Top 25 Best Mid-Sized Colleges in the US | 2022 Ranking

Small and large schools get a lot of attention on rankings lists—but what about colleges that fall in the middle? 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 lost in a crowd.

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

Check out the best mid-sized colleges right here!

Top 25 Best Mid-Sized Colleges

A private Ivy League research university, Princeton University was founded in 1746 and originally known as the College of New Jersey. This makes it the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the country. The school receives around 32,500 applications annually and has an acceptance rate of only 5.8%, making it highly competitive.
Location Princeton, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 8,419
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, currently has about 11,500 students attending. They offer up to a doctorate degree with many students focusing on computer science and mechanical engineering. Mathematics and physics are also common majors. Alumni have gone on to found companies like Intel, Koch Industries, Dropbox, and Campbell Soup.
Location Cambridge, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 11,520
Yale University got its start in 1701 under the name Collegiate School, getting its current name in 1718. Their motto Lux et veritas means “Light and truth” in Latin. The university is made up of fourteen schools including the undergraduate college, twelve professional schools, and the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students have a 6% chance of getting accepted to Yale.
Location New Haven, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 13,609
The University of Chicago receives over 34,600 applications though only about 2,000 were accepted. Therefore, the school has a 6% acceptance rate. The school is made up of their undergraduate college and five graduate research divisions. They also have campuses all over the world from Hong Kong to Paris.
Location Chicago, IL
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 17,452
Stanford University has a 4% acceptance rate and a 99% first year retention rate. Their student to faculty ratio is only 5 to 1. Herbert Hoover was a graduate of Stanford and other alumni have included Fulbright Scholars, members of Congress, astronauts, and billionaires. Known as the Stanford Cardinals, their colors are cardinal and white.
Location Stanford, CA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 17,249
Columbia has a very low selective acceptance rate of 5.5%, accepting only about 2,300 students out of 42,900 applicants. Top choices in regards to majors include Econometrics, Computer Science, and Political Science. It’s the oldest institution of higher education in the state. Columbia is one of the nine colonial colleges founded before the Declaration of Independence.
Location New York City, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 31,456
Methodists and Quakers founded Duke University in 1838. The school has produced 50 Rhodes Scholars, 3 Turing Award winners, and 15 Noble laureates. Known as the Blue Devils, the university’s colors are Duke blue and white. The top majors among students include Econometrics, Computer Science, Public Policy Analysis, Biology, and Nursing.
Location Durham, NC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 16,686
Edward Sorin founded the University of Notre Dame in 1842 as a private Catholic research University. Their motto is “Vita Dulcedo Spes” or “Life, Sweetness, Hope” – referencing the Virgin Mary. The school’s teams are known as the Fighting Irish, and wear the colors blue and gold. Their mascot is the very iconic leprechaun. Currently, just over 12,500 students attend.
Location Notre Dame, IN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 12,683
Although it was originally founded as a men’s college in 1793, the school now has 2,150 students with about half men and half women. It was created out of the funds of Ephraim Williams, who died in the French and Indian War. The college gets just under 10,000 applications each year and accepts 13% of students.
Location Williamstown, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,150
A selective school, fewer than 9% of applicants are accepted into Rice. The school has 11 residential colleges and eight schools of academic study. Rice University was established in 1912 and named after William Marsh Rice. He had requested a free-tuition educational institute be opened after his death. Today, about 4,000 undergraduates and 3,300 graduates attend.
Location Houston, TX
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 7,282
A private Ivy League research university, Dartmouth was founded before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Three famous alumni were Daniel Webster, Robert Frost, and Thaddeus Stevens. The school also graduated several members of the Senate and House of Representatives in the United States, Nobel Prize laureates, and more.
Location Hanover, NH
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 6,606
Top majors at Northwestern University are econometrics and quantitative economics, journalism, psychology, drama, and neuroscience. A founding member of the Big Ten Conference, top sports for the Wildcats include football, basketball, baseball, and cross country/track. Willie the Wildcat cheers them on and the colors are purple and white.
Location Evanston, IL
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 22,448
