Best Small Colleges in Virginia 2022

Best Small Colleges in Virginia 2022

Small colleges in Virginia 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.

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.

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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

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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Virginia is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 31 small colleges in Virginia. The list below of the 25 best small colleges in Virginia. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

How do we determine Virginia'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 Virginia 2022

  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

    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

  3. #4

    Virginia Military Institute

    Lexington , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/24

    What is Virginia Military Institute known for?

    Virginia Military Institute’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    Virginia State University

    Petersburg , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    920/17

    What is Virginia State University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Christopher Newport University

    Newport News , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/24

    What is Christopher Newport University known for?

    Christopher Newport University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    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

  7. #8

    University of Mary Washington

    Fredericksburg , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/26

    What is University of Mary Washington known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    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

  9. #10

    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

  10. #11

    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

  11. #12

    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

  12. #13

    Longwood University

    Farmville , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/20

    What is Longwood University known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    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

  14. #15

    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

  15. #16

    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

  16. #17

    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

  17. #18

    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

  18. #19

    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

  19. #20

    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

  20. #21

    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

  21. #22

    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

  22. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    What is University of Virginia's College at Wise known for?

    University of Virginia's College at Wise’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #24

    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

  24. #25

    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

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Virginia’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. Washington and Lee University
  2. Virginia Military Institute
  3. Southern Virginia University
  4. Hollins University
  5. University of Richmond
  6. Hampden–Sydney College
  7. Virginia Union University
  8. Hampton University
  9. Sweet Briar College
  10. Virginia State University
  11. Randolph–Macon College
  12. Norfolk State University
  13. Marymount University
  14. University of Mary Washington
  15. Eastern Mennonite University
  16. Randolph College
  17. Emory and Henry College
  18. Mary Baldwin University
  19. Christopher Newport University
  20. Roanoke College
  21. University of Virginia's College at Wise
  22. Shenandoah University
  23. Averett University
  24. Bluefield University
  25. Bridgewater College
  26. Longwood University
  27. University of Lynchburg
  28. Ferrum College

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