Texas’s Best Small Colleges of 2021

Small colleges in Texas 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.

Texas’s Best Small Colleges of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Texas

Texas offers more than 30 colleges and universities that serve communities of 10,000 students or more. The largest school in the bunch (and in the nation), Texas A&M University in College Station serves more than 65,000 students. The University of Texas at Austin is the next largest, serving about 45,000 students — but it too has a big claim to fame, as the wealthiest public university in the United States. Texas’s private colleges and universities, including Baylor University and Southern Methodist University, are also impressive in size and scope. The majority of these schools have religious affiliations and offer degrees in a variety fields, such as nursing, religious studies, criminal justice, business, and education.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

For students who prefer a more intimate educational environment, Texas offers a long list of smaller public and private colleges and universities, such as Abilene Christian University and University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Additionally, Texas has generous loan forgiveness programs for qualifying nurses, physicians, teachers, legal aid attorneys, and lawyers who work in the Texas Attorney General’s office.

Texas is known for doing things big. Big cities, big open spaces and, of course, big fun. Whether you’re hitting up the live music scene in Austin, catching a Cowboys game in Dallas, or strolling down the River Walk in San Antonio, you’re sure to have a good time. And, with more than 150 higher education institutes, it’s safe to say The Lone Star State is big on education too.

If you’re looking to earn your degree in the state of Texas, you’ll have plenty of higher learning institutes to choose from.

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Texas's Best Small Colleges and Universities 2021 badge
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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Texas is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). There are 39 small colleges in Texas, 23 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the 15 best small colleges in the state satisfies 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 Texas's best small colleges and universities?

The best colleges pound for pound!

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.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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15 Best Small Colleges in Texas

  1. University of Dallas
    #1

    University of Dallas

    #1264 institution's overall influence
    #1419 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/27

    Irving, TX

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  2. Houston Baptist University
    #2

    Houston Baptist University

    #1756 institution's overall influence
    #270 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    Houston, TX

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    What is Houston Baptist University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. St. Mary's University, Texas
    #3

    St. Mary's University, Texas

    #1256 institution's overall influence
    #282 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

    San Antonio, TX

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    What is St. Mary's University, Texas known for?

    St. Mary's University, Texas's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Trinity University
    #4

    Trinity University

    #1009 institution's overall influence
    #236 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    34%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1370/30

    San Antonio, TX

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    What is Trinity University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. University of St. Thomas
    #5

    University of St. Thomas

    #2928 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    Houston, TX

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    What is University of St. Thomas known for?

    University of St. Thomas 's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Southwestern University
    #6

    Southwestern University

    #1444 institution's overall influence
    #1188 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Georgetown, TX

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    What is Southwestern University known for?

    Southwestern University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Hardin–Simmons University
    #7

    Hardin–Simmons University

    #2069 institution's overall influence
    #1182 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1056/20

    Abilene, TX

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    What is Hardin–Simmons University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. LeTourneau University
    #8

    LeTourneau University

    #3506 institution's overall influence
    #202 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/25

    Longview, TX

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  9. Howard Payne University
    #9

    Howard Payne University

    #1452 institution's overall influence
    #939 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/21

    Brownwood, TX

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    What is Howard Payne University known for?

    Howard Payne University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Medical
    • History
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Abilene Christian University
    #10

    Abilene Christian University

    #1188 institution's overall influence
    #771 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1122/24

    Abilene, TX

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    What is Abilene Christian University known for?

    Abilene Christian University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. St. Edward's University
    #11

    St. Edward's University

    #2296 institution's overall influence
    #364 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1152/25

    Austin, TX

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    What is St. Edward's University known for?

    St. Edward's University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Austin College
    #12

    Austin College

    #1861 institution's overall influence
    #1129 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    Sherman, TX

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  13. Dallas Baptist University
    #13

    Dallas Baptist University

    #3083 institution's overall influence
    #1101 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/23

    Dallas, TX

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    What is Dallas Baptist University known for?

    Dallas Baptist University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. Southwestern Adventist University
    #14

    Southwestern Adventist University

    #5873 institution's overall influence
    #656 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/19

    Keene, TX

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  15. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
    #15

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University

    #4803 institution's overall influence
    #92 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/19

    Waxahachie, TX

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    What is Southwestern Assemblies of God University known for?

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Business
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

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