Best Small Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

Small colleges in Pennsylvania 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.

Best Small Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

Prospective students hoping to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree have over 100 higher learning institutions to choose from. The largest public university is Pennsylvania State University, or Penn State, with a tuition of $18,000, and a student population of over 95,000 across its campuses. As a private institution, the University of Pennsylvania, or simply Penn, is known for its medical, nursing, social work, and business fields. Tuition is $56,000, and the school boasts a 95% graduation rate.

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Students can also attend one of the more than 60 religiously affiliated schools, such as Villanova University or Lafayette College, each with a tuition of about $53,000. Some of the most affordable colleges in the state include the Curtis Institute of Music and the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, with tuitions set at $3,000 and $9,000, respectively. Though the average tuition for college in Pennsylvania comes in above the national average, those who practice medicine in underserved areas may qualify for up to $100,000 in loan forgiveness through the Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program.

As the nation’s second state, Pennsylvania’s history runs deep. It’s here where Betsy Ross made the first American flag and where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Keystone State is also home to some culinary delights, including whoopie pies, soft pretzels, and the famous Philly cheesesteak. Students looking to earn their degree in Pennsylvania will undoubtedly enjoy what the state has to offer.

Check out the state’s top programs and learn more about earning your degree in Pennsylvania.


What are Pennsylvania’s Colleges & Universities?

Pennsylvania’s Best Overall

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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Pennsylvania is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 78 small colleges in Pennsylvania. The list below of the 30 best small colleges in Pennsylvania. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

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

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.

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Best Small Colleges in Pennsylvania 2022

  1. #1

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

    What is Swarthmore College known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    Haverford College

    Haverford , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

    What is Haverford College known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #4

    Dickinson College

    Carlisle , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Dickinson College known for?

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

    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #5

    Bucknell University

    Lewisburg , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1342/30

    What is Bucknell University known for?

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

    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #6

    Lafayette College

    Easton , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    What is Lafayette College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Washington & Jefferson College

    Washington , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Washington & Jefferson College known for?

    Washington & Jefferson College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Franklin & Marshall College

    Lancaster , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Franklin & Marshall College known for?

    Franklin & Marshall College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Gettysburg College

    Gettysburg , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Gettysburg College known for?

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

    • Economics
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #10

    Gannon University

    Erie , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/22

    What is Gannon University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #11

    La Salle University

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    What is La Salle University known for?

    La Salle University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Widener University

    Chester , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/22

    What is Widener University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Law
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Lincoln University

    Lincoln University , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    940/17

    What is Lincoln University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    University of Scranton

    Scranton , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/26

    What is University of Scranton known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #15

    Grove City College

    Grove City , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1257/26

    What is Grove City College known for?

    Grove City College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Elizabethtown College

    Elizabethtown , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/24

    What is Elizabethtown College known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Ursinus College

    Collegeville , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    What is Ursinus College known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • History
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Eastern University

    Saint Davids , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

    What is Eastern University known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  18. #19

    Chestnut Hill College

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Chestnut Hill College known for?

    Chestnut Hill College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Muhlenberg College

    Allentown , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/28

    What is Muhlenberg College known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Allegheny College

    Meadville , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/27

    What is Allegheny College known for?

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

    • Communications
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  21. #22

    Arcadia University

    Glenside , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    What is Arcadia University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • History
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  22. #23

    Robert Morris University

    Moon Township , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/24

    What is Robert Morris University known for?

    Robert Morris University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Economics
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  23. #24

    DeSales University

    Center Valley , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/25

    What is DeSales University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  24. #25

    Chatham University

    Pittsburgh , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Chatham University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    What is University of Pittsburgh at Bradford known for?

    University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Biology
    REQUEST INFO
  26. #27

    Wilkes University

    Wilkes-Barre , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1119/23

    What is Wilkes University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #28

    Juniata College

    Huntingdon , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Juniata College known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  28. #29

    Lycoming College

    Williamsport , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/21

    What is Lycoming College known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  29. #30

    Albright College

    Reading , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Albright College known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
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Pennsylvania’s Best Small College in Your Area of Interest

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. Swarthmore College
  2. Bryn Mawr College
  3. Haverford College
  4. Westminster College
  5. Bucknell University
  6. Wilkes University
  7. Dickinson College
  8. Franklin & Marshall College
  9. Saint Francis University
  10. Elizabethtown College
  11. Lafayette College
  12. Allegheny College
  13. Washington & Jefferson College
  14. Ursinus College
  15. Susquehanna University
  16. Gettysburg College
  17. University of Scranton
  18. Grove City College
  19. Arcadia University
  20. Eastern University
  21. Muhlenberg College
  22. Misericordia University
  23. Lycoming College
  24. Juniata College
  25. Gannon University

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