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Best small college in every state

  • Best small college in every state

    A big state school with a roaring football stadium and packed lecture halls is not the ideal college experience for everyone. Many degree-seekers prefer the intimate atmosphere of classrooms with less than 10 students, where professors are known by their first names, and there’s no long wait for office hours. Such tiny colleges are prevalent throughout small towns in America, and even in (or on the outskirts of) big cities. Many maintain the idyllic charm of well-manicured quads and gothic buildings, while others can cite the Rocky Mountains or Pacific Ocean beaches as draws to their community.

    Stacker compiled a list of the best small college in every state using rankings from Niche, released in 2020. In Niche’s 2021 Best Small Colleges, four-year colleges with under 5,000 students were considered. Wyoming is not included because Niche did not rank any small colleges in the state. However, we did include Washington D.C. Each college chosen includes its student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rate, six-year median earnings, and other key data.

    Plenty of the schools on the list are centered on strong religious beliefs, while others originated from nursing backgrounds or with donations from some of the founding fathers. The benefits offered by these schools include unique majors, prestigious science programs, and award-winning faculty. But there are other perks to be found, too—like the school in Alaska where you can learn to swing dance, the Connecticut school offering full rides to students from Asia, and the traditional women’s college that offers all the same perks as its Ivy League neighbor.

    Click through to see what the best small college is in your state, and whether or not your alma mater—or a school you’ve had in mind to apply to—made the cut.

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  • Alabama: University of Mobile

    - Location: Mobile, AL
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,150
    - Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
    - Acceptance rate: 47%
    - Graduation rate: 50%
    - Six year median earnings: $35,200
    - Two year employment rate: 91%

    Located just outside the city of Mobile, this Baptist university prides itself on its small enrollment. The University of Mobile is consistently ranked as one of the top regional colleges in the South and offers nearly 100 areas of study.

  • Alaska: University of Alaska Southeast

    - Location: Juneau, AK
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 644
    - Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 63%
    - Graduation rate: 36%
    - Six year median earnings: $36,000
    - Two year employment rate: 82%

    With the capital city as its backdrop, this small school offers picturesque views thanks to dorms overlooking Auke Lake. During the pandemic, when many universities have experienced enrollment drops, the University of Alaska Southeast has been able to sustain encouraging numbers. Students can enroll in unique programs like Alaska Native/Northeast Coast studies and fisheries.

  • Arizona: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott

    - Location: Prescott, AZ
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,592
    - Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
    - Acceptance rate: 67%
    - Graduation rate: 65%
    - Six year median earnings: $66,200
    - Two year employment rate: 94%

    Although aeronautics is the focus of study at this campus in the Bradshaw Mountains, Embry-Riddle Prescott offers swing dancing, hang gliding, and martial arts for students when they’re not hitting the books. Students from 41 countries attend Embry-Riddle Prescott, and they take advantage of an active Greek life and a championship flight team.

  • Arkansas: Hendrix College

    - Location: Conway, AR
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 1,194
    - Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 72%
    - Graduation rate: 71%
    - Six year median earnings: $39,700
    - Two year employment rate: 91%

    Psychology was the top major for the class of 2019 at Hendrix, with biology and other sciences popular as well. Students can enjoy a pecan court, arboretum, art complex, and physical sciences center. Recently, Hendrix announced it was lowering its tuition by 32%.

  • California: California Institute of Technology

    - Location: Pasadena, CA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 948
    - Student to faculty ratio: 3:1
    - Acceptance rate: 7%
    - Graduation rate: 92%
    - Six year median earnings: $85,900
    - Two year employment rate: 89%

    A small school in name only, CalTech has a gigantic impact on the world. Faculty founded NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the school has produced dozens of Nobel Laureates. Students and faculty engage in research ranging from earthquakes to life on Mars.

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  • Colorado: Colorado College

    - Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,098
    - Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 15%
    - Graduation rate: 89%
    - Six year median earnings: $45,400
    - Two year employment rate: 91%

    Colorado College draws students from around the country, with over a quarter of the student body coming from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The school employs a Block Plan, where students take only one class at a time. An abundance of recreational activities are available in the nearby Rocky Mountains.

  • Connecticut: 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 is in a small town in Connecticut, but it has a truly international impact. The university has study abroad programs with over 150 locations and the Freeman Asian Scholars Program provides full tuition for 11 students from Asia. Because of its numerous singing and a cappella groups, Wesleyan has been called “The Singing College.

  • Delaware: Goldey-Beacom College

    - Location: Wilmington, DE
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 655
    - Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
    - Acceptance rate: 53%
    - Graduation rate: 42%
    - Six year median earnings: $44,500
    - Two year employment rate: 92%

    Despite being a small college in a small state, Goldey-Beacom draws students from over 60 countries. Within months of graduation, Goldey-Beacom graduates report placement at a success rate over 90%.

  • Florida: Rollins College

    - Location: Winter Park, FL
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,433
    - Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
    - Acceptance rate: 67%
    - Graduation rate: 74%
    - Six year median earnings: $45,700
    - Two year employment rate: 91%

    Rollins is the oldest college in Florida and is a top producer of Fulbright Scholars. With a fine arts museum, the longest continuously operating theater in Florida, and one of the oldest Bach Festivals in the country, Rollins has tons of options for arts and culture.

  • Georgia: Spelman College

    - Location: Atlanta, GA
    - Undergraduate enrollment: 2,123
    - Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
    - Acceptance rate: 39%
    - Graduation rate: 75%
    - Six year median earnings: $47,000
    - Two year employment rate: 94%

    Spelman is an Atlanta institution and a pillar of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Spelman is one of the most selective women’s colleges in the nation and has educated more Gates Scholars than any other U.S. college or university.

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