Colorado’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Small colleges in Colorado are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

Colorado’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Colorado

Fans of the outdoors will feel right at home in Colorado. With the Rocky Mountains, Colorado River, and even part of the Great Plains, you’re sure to find adventure in The Centennial State. Students looking to balance outdoor adventure with higher education can choose from over 40 colleges and universities offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees for an average in-state tuition of $10,800.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Colorado’s 28 public institutes include junior colleges, universities, the United States Air Force Academy, and the Colorado School of Mines, a research university that specializes in science, technology, engineering, and math. Tuition for Colorado’s public schools ranges from $3,000 to $19,000, with many of the colleges and junior colleges starting at $4,000 and the universities at $8,000. With smaller class sizes and student populations, Colorado’s private institutions, which includes five religiously affiliated campuses, tend to be more expensive, ranging from $4,000 to $55,000 in tuition. The University of Colorado, Boulder, a notable research institute, is ranked as the number one school in the state and has a student population of just over 32,000. Students can earn degrees in computer science and physics and, once graduated, can share alumni status with influential people, such as Steve Wozniak and Robert Redford. Prospective art students can check out Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, and those desiring a career in the medical field can look into the Institute of Business and Medical Careers.

To learn more, check out the best degree programs and top career opportunities offered in Colorado.


What are Colorado’s Colleges & Universities?

Colorado’s Best Overall


Colorado's Best Small Colleges and Universities 2021 badge
Download Badge

The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Colorado is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified a total of 9 small colleges in Colorado; 4 that satisfy the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. Its student body must consist of 5,000 or fewer students.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

How do we determine Colorado's best small colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Best Small Colleges & Universities in Colorado

  1. #3

    Fort Lewis College

    Durango , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/20

    What is Fort Lewis College known for?

    Fort Lewis College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    REQUEST INFO
  2. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/23

    What is Western Colorado University known for?

    Western Colorado University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

Find Colorado’s best private school for your interest

Resources for College-Bound Students

Photo By Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0