smallThese schools are the very definition of small but mighty. Though small in size, each of these colleges and universities packs a big punch when it comes to academics and other factors. For the purposes of this list, we’ve defined “small” as having fewer than 2,000 undergraduate students. (Note: The information ‘Student Enrollment’ featured in these college summaries includes both undergraduate and graduate students, and thus might exceed 2,000.)

25. Whitman College

Flickr user Filosoph

Flickr user Filosoph

Location: Walla Walla, WA

Student Enrollment: 1,498

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

Originally founded as a seminary, Whitman College is now a four-year liberal arts college. The average ACT composite scores range between 27 and 32, and the average SAT combined scores range between 1,208 and 1,420. The institution also boasts at 9:1 student-faculty ratio.

Learn more about Whitman College

24. Bryn Mawr College

Location: Bryn Mawr, PA

Student Enrollment: 1,709

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

Nearly 3,000 applications are sent into this women’s college every year, and with an acceptance rate of 39%, about 1,130 are accepted. Incoming freshmen score an average of 28-33 on the ACT or a 1,247-1,445 on the SAT. The most popular major on campus is Psychology, followed by Biological Sciences, then Mathematics.

Learn more about Bryn Mawr College

23. Kenyon College

Flickr user Curt Smith

Flickr user Curt Smith

Location: Gambier, OH

Student Enrollment: 1,662

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

This college may have small enrollment numbers, but it has a high retention and 4 year graduation rate—93% and 86% respectively. The top five most popular majors include: English Language and Literature, Economics, International / Global Studies, Psychology, and Political Science.

Learn more about Kenyon College

22. Curtis Institute of Music

Flickr user Megan Rosenbloom

Flickr user Megan Rosenbloom

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Student Enrollment: 176

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

Classified as a school of art, music, and design, Curtis Institute offers only one degree for undergraduates: Music Performance. Graduate students, however, can earn a Master’s in Music in Opera or a Professional Studies Certificate in Opera.

Learn more about the Curtis Institute of Music

21. Scripps College

Flickr user beccapie

Flickr user beccapie

Location: Claremont, CA

Student Enrollment: 988

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

Scripps College is a women’s liberal arts college, and incoming students sport impressive ACT and SAT scores. The college has a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, and is well-known for it’s beautiful campus.

Learn more about Scripps College

20. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Flickr user Chris Ford

Flickr user Chris Ford

Location: New York, NY

Student Enrollment: 966

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

This school is broken down into three focused colleges: the School of Architecture, the School of Art, and the School of Engineering. Unsurprisingly, the three most common majors on campus include: Fine / Studio Arts, Architecture, and Civil Engineering. They all sport the colors maroon and gold.

Learn more about the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

19. Bates College

Flickr user Jay Collier

Flickr user Jay Collier

Location: Lewiston, ME

Student Enrollment: 1,773

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

Bates’ school motto of “Amore Ac Studio” translates to mean “With Ardor and Devotion.” The passion carries over to the academics, since incoming freshmen tend to score on average between a 28 and 32 on the ACT, and between a 1,280 and 1,430 on the SAT. Their mascot is a bobcat.

Learn more Bates College

18. Grinnell College

Flickr user WordShore

Flickr user WordShore

Location: Grinnell, IA

Student Enrollment: 1,734

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

The 5 most popular majors at Grinnell include: Biochemistry, Psychology, Biological Science, Economics, and Political Science. It has a student to faculty ratio of 9:1, and a first year retention rate of 94%.

Learn more about Grinnell College

17. Soka University of America

Flickr user Gabby Gonzalez

Flickr user Gabby Gonzalez

Location: Aliso Viejo, CA

Student Enrollment: 417

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

Soka University has an 8:1 student-faculty ratio, and offers a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts. Although there is only one degree, there are four areas of emphasis that students can choose from: Environmental Studies, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Studies, and International Studies.

Learn more about Soka University of America

16. Colby College

Flickr user Roman Boed

Flickr user Roman Boed

Location: Waterville, ME

Student Enrollment: 1,847

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

Incoming freshmen at this college score on average between a 29 and 33 on the ACT and between a 1,282 and 1,444 on the SAT. Nearly 7,600 applications are sent into this school, and with an acceptance rate of 23%, only about 1,750 of those are accepted. The school has a 10:1 student-faculty ratio.

Learn more about Colby College

15. Bowdoin College

Flickr user Roland Allen

Flickr user Roland Allen

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

14. 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

13. Davidson College

Flickr user Melinda Stuart

Flickr user Melinda Stuart

Location: Davidson, NC

Student Enrollment: 1,770

College Type: Private, nonprofit, 4 year

This Liberal Arts college has a strong Presbyterian Church affiliation, and was founded by General William Lee Davidson, a commander in the Revolutionary War. Known as the Wildcats, the college’s athletic classification is NCAA Division I-AA. Their school colors are red and black.

