Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Ohio 2022

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Ohio offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Ohio 2022

Colleges and Universities in Ohio

Ohio offers over 120 colleges and universities for students to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. The largest school in the state, Ohio State University, a public institution, serves almost 55,000 students. This university has five regional campuses, which have graduated alumni like writer Harlan Ellison and Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger. The majority of Ohio’s schools, however, are private.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Tuition at these schools varies greatly, with costs as low as $7,000 at God’s Bible School and College, and as high as $56,000 at Kenyon University. The state is also home to nearly 40 higher education institutes with religious affiliations, offering plenty of options for students aiming to blend their faith with higher education. Although tuition costs in Ohio are higher than the national average, Ohio provides several loan forgiveness programs to those pursuing careers as public defenders and prosecutors, dentists, nurses, primary care physicians, and mental health providers. Many of these programs require individuals to work in shortage areas around the state for a certain time period in order to qualify.

If you’re someone with a wide variety of interests, Ohio might just be the place for you. In The Buckeye State, individuals can visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, take a trip through Amish Country, attend a professional sporting event, and hike waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It seems this state has something for everyone, including those pursuing a higher education degree.

Learn more about the numerous excellent degree paths and career prospects available in Ohio.


What are Ohio’s Colleges & Universities?

Ohio’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Ohio's best liberal arts colleges?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

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

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified 52 liberal arts colleges in Ohio. To be ranked among the 30 best liberal arts colleges in Ohio, schools must fully accredited institutions.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Ohio 2022

  1. #1

    Oberlin College

    Oberlin , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1380/31

    What is Oberlin College known for?

    Oberlin College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Denison University

    Granville , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    28%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1305/29

    What is Denison University known for?

    Denison University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Anthropology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Ashland University

    Ashland , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/21

    What is Ashland University known for?

    Ashland University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #5

    John Carroll University

    University Heights , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    What is John Carroll University known for?

    John Carroll University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #6

    Ohio Wesleyan University

    Delaware , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Ohio Wesleyan University known for?

    Ohio Wesleyan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Literature
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Xavier University

    Cincinnati , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    What is Xavier University known for?

    Xavier University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Youngstown State University

    Youngstown , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    What is Youngstown State University known for?

    Youngstown State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Wittenberg University

    Springfield , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1112/23

    What is Wittenberg University known for?

    Wittenberg University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    College of Wooster

    Wooster , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/27

    What is College of Wooster known for?

    College of Wooster’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1204/25

    What is Ohio Northern University known for?

    Ohio Northern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    What is Franciscan University of Steubenville known for?

    Franciscan University of Steubenville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Communications
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    University of Mount Union

    Alliance , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/22

    What is University of Mount Union known for?

    University of Mount Union’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Cedarville University

    Cedarville , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    What is Cedarville University known for?

    Cedarville University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #15

    Marietta College

    Marietta , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    What is Marietta College known for?

    Marietta College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • History
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Tiffin University

    Tiffin , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Tiffin University known for?

    Tiffin University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Central State University

    Wilberforce , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    810/15

    What is Central State University known for?

    Central State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Capital University

    Columbus , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/23

    What is Capital University known for?

    Capital University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Law
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    Wilberforce University

    Wilberforce , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    788/17

    What is Wilberforce University known for?

    Wilberforce University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Hiram College

    Hiram , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1006/21

    What is Hiram College known for?

    Hiram College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. #21

    Malone University

    Canton , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1054/22

    What is Malone University known for?

    Malone University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Walsh University

    North Canton , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1082/22

    What is Walsh University known for?

    Walsh University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    Notre Dame College

    Cleveland , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/18

    What is Notre Dame College known for?

    Notre Dame College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    Muskingum University

    New Concord , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/20

    What is Muskingum University known for?

    Muskingum University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #25

    Shawnee State University

    Portsmouth , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Shawnee State University known for?

    Shawnee State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
  25. Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1146/24

    What is Baldwin Wallace University known for?

    Baldwin Wallace University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  26. #27

    Lake Erie College

    Painesville , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Lake Erie College known for?

    Lake Erie College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #28

    Otterbein University

    Westerville , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1152/23

    What is Otterbein University known for?

    Otterbein University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  28. #29

    Antioch University Midwest

    Yellow Springs , OH

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Antioch University Midwest known for?

    Antioch University Midwest’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  29. #30

    Ursuline College

    Pepper Pike , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1029/20

    What is Ursuline College known for?

    Ursuline College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  30. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    3K

    What is University of Cincinnati Clermont College known for?

    University of Cincinnati Clermont College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Sociology
  31. #32

    Miami University Middletown

    Middletown , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    15%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Miami University Middletown known for?

    Miami University Middletown’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Medical
  32. #33

    Bluffton University

    Bluffton , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    942/20

    What is Bluffton University known for?

    Bluffton University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  33. #34

    Ohio Dominican University

    Columbus , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    What is Ohio Dominican University known for?

    Ohio Dominican University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  34. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Kent State University at Stark known for?

    Kent State University at Stark’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  35. #36

    Ohio Christian University

    Circleville , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Ohio Christian University known for?

    Ohio Christian University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
  36. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Kent State University at Ashtabula known for?

    Kent State University at Ashtabula’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
  37. #38

    Miami University Hamilton

    Hamilton , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    16%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Miami University Hamilton known for?

    Miami University Hamilton’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Literature
  38. #39

    Heidelberg University

    Tiffin , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    What is Heidelberg University known for?

    Heidelberg University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  39. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Ohio University Southern Campus known for?

    Ohio University Southern Campus’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
  40. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Kent State University at Salem known for?

    Kent State University at Salem’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Business
  41. #42

    Mount Vernon Nazarene University

    Mount Vernon , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/22

    What is Mount Vernon Nazarene University known for?

    Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  42. #43

    Mount St. Joseph University

    Cincinnati , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    What is Mount St. Joseph University known for?

    Mount St. Joseph University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Law
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  43. #44

    Defiance College

    Defiance , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/19

    What is Defiance College known for?

    Defiance College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  44. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Ohio State University at Newark known for?

    Ohio State University at Newark’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Literature
  45. #46

    Ohio University – Chillicothe

    Chillicothe , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Ohio University – Chillicothe known for?

    Ohio University – Chillicothe’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Earth Sciences
  46. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Ohio State University at Mansfield known for?

    Ohio State University at Mansfield’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Business
    • Education
  47. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    3K

    What is University of Northwestern Ohio known for?

    University of Northwestern Ohio’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  48. #49

    Lourdes University

    Sylvania , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

    What is Lourdes University known for?

    Lourdes University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • History
    • Psychology
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  49. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    13%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Ohio State University at Marion known for?

    Ohio State University at Marion’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
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Ohio’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Your Area of Interest

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Oberlin College
  2. Kenyon College
  3. Denison University
  4. College of Wooster
  5. Ohio Wesleyan University
  6. John Carroll University
  7. Xavier University
  8. Hiram College
  9. Wittenberg University
  10. Malone University
  11. University of Mount Union
  12. Marietta College
  13. Otterbein University
  14. Ohio Northern University
  15. Franciscan University of Steubenville
  16. Ursuline College
  17. Antioch University Midwest
  18. Ashland University
  19. Capital University
  20. Muskingum University
  21. Baldwin Wallace University
  22. Cedarville University
  23. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
  24. Walsh University
  25. Mount St. Joseph University