Best Small Colleges in Washington 2022

Small colleges in Washington 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 Washington 2022

Colleges and Universities in Washington

Of the 40 public options, the University of Washington in Seattle is the largest. Roughly 40,000 students attend classes in fields like nursing, education, biology, and computer science. This public research institution is also affordable, charging about $11,000 for tuition. In fact, none of the public schools in Washington exceed $12,000 in price. This includes community colleges, technical colleges, and four-year universities, making Washington a uniquely affordable place to earn your associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

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Washington also has 24 private institutions. Of those, nine are religious. The most widely known of these, Catholic university Gonzaga enrolls roughly 7,000 students, at a cost of $40,000, in areas such as religious studies, engineering, and law. Central Washington University (CWU) is a smaller public school, serving just over 12,000 students, and has a tuition of $8,000. With 15% of its population being Hispanic, CWU is now recognized as an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution. Washington health professions also have the opportunity to receive funding for loan repayment through Washington’s Health Professional Loan Repayment Program.

Set in the Pacific Northwest, Washington offers ocean beaches and lush forests. In fact, over half the state is covered in forests, earning Washington its nickname as The Evergreen State. Viewers atop the Space Needle in Seattle can take in the sights of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and both the Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges. In addition, prospective students can choose from over 60 higher education institutions in the state.

Check out the top higher education programs and find an affordable degree in Washington.


What are Washington’s Colleges & Universities?

Washington’s Best Overall

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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Washington is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 27 small colleges in Washington. The list below of the 30 best small colleges in Washington. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

How do we determine Washington'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 Washington 2022

  1. #1

    Whitman College

    Walla Walla , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    What is Whitman College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #3

    University of Puget Sound

    Tacoma , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    3K

    What is University of Puget Sound known for?

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

    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #4

    Seattle Pacific University

    Seattle , WA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/22

    What is Seattle Pacific University known for?

    Seattle Pacific University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

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  4. Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    What is Pacific Lutheran University known for?

    Pacific Lutheran University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1264/27

    What is DigiPen Institute of Technology known for?

    DigiPen Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    City University of Seattle

    Seattle , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Student body

    1K

    What is City University of Seattle known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Walla Walla University

    College Place , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Walla Walla University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Religious Studies
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Whitworth University

    Spokane , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is Whitworth University known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Saint Martin's University

    Lacey , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/20

    What is Saint Martin's University known for?

    Saint Martin's University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Peninsula College

    Port Angeles , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Peninsula College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Medical
  11. #12

    Wenatchee Valley College

    Wenatchee , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Wenatchee Valley College known for?

    Wenatchee Valley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Lake Washington Institute of Technology known for?

    Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Education
  13. #14

    Antioch University Seattle

    Seattle , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Antioch University Seattle known for?

    Antioch University Seattle’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Northwest University

    Kirkland , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    What is Northwest University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

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  15. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Spokane Falls Community College known for?

    Spokane Falls Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Physics
  16. #17

    Skagit Valley College

    Mount Vernon , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Skagit Valley College known for?

    Skagit Valley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Nursing
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Centralia College

    Centralia , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Centralia College known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    North Seattle College

    Seattle , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    4K

    What is North Seattle College known for?

    North Seattle College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Medical
  19. #20

    Whatcom Community College

    Bellingham , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Whatcom Community College known for?

    Whatcom Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Business
  20. #21

    Heritage University

    Toppenish , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Heritage University known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
  21. #22

    Clover Park Technical College

    Lakewood , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Clover Park Technical College known for?

    Clover Park Technical College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Medical
  22. #23

    Bellingham Technical College

    Bellingham , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Bellingham Technical College known for?

    Bellingham Technical College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
  23. #24

    South Seattle College

    Seattle , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    4K

    What is South Seattle College known for?

    South Seattle College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Medical
  24. #25

    Yakima Valley College

    Yakima , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Yakima Valley College known for?

    Yakima Valley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #26

    Grays Harbor College

    Aberdeen , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Grays Harbor College known for?

    Grays Harbor College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #27

    Renton Technical College

    Renton , WA

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Renton Technical College known for?

    Renton Technical College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
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Washington’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. Whitman College
  2. Evergreen State College
  3. University of Puget Sound
  4. Saint Martin's University
  5. Pacific Lutheran University
  6. Seattle Pacific University
  7. DigiPen Institute of Technology
  8. Walla Walla University
  9. Whitworth University
  10. Northwest University

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