Best Private Colleges in Virginia 2022

Best Private Colleges in Virginia 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Virginia.

Colleges and Universities in Virginia

Liberty University, a private Christian school in Lynchburg, is the largest school in Virginia, serving over 60,000 students. The largest public university, Virginia Tech, has a student population of about half that but offers many in-person degree programs as well as eight master’s programs and 19 certificate programs online. Students who attend Virginia Tech can pursue fields like engineering, criminal justice, education, and business.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

The majority of Virginia’s universities and colleges could be considered small schools, serving populations of less than 5,000 students. Included on this list are public schools, like Christopher Newport University in Newport News, and private schools, like Hampton University, a historically black university in Hampton. Though most of its higher education institutes charge tuition fees above the national average, Virginia offers several loan forgiveness programs for qualifying attorneys and medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmaceutical professionals.

Virginia is perhaps most famous for its rich history — but the state is also home to many unique museums and famous landmarks. For example, those who love the classics can visit the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond. Those who harbor romantic dreams of espionage and intrigue might visit the CIA Museum in McLean. And, if you like your attractions random, you could check out Virginia’s 300-yard-long natural tunnel or its 29-ton spinning granite ball. While you’re here, you might consider attending one of the 78 colleges located in the state.

Learn more about Virginia’s higher education opportunities by checking out the state’s many colleges and universities.


What are Virginia’s Colleges & Universities?

Virginia’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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How do we determine Virginia's best private 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.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 28 private universities in Virginia. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in Virginia, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in Virginia

  1. #2

    University of Richmond

    University of Richmond , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1375/31

    What is University of Richmond known for?

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

    • Law
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #3

    Liberty University

    Lynchburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    75K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    What is Liberty University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Law
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Hampton University

    Hampton , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Hampton University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    Regent University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    What is Regent University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Sweet Briar College

    Sweet Briar , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/24

    What is Sweet Briar College known for?

    Sweet Briar College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    ECPI University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    15K

    What is ECPI University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
  7. #8

    Virginia Union University

    Richmond , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    849/15

    What is Virginia Union University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Roanoke College

    Salem , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    What is Roanoke College known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Economics
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Stratford University

    Alexandria , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Stratford University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Hollins University

    Roanoke , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    What is Hollins University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Marymount University

    Arlington , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/20

    What is Marymount University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Communications
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Randolph–Macon College

    Ashland , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/23

    What is Randolph–Macon College known for?

    Randolph–Macon College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Hampden–Sydney College

    Hampden-Sydney , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1190/23

    What is Hampden–Sydney College known for?

    Hampden–Sydney College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Shenandoah University

    Winchester , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/22

    What is Shenandoah University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Randolph College

    Lynchburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/22

    What is Randolph College known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Eastern Mennonite University

    Harrisonburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/22

    What is Eastern Mennonite University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Emory and Henry College

    Emory , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    What is Emory and Henry College known for?

    Emory and Henry College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • History
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    Southern Virginia University

    Buena Vista , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1083/22

    What is Southern Virginia University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Bridgewater College

    Bridgewater , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    What is Bridgewater College known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • History
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Virginia Wesleyan University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/24

    What is Virginia Wesleyan University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • History
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Ferrum College

    Ferrum , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/18

    What is Ferrum College known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #23

    Mary Baldwin University

    Staunton , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

    What is Mary Baldwin University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    University of Lynchburg

    Lynchburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    What is University of Lynchburg known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Virginia University of Lynchburg known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #26

    Averett University

    Danville , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/18

    What is Averett University known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #27

    Bluefield University

    Bluefield , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/19

    What is Bluefield University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #28

    The Art Institute of Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is The Art Institute of Virginia Beach known for?

    The Art Institute of Virginia Beach’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
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Virginia’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

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. Washington and Lee University
  2. Southern Virginia University
  3. Hollins University
  4. University of Richmond
  5. Hampden–Sydney College
  6. Virginia Union University
  7. Hampton University
  8. Regent University
  9. Sweet Briar College
  10. Randolph–Macon College
  11. Marymount University
  12. Eastern Mennonite University
  13. Randolph College
  14. Emory and Henry College
  15. Mary Baldwin University
  16. Roanoke College
  17. Liberty University
  18. Shenandoah University
  19. Averett University
  20. Bluefield University
  21. Bridgewater College
  22. University of Lynchburg
  23. Ferrum College