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.

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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.


What are Texas’s Colleges & Universities?

Texas’s Best Overall


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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?

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.


15 Best Small Colleges in Texas

  1. #1

    University of Dallas

    #1417 institution's historical influence
    #1419 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/27

    Irving, TX

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    What is University of Dallas known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
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  2. #2

    Houston Baptist University

    #1979 institution's historical influence
    #270 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    Houston, TX

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    What is Houston Baptist University known for?

    Houston Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    St. Mary's University, Texas

    #1408 institution's historical influence
    #282 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    59%

    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
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Trinity University

    #1044 institution's historical influence
    #236 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    34%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1370/30

    San Antonio, TX

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    What is Trinity University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Psychology
  5. #5

    University of St. Thomas

    #2860 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    66%

    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
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Communications
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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  6. #6

    Southwestern University

    #1613 institution's historical influence
    #1188 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    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
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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  7. #7

    Hardin–Simmons University

    #1977 institution's historical influence
    #1182 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1056/20

    Abilene, TX

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    What is Hardin–Simmons University known for?

    Hardin–Simmons University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    LeTourneau University

    #3960 institution's historical influence
    #202 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/25

    Longview, TX

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    What is LeTourneau University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
  9. #9

    Howard Payne University

    #1598 institution's historical influence
    #939 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    40%

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #10

    Abilene Christian University

    #1303 institution's historical influence
    #771 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    66%

    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
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

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  11. #11

    St. Edward's University

    #2422 institution's historical influence
    #364 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    67%

    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. #12

    Austin College

    #1918 institution's historical influence
    #1129 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    Sherman, TX

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    What is Austin College known for?

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

    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Dallas Baptist University

    #3128 institution's historical influence
    #1101 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    3K

    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
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
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  14. #14

    Southwestern Adventist University

    #6164 institution's historical influence
    #656 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/19

    Keene, TX

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    What is Southwestern Adventist University known for?

    Southwestern Adventist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University

    #3597 institution's historical influence
    #92 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    49%

    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:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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