Top 25 Best Mid-Sized Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best mid-sized colleges badgeLarge and small colleges get a lot of attention on rankings lists—but what about schools that fall in the middle of that spectrum? Mid-sized colleges offer the best of both worlds. 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 by sheer size or numbers.

For this list, we’re considering any school with between 2,000 and 10,000 enrolled students counts as a medium-sized college—including both undergraduate and graduate students.

Check out the best mid-sized colleges right here!

Top 25 Best Mid-Sized Colleges

One of the oldest universities in America, having predated the founding of the country itself, Princeton University is a school with an amazing history. In 1783, Princeton’s Nassau Hall was America’s capital for a few months! In present times, people recognize Princeton University as a prestigious and highly selective Ivy League school, with over 35,000 students applying there every year.
Location Princeton, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 8,374
As its name suggests, the California Institute of Technology is dedicated primarily to science and engineering. Beyond academics, CalTech is also known for its long-standing love of pranks, it’s rivalry with MIT, and their honor code. Unsurprisingly, the most popular majors at CalTech include Computer Science, Physics, and Electrical Engineering.
Location Pasadena, CA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,233
The United States Naval Academy is the 2nd oldest service academy. Students who want to attend the academy must be nominated. However, the United States Naval Academy is extremely selective. Those who do receive an acceptance have their tuition covered by the US Navy and must perform active service after graduating.
Location Annapolis, MD
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 4,512
As a liberal arts college, Williams College focuses on interdisciplinary studies and runs on a 4-1-4 schedule. Students can use the winter semester to take an interesting class, focus on their research, or study abroad. Along with their unique academic calendar, students can expect an average class size of six students to every faculty member.
Location Williamstown, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,149
Dartmouth College is highly selective and for good reason. Not only does the college offer the Dartmouth Plan, which allows more freedom to students building their schedules, Dartmouth also covers the tuition of students with families that make less than $100,000 a year.The school receives 22,000 applications, but only accepts 9% of them.
Location Hanover, NH
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 6,572
Rice University opened its doors as a co-ed school, something that was unusual at the time. A year later, they created the Honor System. Today, Rice University has over 7,000 students and receives over 20,000 applications every year. Some of the most popular majors at Rice include Computer and Information Sciences, Chemical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
Location Houston, TX
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 7,124
Washington and Lee University was founded in 1749, making it the country’s ninth-oldest university. The university has a rich history, from the inception of one of America’s oldest collegiate secret societies in 1880 to the university adopting their famous student-run honor system in 1905. The most popular major is Business.
Location Lexington, VA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,223
The United States Air Force Academy is the newest of the service academies. Students interested in attending must be nominated by a person in Congress. The academy is extremely selective, only accepting 11% of its applicants. Students who are admitted have their tuition and other costs covered by the United States Air Force.
Location West Point, NY
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 4,589
The College of William and Mary is the second-oldest university in America and is nicknamed the “Alma Mater of the Nation” because so many important characters in American history graduated from there. The college also established one of the first law and medical schools in the country. Today, almost 9,000 students attend the school, 72% of which are undergraduates.
Location Williamsburg, VA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 8,817
Wellesley College is a women-only college. Wellesley is also part of the Seven Sisters Colleges. Wellesley is highly selective, only accepting 19 of all applicants. Students who attend the school can expect a typical class size to be around eight students for every one faculty member, and Wellesley boasts a 96% first-year retention rate.
Location Wellesley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,534
Hamilton College was a men’s school for nearly a century before combining with the women-only Kirkland College and becoming coeducational. Today, there’s a near even split of men and women attending Hamilton College. Incoming students typically scored between 30 to 34 on the ACT and 1,390 to 1,530 on the SAT.
Location Clinton, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,005
Carleton College was named after William Carleton, who donated $50,000 to the school after seeing its first president survive a carriage and train accident. The school is quite selective, only accepting 20% of all applicants and many attendees are National Merit Scholars. Some of the most popular majors at Carleton include Computer Science, Biology, and International Relations and Affairs.
Location Northfield, MN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,097