A public undergraduate school, the United States Naval Academy’s motto, in Latin, is “Ex Scientia Tridens”, or “From Knowledge, Seapower.” It was established in 1845 and saw disruption and riots during the Civil War that almost caused the government to move the school. Today, just over 4,500 students attend.
Location Annapolis, MD
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 4,538
Washington University in St. Louis was named after George Washington and founded in 1853. A private research university, the school receives over 24,000 applications a year and accepts around 3,500 students. Commonly chosen majors are computer science, biology, and experimental psychology. Top sports on campus include track, football, and baseball.
Location St. Louis, MO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 16,191
Popular majors at Brown University include computer science, biology, entrepreneurship, and history. Founded in 1764, it was the first school in North America that accepted students regardless of their religion. Their women’s institution (Pembroke College) was merged into Brown in 1971. Alumni have gone on to create famous companies including ZipRecruiter, Cards Against Humanity, and CNN.
Location Providence, RI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 10,333
Vanderbilt University has over 13,000 students. Many students major in economics and social sciences. Other common majors are computer science, neuroscience, and mechanical engineering. The university was named in honor of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a shipping and rail magnate, due to his gift of $1 million. Their sports teams are known as the Commodores.
Location Nashville, TN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 13,131
John Hopkins University was founded in 1876 and named for its first benefactor. Known as the first research university in the country, its motto in Latin is "Veritas vos liberabit," or “The truth will set you free.” The Blue Jays men’s lacrosse team plays in the Big Ten Conference and has 44 national titles. The two most popular majors are general public health and neuroscience.
Location Baltimore, MD
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 27,079
Wellesley College is a private women’s liberal arts college going back to 1870. It is the largest out of all women’s colleges and has seen famous alumni including Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Katharine Lee Bates. Economics is the most commonly chosen major, but other popular choices include Biology, Computer and Information Sciences, and Political Science.
Location Wellesley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,519
Carnegie Mellon University has over 14,000 students currently attending, with more graduates than undergraduates. Some popular majors include Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering. A merger between Carnegie Institute of Technology and the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in 1900 created the school we know today.
Location Pittsburgh, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 14,180
A private Jesuit research university, Georgetown University was founded as the Georgetown College in 1789 by Bishop John Carroll. It’s the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the country and offers 48 different programs. Past graduates include Bill Clinton, Lyndon B. Johnson, senators, representatives, and other leading politicians.
Location Washington, DC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 19,593
The second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, King William III and Queen Mary II founded the aptly named College of William & Mary in 1693. A public research university, alumni have included Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler, James Comey, and Jon Stewart. The mascot is the Griffin.
Location Williamsburg, VA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 8,773
Tufts University receives nearly 22,800 applications a year and accepts 15% of students. Today, about 11,900 students attend, half of which are undergraduates. It got its start as Tufts College and was a small liberal arts college. In the 1970s, it became a research university. The university offers over 90 undergraduate programs and 160 graduate programs.
Location Medford, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 11,878
Emory University receives over 30,000 applications annually and has an acceptance rate of just below 16%. It has a 95% first year retention rate, 82% four year graduation rate, and a 9 to 1 student to faculty ratio. There are nine academic divisions in this school including Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Laney Graduate School, Rollins School of Public Health, and others.
Location Atlanta, GA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 14,415
The United States Military Academy is also known as West Point or the Academy. Only 12% of applicants will receive acceptance letters, but 83.4% of these students will go on to attend. Their motto is Duty • Honor • Country. The entire site of the school is a national landmark and includes historic sites, a museum, and more.
Location West Point, NY
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 4,457
A small school, Colby College is very selective with only a 9.7% acceptance rate. Due to their small size though, they have a high student to faculty ratio of 9 to 1 and a 94% first year retention rate. 89% of students will go on to graduate within 4 years, and 92% within six. Economics is the most popular major with Political Science and Government not far behind.
Location Waterville, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,003

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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