For students who want to attend a small school with engaging learning experiences, liberal arts colleges can be a great option. Those interested in top liberal arts colleges usually are familiar with highly-ranked colleges in the United States, like Williams College in Massachusetts, Pomona College in California, or Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. At first glance, it may seem like all of the top liberal arts schools are in either the Northeast or California, but this is actually far from the truth.
There are actually several top liberal arts colleges located outside of the Northeast and California. These colleges offer all the benefits of a great liberal arts school while also providing some diversity in terms of their location. To learn more about the top liberal arts colleges outside of the Northeast and California, you won’t want to miss this post.
Location: Northfield, Minnesota US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 5 (tied) Enrollment: 2,014 Acceptance Rate: 22.6%
Carleton’s campus stretches a beautiful 955 acres. The academic calendar is based on 10-week trimesters, offering a more accelerated course pace and the chance to explore more subjects. The school promises to meet 100% of all accepted students’ demonstrated financial need.
Location: Colorado Springs, CO US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 27 (tied) Enrollment: 2,107 Acceptance Rate: 15%
Located in picturesque Colorado Springs near the base of Pikes Peak, Colorado College offers a unique academic schedule called the Block Plan. Through this plan, students take one class at a time for three and a half weeks, completing 8 blocks during the course of an academic year. Proponents claim that this plan allows professors to be more creative with scheduling and allows students to more fully focus on each class.
Location: Davidson, NC US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 10 Enrollment: 1,810 Acceptance Rate: 20%
Also ranked the #5 Most Innovative School by US News and World Report, Davidson became the first liberal arts college to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages. The school also offers Division I athletics and more than 20 choices of undergraduate majors.
Location: Grinnell, IA US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 11 (tied) Enrollment: 1,712 Acceptance Rate: 29%
Due to its remote location, roughly halfway between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Grinnell is sometimes referred to as the “Little School on the Prairie.” Still, it has a busy social scene including Greek life, Division III athletics, and over 100 student organizations. 55-60% of students participate in study abroad programs.
Location: Gambier, OH US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 30 (tied) Enrollment: 1,677 Acceptance Rate: 27%
Kenyon’s small size may fool you, but it is home to impressive offerings such as 150 study abroad options and the Brown Family Environmental Center, a 382-acre nature preserve on campus where students can enjoy classes in biology, ecology, and environmental science. Kenyon’s English department is particularly well known for its highly-selective literary magazine, the Kenyon Review.
Location: St. Paul, MN US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 27 Enrollment: 2,136 Acceptance Rate: 41%
Macalester is conveniently located midway just 10 minutes from the hubs of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Here, students have access to all the theatres, museums, and outdoor activities the Twin Cities have to offer, in addition to the extensive on-campus offerings. Macalester guarantees to meet the full financial need of every student.
Location: Oberlin, OH US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 30 (tied) Enrollment: 2,827 Acceptance Rate: 34%
In addition to its College of Arts and Sciences, Oberlin also offers a Conservatory of Music that provides bachelor of music degrees and a number of master’s programs. It is widely recognized as one of the best undergraduate music schools in the country.
Location: Richmond, VA US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 25 Enrollment: 3,194 Acceptance Rate: 33%
Despite its larger size by liberal arts school standards, the University of Richmond still maintains an 8:1 student to faculty ratio and more than 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Students who submit complete applications are automatically considered for the university’s many merit scholarships, and those who submit by December 1st will be considered for the Richmond Scholars Program, a full-ride scholarship granted to 25 incoming first-years.
Location: Lexington, VA US News Liberal Arts College Ranking: 11 (tied) Enrollment: 1,827 Acceptance Rate: 22%
Three hours from Washington, DC, Washington and Lee University is a school steeped in history with notable alumni including Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and author and journalist Tom Wolfe. These days, the campus is home to more than 25 chapters of fraternities and sororities, with 80% of students are involved in Greek life. Source: OYA School