median earnings: $42,200
    - Two-year employment rate: 88%

    Reed College is a liberal arts and sciences college that was founded in 1908. Undergraduate students can earn a bachelor of arts in more than 40 majors, and in addition to taking a yearlong humanities course, there are broad distribution requirements and a senior thesis. Reed also offers a master of arts degree in liberal studies.

  • #27. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

    - Location: New York, NY
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 856
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 6:1
    - Acceptance rate: 16%
    - Graduation rate: 88%
    - Six-year median earnings: $64,900
    - Two-year employment rate: 93%

    The Cooper Union was founded in 1859 by inventor and philanthropist Peter Cooper, who made the school free for working classes and admitted women as well as men. The school offers an education in art, architecture, engineering, humanities, and social sciences. There are centers for sustainable engineering, biomedical engineering, signal processing, and computer engineering.

  • #26. Kenyon College

    - Location: Gambier, OH
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,721
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 36%
    - Graduation rate: 87%
    - Six-year median earnings: $48,700
    - Two-year employment rate: 94%

    Kenyon College was founded in 1824 to educate clergymen for the American frontier, but broadened its student roster with its classical offerings. U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes signed its Matriculation Book, as did novelist E.L. Doctorow and film star Paul Newman, and every October, after the Founders' Day Convocation, new first-year students at this liberal arts college do the same. Besides its majors, Kenyon has programs in Rome and at University of Exeter in England.

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  • #25. Lafayette College

    - Location: Easton, PA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,603
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 29%
    - Graduation rate: 87%
    - Six-year median earnings: $68,600
    - Two-year employment rate: 93%

    Founded in 1826, Lafayette College offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. Its four academic divisions are the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, but students can also work with professors to create their own majors. Some examples of those majors include Cultures of Global Ecology, Classical Civilization, and Global Health Studies.

  • #24. Smith College

    - Location: Northampton, MA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,490
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 9:1
    - Acceptance rate: 31%
    - Graduation rate: 89%
    - Six-year median earnings: $46,200
    - Two-year employment rate: 88%

    Smith College is one of the Seven Sisters women’s colleges and part of the consortium of colleges that also includes Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Its students are encouraged to take courses in each of these fields: literature, historical studies, social and natural science, the arts, mathematics and analytic philosophy, and a foreign language. Its Presidential Colloquium series is drawing such speakers as New York Times columnists Gail Collins and Bret L. Stephens.

  • #23. Bates College

    - Location: Lewiston, ME
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,832
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 18%
    - Graduation rate: 89%
    - Six-year median earnings: $59,200
    - Two-year employment rate: 94%

    Bates College was founded in 1855, rooted in freedom and civil rights, and was the first coeducational college in New England. Almost all 36 of its majors require a one- or two-semester senior thesis or capstone project. During the school’s Short Term (late April through May), students focus on only one class, often off campus. For example, students and faculty traveled to the Northern Rockies of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, mapping territory and investigating Yellowstone and other sites.

  • #22. Grinnell College

    - Location: Grinnell, IA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,679
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 9:1
    - Acceptance rate: 24%
    - Graduation rate: 84%
    - Six-year median earnings: $49,100
    - Two-year employment rate: 92%

    Grinnell College is a liberal arts and sciences school that was founded in 1846. Only one class is required of all students, the First-Year Tutorial, and 40% of students complete a Mentored Advanced Project. The Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize (aka the Grinnell Prize) honors leaders who show “creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment” in bringing about social change.

  • #21. Vassar College

    - Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,442
    - Student-to-faculty ratio: 8:1
    - Acceptance rate: 25%
    - Graduation rate: 92%
    - Six-year median earnings: $54,600
    - Two-year employment rate: 93%

    Vassar was one of the Seven Sisters colleges but has been coeducational since 1969. Founded in 1861, the liberal arts school uses original source materials in several departments, a tradition at Vassar since the 1880s. Its rare book collection includes key books in women’s history, as well as first editions of English and American literary and historical works.

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