fringeNot every great college is located in the Big City. In fact, there are numerous colleges set in rural areas that are equally prestigious as their urban-dwelling counterparts. Here are College Raptor’s Top 25 Rural Colleges for 2017!

25. Asbury University

Flickr user Leslie

Flickr user Leslie

Location: Wilmore, KY

Student Enrollment: 1,879

College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Asbury University is a Christian liberal arts school offering 54 majors across 14 departments. Approximately 34% of incoming freshmen are in the top 10% of their High School classes and originate from 44 states and 14 countries.

Learn more about Asbury University

24. Simpson College

Wikimedia Commons user: Simpsoncollege

Wikimedia Commons user: Simpsoncollege

Location: Indianola, IA

Student Enrollment: 1,725

College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Simpson College was founded in 1860 by Minister Matthew Simpson, the same minister who delivered the last words at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral in Springfield, IL. Its 75 acre- campus stretches across Indianola, Iowa a mere 12 miles from the state capital of Des Moines.

Learn more about Simpson College

23. DeSales University

Flickr user Leigh Valley, PA

Flickr user Leigh Valley, PA

Location: Center Valley, PA

Student Enrollment: 3,190

College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

DeSales has a student/faculty ratio of 14:1 and an average class size of 20 people. There are over 30 majors offered and taught by its 125 faculty members, 84% of whom hold the highest degree in their field.   

Learn more about DeSales University

22. Bellin College

Flickr user Wolfram Burner (note: not Bellin campus)

Flickr user Wolfram Burner (note: not Bellin campus)

Location: Green Bay, WI

Student Enrollment: 351

College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

This college specializes in the healthcare field, specifically nursing and radiological sciences. All of its programs are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges. Unsurprisingly, the most popular major on campus is Registered Nursing.

Learn more about Bellin College

21. St. John’s College

Flickr user Ken Lund

Flickr user Ken Lund

Location: Annapolis, MD

Student Enrollment: 472

College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Incoming freshmen at this college score on average between a 27 and 32 on the ACT, and between a 1,232 and 1,415 on the SAT. St. John’s College boasts a 7:1 student-faculty ratio. Most of the students in attendance come from the following states: CA, MD, NJ, MA.

Learn more about St. John’s College

20. Laguna College of Art and Design

Flickr user PunkToad

Flickr user PunkToad

Location: Laguna Beach, CA

Student Enrollment: 566

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

The specialty of this school lies in its name: art and design. The most popular majors on campus include: Illustration, Game and Interactive Media Design, Fine/Studio Arts, Graphic Design, and Animation / Interactive Technology / Video Graphics / Special Effects.

Learn more about Laguna College of Art and Design

19. Saint Francis University

Flickr user Owen

Flickr user Owen

Location: Loretto, PA

Student Enrollment: 2,667

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

Less than 2,000 applications per year are sent to this little gem, and Saint Francis University accepts a majority of them—74% to be precise. It is a Roman Catholic affiliated school and a number of their residence halls are named after saints.

Learn more about Saint Francis University

18. SUNY College at Brockport

Flickr user Jess Buttery

Flickr user Jess Buttery

Location: Brockport, NY

Student Enrollment: 8,106

College Type: Public, 4 year or above

The motto of this college is “Expect the Extraordinary!” The top three most popular majors on this campus include: Psychology, Registered Nursing, and Criminal Justice / Safety Studies. Their mascot is Ellsworth the Golden Eagle!

Learn more about SUNY College at Brockport

17. Saint Mary’s College of California

Flickr user Sharon Hahn Darlin

Flickr user Sharon Hahn Darlin

Location: Moraga, CA

Student Enrollment: 4,112

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

This Roman Catholic affiliated school has an astounding acceptance rate of 98%. Nearly 3,800 applications are sent in every year, and Saint Mary’s accepts almost 3,700 of them. They also have a first-year retention rate of 88%.

Learn more about Saint Mary’s College of California

16. Albion College

Flickr user Albion College

Flickr user Albion College

Location: Albion, MI

Student Enrollment: 1,268

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

This Union Methodist college boasts the motto “Lux Fiat” which means “Let there be Light.” It has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio. The most popular majors on campus include the following: Biology / Biological Sciences, Psychology, Economics, Kinesiology and Exercise Science, and Business Administration.

Learn more about Albion College

15. Ohio Northern University 

Flickr user Sam Howzit

Flickr user Sam Howzit

Location: Ada, OH

Student Enrollment: 3,695

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

Sporting the colors orange, black, and white, the Ohio Northern Polar Bears find themselves in NCAA Division III for their sports. The school motto is “Ex Diversitate Vires” which translates to “Out of diversity, strength.” It is a United Methodist affiliated school that has a 69% acceptance rate.

Learn more about Ohio Northern University

14. Westminster College (PA)

Flickr user Doug Kerr

Flickr user Doug Kerr

Location: New Wilmington, PA

Student Enrollment: 1,307

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

Located 50 miles north of Pittsburgh, this Presbyterian affiliated school has a 10:1 student-faculty ratio. The five most popular majors on campus include: Education, Business Administration, Biology, Sociology, and English / Literature.

Learn more about Westminster College

13. Cornell College

Flickr user Matthew Ephraim

Flickr user Matthew Ephraim

Location: Mount Vernon, IA

Student Enrollment: 1,086

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

Cornell College is sort of like a cousin to Cornell University out in New York, as the College is named after William Wesley Cornell—a relative of Ezra Cornell, the founder of the University. The most popular major on campus is Psychology.  

