50 Best Small Colleges and Universities Ranked for Students in 2022

50 Best Small Colleges and Universities Ranked for Students in 2022

Small colleges 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 (as at Caltech) or on the liberal arts (as at Sarah Lawrence), small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

When comparing a big college campus to a small college campus, consider that the latter offers more individualized experiences, including opportunities for illuminating classroom discussions, independent research, and one-on-one relationships with your instructors.

Best Small Colleges and Universities 2022
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Our ranking of the best small colleges and universities is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though many offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 1,069 small colleges in the US. In order to be included in this list of best small colleges and universities, a school must be a fully accredited non-profit institution, and must have a student body of 5,000 or fewer students.

The Best Small Colleges and Universities in the US 2022

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1545/35

  2. #3

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

  3. #4

    Wesleyan University

    Middletown , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    4K

  4. #5

    Reed College

    Portland , OR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1422/32

  5. #6

    Amherst College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  6. #7

    Williams College

    Williamstown , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

  7. #9

    Wellesley College

    Wellesley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

  8. #10

    Oberlin College

    Oberlin , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1380/31

  9. #14

    Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

  10. #15

    Haverford College

    Haverford , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

  11. #16

    Pomona College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

  12. #20

    Middlebury College

    Middlebury , VT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    22%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/33

  13. #21

    Bowdoin College

    Brunswick , ME
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

  14. #23

    Colgate University

    Hamilton , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  15. #30

    Claremont McKenna College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

  16. #31

    Carleton College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/32

  17. #43

    Sarah Lawrence College

    Bronxville , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1331/29

    What is Sarah Lawrence College known for?

    Sarah Lawrence College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #47

    Samford University

    Birmingham , AL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/26

    Samford University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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The Best Small Colleges and Universities Near You

The best small colleges in your state
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Find the Best Small Colleges and Universities in Your Area of Interest

The best small colleges by discipline
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. California Institute of Technology
  2. Swarthmore College
  3. Amherst College
  4. Sarah Lawrence College
  5. Reed College
  6. Barnard College
  7. Bates College
  8. Wesleyan University
  9. Vassar College
  10. Hampshire College
  11. Wellesley College
  12. Williams College
  13. Cooper Union
  14. Pomona College
  15. Oberlin College
  16. Bryn Mawr College
  17. Bennington College
  18. Yeshiva University
  19. Bard College
  20. Haverford College
  21. Harvey Mudd College
  22. Smith College
  23. Claremont McKenna College
  24. The Catholic University of America
  25. Morehouse College
  26. Kenyon College
  27. Naropa University
  28. Bowdoin College
  29. Mount Holyoke College
  30. Carleton College
  31. Fisk University
  32. Spelman College
  33. Clark University
  34. Colgate University
  35. Washington and Lee University
  36. Occidental College
  37. Connecticut College
  38. Pitzer College
  39. New College of Florida
  40. Wheaton College
  41. Grinnell College
  42. Middlebury College
  43. DePauw University
  44. Hamilton College
  45. Trinity College
  46. Goddard College
  47. College of the Atlantic
  48. Clarke University
  49. Scripps College
  50. Earlham College

Photo Credit: California Institute of Technology, Beckman Institute. By Canon.vs.nikon, via CC BY-SA 3.0.