Middlebury College has a long and interesting history. It was the first college to grant a degree to an African-American student, was the first college in New England to become co-ed, and hosts the oldest writers’ conference in America. Middlebury College’s academic reputation means that the school sees over 9,000 applications every year, though only 1,500 are accepted.
Location Middlebury, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,611
To be admitted into the United States Military Academy, students must first be nominated by officials such as congressmen or even the President. As the oldest US service academy, the United States Military Academy had the first accredited engineering program and had the first class rings. Over 12,000 students try to get into this academy, though only 1,400 are accepted.
Location West Point, NY
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 4,589
Today, Barnard College is a prestigious all-women’s college that has an extremely selective acceptance rate. In fact, only 14% of applicants are accepted into Barnard. Students at the college can expect a typical class size to be around 9 students to 1 faculty member, and 95% of freshmen return for their sophomore year.
Location New York City, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,562
The second college to join the Seven Sisters Colleges, Vassar College began as a women’s school before becoming coeducational a century later. Vassar College also houses the country’s largest undergraduate library collections, split into eight libraries. The school boasts a 96% first year retention rate.
Location Poughkeepsie, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,456
Students at Colby College will find themselves in a unique and rich academic environment. The college operates on a 4-1-4 semester schedule. Studying abroad is also popular with students, as the college accepts credits from over 200 programs. Some popular majors at Colby College include Economics, Political Science and Government, and Biology.
Location Waterville, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,000
Babson College began as an all-men’s school, before becoming coeducational 50 years later, though its focus on entrepreneurial education hasn’t changed. Today, there’s an almost even split of men and women attending. Incoming students typically have an ACT score between 27 to 32 and an SAT score between 1,290 to 1,460.
Location Wellesley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,357
Colgate University is a highly selective school, accepting only 24% of their applicants. Incoming freshmen have an average ACT score between 30 to 34 and an average SAT score between 1,380 to 1,530. Students and alumni at Colgate consider 13 to be their lucky number and is pervasive throughout their history and college. Every Friday the 13th is “Colgate Day,” where alumni don clothes representing their school.
Location Hamilton, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,969
Macalester College offers over 30 different majors and students can even create their own. Some of the most popular majors at Macalester College include Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Biology, and Research and Experimental Psychology. The campus is located not far from the mighty Mississippi River.
Location St. Paul, MN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,174
The University of Richmond is a liberal arts school committed to giving its students a well-rounded education. Beyond gen-ed courses, students have a wide variety of majors to choose from or can opt for an interdisciplinary major. Some popular fields of study include Business Administration and Management, Biology, and Accounting.
Location Richmond, VA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 4,002
Santa Clara University is the oldest university in California, having been established in 1851. The university receives 16,000 applications every year. Popular majors at Santa Clara include Finance, Psychology, and Speech Communication and Rhetoric. The average student-to-faculty ratio is 10 to 1, and the university boasts a 95% first-year retention rate.
Location Santa Clara, CA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 8,642
Every year, Lehigh University receives over 15,000 applications, and only accepts 22% of them. These students have a typical ACT score of 28 to 32 and an SAT score of 1,310 to 1,470. Incoming first years who decide to attend the university are given their class flag by the class that came 50 years before them during orientation.
Location Bethlehem, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 6,849
Since the bachelor’s degree is the highest level of education offered, you’ll only find undergraduate students on campus. On average, first-year students score between 27 -- 32 on the ACT and 1280 -- 1450 on the SAT. The College of the Holy Cross has an acceptance rate of 34%. The student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1.
Location Worcester, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,939
Brandeis boasts an impressive number of student organizations, including a student-run farmer’s market and a competitive debate and speech club. Organizations are open to any student interested in joining. Incoming students have an average ACT score between 28 to 33 and an SAT score between 1,310 to 1,500.
Location Waltham, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 5,800

Interested in any of these schools? Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to see if they’re a good fit for you!

Methodology

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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