Top 25 Best New England Colleges in the US | 2022 Rankings

New England is known for many things. Like its gorgeous landscape, Colonial American history, and, of course, for incredible colleges. In fact, some of the schools in New England are older than the foundation of the country!

For this list, we’re considering the following states to be part of New England: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Whether you’re from there or considering a college in the area, here are the top 25 best colleges in New England!

Top 25 Best New England Colleges

Harvard University has turned out some amazing alumni. In fact, the school has more alumni, researchers, and faculty that have won Nobel Prizes and Field Medals than any other school in the world. Alumni also include eight U.S. presidents, 188 living billionaires, and 108 Olympic medalists. The most common majors include econometrics and quantitative economics, social sciences, and computer science.
Location Cambridge, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 31,655
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
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 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
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
With an acceptance rate of 11%, Amherst College is a fairly selective school. A majority of their first-year students come from Massachusetts, New York, and California. The third oldest institution of higher education in the state, it was originally a men’s college. It became coeducational in 1975. Amherst College’s motto is “Terras Irradient,” which means “Let them enlighten the lands.”
Location Amherst, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,839
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering was established fairly recently in 1997. Half of a student’s tuition is actually covered by the Olin Scholarship. Currently, just under 400 students attend. Majors include General Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. With a 99% first year retention rate, the college also has an 8 to 1 student to faculty ratio.
Location Needham, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 386
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
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
"Scientiæ Cedit Mare," or “the sea yields to knowledge,” is the motto of the United States Coast Guard Academy. It was founded in 1876 and is the smallest of the five academies for service in the United States. The most popular major is political science and government, but business management, civil engineering, and oceanography are also top choices.
Location New Haven, CT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,069
Bowdoin College is a very selective school with an acceptance rate of 9%. 91% of students will graduate within four years, and 95% within six. With a 9 to 1 student to faculty ratio, the college also has a 98% first year retention rate. Bowdoin College offers 34 different majors, including joint engineering programs with Columbia, Dartmouth, Caltech, and the University of Maine.
Location Brunswick, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,835
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
Boston College is a private Jesuit research university. Αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν, or “Ever to Excel,” is the school’s motto. Their athletic teams are known as the Eagles (with a mascot known as Baldwin the Eagle) and they wear maroon and gold. Past students have included John F. Kerry, Leonard Nimoy, Chris O’Donnell, and Amy Poehler.
Location Chestnut Hill, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 14,747
Babson College began as an all-male school in 1919, originally known as Babson Institute. It would become coeducational in 1969. The school has an astounding 95% first year retention rate and 92% four year graduation rate. The only major available is Business Administration and Management. Athletes compete in the NCAA Division III and are known as the Beavers.
Location Wellesley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,325
The first operating college or university in Vermont was Middlebury College, founded in 1800. It was also the first American institution of higher education that gave a bachelor’s degree to an African-American (in 1823). Although it was originally all-male, the school would begin to admit women in 1883. It has an acceptance rate of 15%.
Location Middlebury, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,657
Boston University got its start in 1839 in Vermont as the Newbury Biblical Institute. It would move to Boston in 1867. Today, it is one of the largest employers in the city. Famous individuals who have been associated with the school include Elie Wiesel, Martin Luther King Jr., President William Howard Taft, and Howard Stern. The university accepts only 20% of applicants.
Location Boston, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 33,720
The motto of Brandeis University is אמת which is Hebrew for “Truth even unto its innermost parts.” Students attending the university can cross-register at Boston College, Tufts University, and Boston University. Brandeis only accepts 33% of students. Economics is the most popular major, but Biology/Biological Sciences and Health Policy Analysis are also top choices.
Location Waltham, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 5,825
The College of the Holy Cross has a 34% acceptance rate, 93% first year retention rate, and an impressive 91% four year graduation rate. It is the oldest Catholic college in New England. Today, it’s a part of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Athletes are known as the Crusaders (who are also their mascot) and they wear Royal purple and white.
Location Worcester, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,963
Wesleyan University’s top majors include Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Psychology, English, and Political Science and Government. The school was founded as a men’s college and became fully co-educational in 1970. The campus is located on the bends of the Connecticut River. Cardinal and black are the official school colors of Wesleyan’s sports teams.
Location Middletown, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,230
The University of Connecticut campus is 4,400 acres and just 90 minutes from Boston. It was founded in 1881 and originally known as the Storrs Agricultural School. They accept just under 50% of applicants. UConn is also considered a Public Ivy and has produced famous scholars, actors, authors, inventors, and entrepreneurs.
Location Storrs, CT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 27,412
An all-female school, Smith College is the largest of the Seven Sisters colleges. The school has an open curriculum, which means it doesn’t have scheduled finals or course requirements. Smith College is very selective, accepting about 37% of students who apply. Margaret Mitchell, Nancy Reagan, Sylvia Plath, and Barbara Bush all attended the college.
Location Northampton, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,894
Bates College was founded in 1855 and was the first coeducational college in New England. It also began admitting minority students before the Emancipation Proclamation. Highly selective, Bates College only accepts 14% of applicants. The school has a 94% first year retention rate, 90% four year graduation rate, and a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio.
Location Lewiston, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,820
“Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem”, or “By the sword we seek peace by peace only under liberty” is the motto of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Also known as UMass Amherst, it is the largest of the school system and got its start as an agricultural college in 1863. Sam the Minuteman is the school mascot.
Location Amherst, MA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 31,350
Mount Holyoke College is the oldest member of the Seven Sisters colleges. Their motto is Psalms 144:12 – “That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” The campus features a botanic garden, the art museum, and John Payson Williston Observatory. Computer Science, Biology, and Econometrics are popular majors.
Location South Hadley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,300

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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