Learn more about Davidson College

12. United States Coast Guard Academy

Flickr user Peter Stinson

Flickr user Peter Stinson

Location: New London, CT

Student Enrollment: 896

College Type: Public, 4 year

Here students are referred to as “cadets” and the school motto is “Scientiæ Cedit Mareor “The sea yields to knowledge.” There are 8 majors offered at the school: Business Administration and Management, Political Science and Government, Oceanography, Civil Engineering, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Operations Research.

Learn more about the United States Coast Guard Academy

11. Washington and Lee University

Flickr user Mark Goebel

Flickr user Mark Goebel

Location: Lexington, VA

Student Enrollment: 2,264

College Type: Private, nonprofit, 4 year or above

This university is named after George Washington—who gifted the school a large stock endowment—and General Robert E. Lee—who served as the college’s president until his death. It’s top three most popular majors are: Business Administration and Management, Accounting and Business / Management, and Economics.

Learn more about Washington and Lee University

10. Haverford College

Flickr user Roger W

Flickr user Roger W

Location: Haverford, PA

Student Enrollment: 1,194

College Type: Private, nonprofit, 4 year

Haverford College has an acceptance rate of 25%, and the incoming freshmen have impressive ACT and SAT scores—between 30 and 34, and 1,343 and 1,522 respectively. Founded originally as a Quaker school, the philosophies of the group still influence the students to this day. The college has produced a number of Fulbright and Rhodes scholars.

Learn more about Haverford College

9. Claremont McKenna College

Flickr user Craig Stanfill

Flickr user Craig Stanfill

Location: Claremont, CA

Student Enrollment: 1,324

College Type: Private, nonprofit, 4 year or above

With its school motto of “Crescit cum commercio civitas” which means “Civilization prospers with commerce.” Therefore it’s no surprise that Economics is the most common major on campus—followed by Political Science and Psychology. It’s a highly selective school, with an 11% acceptance rate.

Learn more about Claremont McKenna College

8. Harvey Mudd College

Flickr user CampusGrotto

Flickr user CampusGrotto

Location: Claremont, CA

Student Enrollment: 804

College Type: Private, nonprofit, 4 year

This Liberal Arts college puts a great focus on science, mathematics, and engineering. Academics are very important to the school, and incoming freshmen have impressive exam scores—between 32 and 35 on average for the ACT, and between 1,408 and 1,560 for the SAT.  Their school colors are gold and black.

Learn more about Harvey Mudd College

7. The Juilliard School

Flickr user Brian Lauer

Flickr user Brian Lauer

Location: New York City, NY

Student Enrollment: 926

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

Juilliard is a performing arts conservatory, with programs in music, drama, and dance. The school has a 5:1 student to faculty ratio, and a 98% first-year retention rate. Notable alumni include Yo-Yo Ma, Sara Ramirez, and Robin Williams.

Learn more about The Juilliard School

6. Swarthmore College

Flickr user Simon

Flickr user Simon

Location: Swarthmore, PA

Student Enrollment: 1,542

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

This college is well-known for having an impressive first-year retention rate of 98%. Notable alumni Alice Paul, popular for her work with the women’s rights movement, graduated from Swarthmore College in 1905 with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Learn more about Swarthmore College

5. Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Flickr user Wally Gobetz

Flickr user Wally Gobetz

Location: New York City, NY

Student Enrollment: 405

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

This school has a 5:1 student to faculty ratio, and a 100% first-year retention rate. The school was the first institution of Conservative Judaism in the United States.

Learn more about the Jewish Theological Seminary of America

4. Amherst College

Flickr user lookcatalog

Flickr user lookcatalog

Location: Amherst, MA

Student Enrollment: 1,792

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

Amherst College has students from around the country and the globe, including noteworthy alum Uhuru Kenyatta, the current President of Kenya. The most popular majors are Economics and English Language and Literature, followed closely by history.

Learn more about Amherst College

3. Franklin W Olin College of Engineering

Flickr user Sean Munson

Flickr user Sean Munson

Location: Needham, MA

Student Enrollment: 350

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

The average ACT composite for this school is between 32 and 36, and the average SAT combined score is between 1,431 and 1,581. The student body is about 52% male students and 48% female.

Learn more about Franklin W Olin College of Engineering

2. Pomona College

Location: Claremont, CA

Student Enrollment: 1,650

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

Pomona is well-known for its career preparation programs, with on-campus internships and research opportunities for students. The college has a 93% four year graduation rate, and a 7:1 student to faculty rate.

Learn more about Pomona College

1. California Institute of Technology

Flickr user Lana L

Flickr user Lana L

Location: Pasadena, CA

Student Enrollment: 2,209

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

The average ACT composite score for incoming students ranges from 34 to 36, and the average SAT combined score ranges from 1,504 to 1,584. “The truth shall make you free” as the CalTech motto states, and while the school is well-known for academics and alumni, it is also known for the pranks that happen on campus.

Learn more about the California Institute of Technology

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.