Learn more about Cornell College

12. Cedarville University

Flickr user Miles McGee

Flickr user Miles McGee

Location: Cedarville, OH

Student Enrollment: 3,585

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

A Baptist school, this university has blue and gold as their colors. The incoming class of freshmen typically average between a 23 and 28 in the ACT, and between 1,066 and 1,271 for the SAT. Over 3,000 applications are sent in to this university every year, and they accept about 74% of them.

Learn more about Cedarville University

11. Bard College

Flickr user Meg Stewart

Flickr user Meg Stewart

Location: Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Student Enrollment: 2,469

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

Located on the Hudson river and overlooking the Catskill mountains, Bard College is a liberal arts school with a view. The most popular major on campus is Social Sciences. Notable alumni include: comedian Chevy Chase, actor Jonah Hill, and screenwriter Howard Koch among others.

Learn more about Bard College

10. Saint John’s University

Flickr user Matt DeMay

Flickr user Matt DeMay

Location: Collegeville, MN

Student Enrollment: 1,895

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

This all-men’s school is partnered with the College of Saint Benedict—an all women’s college. Both universities are Roman Catholic affiliated. Saint John’s has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and a first year retention rate of 85%.

Learn more about Saint John’s University

9. Principia College

Flickr user Don Kasak

Flickr user Don Kasak

Location: Elsah, IL

Student Enrollment: 493

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

This school has two campuses—one in St. Louis and one in Elsah, IL. It was originally founded in St. Louis but moved north in the 1930s to open a new location. Students typically come from the following states: MO, IL, CA, FL, and NY.

Learn more about Principia College

8. Gustavus Adolphus College

Location: Saint Peter, MN

Student Enrollment: 2,457

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

Affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gustavus Adolphus College is named after a King of Sweden who helped lead his country to power. The school has a 67% acceptance rate, in which over 3,000 applications of the nearly 4,700 that are sent in get accepted.

Learn more about Gustavus Adolphus College

7. Miami University—Oxford

Flickr user Brandon C

Flickr user Brandon C

Location: Oxford, OH

Student Enrollment: 18,620

College Type: Public, 4 year or above

Known as the RedHawks, the students at this university come into their freshman year with an ACT average of 26-30 and an average SAT score of 1,179-1,340. Their mascot is named Swoop and their colors are red and white. The most popular major on campus is Finance, followed by Marketing and Accounting.

Learn more about Miami University—Oxford

6. Oberlin College

Flickr user Chris Hamby

Flickr user Chris Hamby

Location: Oberlin, OH

Student Enrollment: 2,978

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

This College of Arts and Sciences is also a Conservatory for Music—the oldest in the United States! It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the most popular major is Music Performance. Oberlin boasts a 9:1 student-faculty ratio and an impressive 92% first-year retention rate.

Learn more about Oberlin College

5. Bowdoin College

Flickr user Paul VanDerWerf

Flickr user Paul VanDerWerf

Location: Brunswick, ME

Student Enrollment: 1,805

College Type: Private, nonprofit, 4 year

This Liberal Arts college is well known for their Political Science and Government programs, and they are the most common majors on their campus. It has a 9:1 student-faculty ratio and a 98% first-year retention rate. Notable alumni include: Reed Hastings–Founder and CEO of Netflix, former US President Franklin Pierce, and novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Learn more about Bowdoin College

4. Hamilton College

Flickr user Chuck Miller

Flickr user Chuck Miller

Location: Clinton, NY

Student Enrollment: 1,904

College Type: Private, nonprofit, 4 year

Founded in 1793 as a boys’ school, Hamilton College is now a coeducational institution with nearly even representation of male and female students–with 54% of all students being women. The average ACT score for incoming freshman is between 30 and 33, and the average SAT score between 1,320 and 1,467.

Learn more about Hamilton College

3. United States Air Force Academy

Flickr user Jaqueline Poggi

Flickr user Jaqueline Poggi

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Student Enrollment: 3,925

College Type: Public, 4 year

The gyrfalcon is the mascot of this Academy, and their school colors are blue and silver. It is as academic as it is historic—drawing in about a million tourists every year. It has a student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and a 94% first-year retention rate. The most popular major on campus is Business Administration.

Learn more about the United States Air Force Academy

2. United States Military Academy

Flickr user Forsaken Fotos

Flickr user Forsaken Fotos

Location: West Point, NY

Student Enrollment: 4,414

College Type: Public, 4 year

With its motto of “Duty. Honor. Country.” this Academy—founded by former US President Thomas Jefferson—produces cadets with bachelor’s degrees in a number of academic fields. The most popular majors on campus include Mechanical Engineering, Economics, and Business Administration.

Learn more about the United States Military Academy

1. Williams College

Flickr user SERSeanCrane

Flickr user SERSeanCrane

Location: Williamstown, MA

Student Enrollment: 2,126

College Type: Private, not-for-profit, 4 year or above

The average ACT composite for incoming first-year students ranges between 30 and 34, and the average SAT combined score ranges between 1,349 and 1,535. Williams College also boasts a delightful purple cow as their mascot, nicknamed Ephelia.

Learn more about Williams College

Each of these rankings is based on an analysis of data about the school’s selectivity, financial health, academic rigor, and student success. We’ve outlined our full methodology here.