Colleges with large or small student bodies get a lot of attention—but what about the schools that fall in the middle? If you want to the upsides to both small and large colleges, consider medium-sized schools! These schools offer a diverse range of students to meet and plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, but you don’t have to worry about getting overwhelmed in a crowd.
For this list, we’re considering any school with between 2,000 and 10,000 enrolled students counts as a medium-sized college—including undergraduate and graduate students.
The schools featured on this list are only middle of the road in terms of size. In terms of quality and opportunity, they excel. Check out the list below!
Founded back in 1746, Princeton University (initially known as the College of New Jersey) is older than the United States itself. As such, its history is rich and colorful. During the American revolution, a battle took place at Princeton and British soldiers even occupied Nassau Hall. It is a proud member of the Ivy League, as well. The school colors are orange and black.
From changing the Hollywood sign to read CALTECH, to making trick MIT mugs which turned to CalTech’s logo and colors when warmed, one thing that CalTech is known for is its practical jokes. Of course, they’re also known for their impeccable science and engineering programs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Computer Science is the most popular major.
Williams College is the second oldest college of Massachusetts. One of the school’s traditions involves a mountain. On a Friday in October, the college’s president declares the day to be Mountain Day and cancels all classes. Students will then go to Stony Ledge and enjoy snacks and singing performances.
Unlike many schools, the U.S. Naval Academy does not possess an admission fee. Instead, prospective students need to be nominated by certain public officials. Students also need to pass a physical exam to gain admittance into the academy. The selectivity of this school may be due to the fact that the U.S. government pays for tuition and room & board.
Rice University’s most popular majors include Computer and Information Sciences, Chemical Engineering, and Biochemistry. Rice is home to the nation’s first nanotechnology center. Academics aren’t Rice’s only strong point; the university participates in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports. Their mascot is Sammy the Owl.
Dartmouth’s school color is known as Dartmouth green. The school has many famous alumni, including Mindy Kaling, Robert Frost, and Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). Outside of academics, Dartmouth has a number of athletic varsity teams nicknamed the Big Green. Interestingly, Dartmouth has never had an official mascot.
Washington and Lee University has an acceptance rate of 21%, a pretty selective rate. This school requires that students live on-campus. The average ACT and SAT scores of admitted students are between 31--34 and 1,348--1,490 respectively. W&L is named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee.
The College of William and Mary is a school of firsts. It was the first to introduce a Greek fraternity, the first to invoke an honor code for students, and was the first law school in America. The three most popular majors are Business Administration and Management, Political Science and Government, and Physical Education.
This women’s college, located just north of Lake Wabash, is regarded as having the largest network of women alumni in the world. Notable alumni include: Nora Ephron, Hillary Clinton, and Diane Sawyer. The college does not impose an application fee. It’s a very selective school, with only 20% of applicants admitted in.
Applying to the US Military Academy is free. The motto of the school is three words: “Duty, Honor, Country.” Students can be nominated for admission by congressmen, senators, and even the President of the United States, among other officials. Students in the academy are called “cadets” during their time in training.
Unlike many colleges, Carleton follows a trimester system, running on a 10-week term. Between 2000 and 2016, the school has been home to 122 National Science Graduate Fellows. Computer Science, Biology, Economics, International Relations, and Chemistry are the top five most popular majors.
Founded in 1793, Hamilton College became co-educational in 1978. The college is named after Alexander Hamilton, who was a member of the Board of Trustees. Hamilton has graduated some influential names---like B.F. Skinner. Bernie Sanders lectured Political Science at Hamilton.
Vassar College was founded as a women’s college---the second of its kind in the US. It became coeducational in 1969. Vassar’s school colors are rose and gray. Student athletes are known as the Brewers. The most popular majors at Vassar include Economics, Political Science, and Biology.
The most popular majors at the United States Air Force Academy include Business Management and Administration, Economics, and Systems Engineering. Their school motto is reflected in their hard work---“Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do.” Students commit to serve several years of military service after graduation.
Barnard is a women’s college, founded in 1889. It’s one of the Seven Sisters liberal arts colleges for women. The campus is located right on the Hudson River in Manhattan. Popular majors at the college include Psychology, Economics, and Political Science. Their motto---Hepomene toi logismoi---means “Following the Way of Reason.”
Colby College is home to Morty the Mule, beloved mascot of the Mules sports teams. The average ACT and SAT scores of incoming students ranges between 31--33 and 1,350--1,510. Approximately 48% of students receive grant aid. Colby has a six year graduation rate of 90%.
Middlebury College is historic for being the very first college in the US to graduate an African-American student---Alexander Twilight in 1823. This college has an acceptance rate of 17%. 46% of the student body receive grant aid. Middlebury has a four year graduation rate of 83%.
Babson College has a rather uniquely named mascot---Biz E. Beaver. The Beavers wear green and white while competing in NCAA Division III sports. Some of the more popular sports on campus include baseball, lacrosse, and soccer. Babson has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and a four year graduation rate of 89%.
First called Madison University, Colgate University’s motto in English translates to “For God and For Truth.” There are 9 students for every 1 faculty member. The university’s six year graduation rate is 89% and the four year rate is 84%. Colgate’s school colors are maroon and white, and they compete as the Raiders.
Macalester college has quite the Scottish influence. From its name, to its sports team (the Scots) to the mascot (Mac). The average ACT and SAT results of admitted students are 29--33 and 1,310--1,500 respectively. Notable alumni include actress Danai Gurira and former VP Walter Mondale.
“Word of life and the light of knowledge” is the motto of the University of Richmond. UR has both interestingly named school colors---UR blue and UR red---and a mascot---WebstUR the Spider. A whopping 82% of the student body study is at the undergraduate level. The campus is wrapped around Westhampton Lake.
Santa Clara University’s official school colors are red and white. The top three most popular majors are Finance, Speech Communication and Rhetoric, and Psychology. There is a near even split between men and women students on campus---with 51% of the undergrad class being men, and the remaining 49% are women.
The College of New Jersey is fairly non-selective, with around 50% of applicants accepted into the college. Accepted students have an ACT composite score between 25 to 30 and between 1,160 and 1,350 on the SAT. TCNJ’s mascot is Roscoe the Lion, and their official school colors are blue and gold.
Just west of Boston, Brandeis University offers up to the doctoral degree level of study. It’s also classified as an extensive research university. Nearly 11,800 applications are submitted, though Brandeis only accepts around 31% percent of them, making it a rather selective school. Their team mascot is known as Ollie the Owl, named after Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Located on the Lehigh River, this university has just under 7,000 total students---74% of which are studying at the undergraduate level. Finance is the most popular major on campus, followed closely by Mechanical Engineering. In terms of a four-year graduation rate, Leigh’s is 72%.
Colleges are ranked based on a combination of factors, including graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recently-available enrollment year. Some colleges may have been excluded from rankings based on certain criteria, including specialization and classification. Learn about our full methodology.
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