Top 25 Best Mid-East Colleges in the US | 2023 Rankings

Top Mid-East Colleges 2023 Badge.Also known as the mid-Atlantic, the mid-east region of the United States is chock full of culture, history, great food, and amazing educational opportunities. Perhaps that’s unsurprising as many of the nation’s very first colleges and universities were built in the area.

For this list, the following states are part of the mid-east US: Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Ready to see the best colleges in the mid-east? Check them out below.

Top 25 Best Mid-East 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 32,800 applications annually and has an acceptance rate of only 5.6%, making it highly competitive.
Location Princeton, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 7,853
Columbia has a very low selective acceptance rate of 6.7%, accepting only about 2,700 students out of 45,000 applicants. Top choices in regard 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 30,135
The University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1740, primarily by Benjamin Franklin, who was also their first president. Franklin Field, where the Quakers play in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League, is named after the founder. With a 95% first year retention rate, 86% of students will go on to graduate in four years. 96% will graduate in six.
Location Philadelphia, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 26,552
Cornell University is made up of seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions. Some famous alumni have been Christopher Reeve, Bill Nye, E.B. White, and Anthony Fauci. 96% of students stay on after the first year, with 95% graduating within six years. Computer Science is the most popular major.
Location Ithaca, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 23,620
Johns 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 28,890
With just over 1,400 undergraduate students, Swarthmore College is a smaller school. It was one of the first coeducational colleges in the country. The college is associated with the University of Pennsylvania through the Quaker Consortium, which means students can take classes at the four schools within the arrangement.
Location Swarthmore, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,437
Carnegie Mellon University has over 13,000 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 13,519
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 19,371
Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college located on the banks of the Hudson River. The school was actually founded in response to Columbia University not admitting women. Today, it’s part of the Seven Sisters, an association of women’s liberal arts colleges in the country. Their motto is “Hepomene toi logismoi” (Greek) or “Following the Way of Reason.”
Location New York City, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,744
With 57 areas of study, a majority of Hamilton students opt for Economics as their major, but Mathematics, Political Science, and Biology are also popular choices. Their motto is in Ancient Greek: Γνῶθι Σεαυτόν, which translates to “know thyself.” The school has been coeducational since 1978 after merging with its sister school, Kirkland College.
Location Clinton, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,902
Vassar offers 50 majors with the most popular being Biology and Biological Sciences, Economics, and Neuroscience. They have an acceptance rate of 24.5%. A few people who have graduated or attended Vassar include Anne Hathaway, Jane Fonda, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Anthony Bourdain.
Location Poughkeepsie, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,435
Colgate University is known as a “Hidden Ivy” and a “Little Ivy.” The school regularly makes lists naming the most beautiful campuses in the United States. 99% of the students at Colgate study at the undergraduate level. However, the school offers up to the master’s degree level of Education. Maroon and white are the official school colors.
Location Hamilton, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,045
Commonly called NYU, you can find this university in the heart of Manhattan. They have a relatively low acceptance rate of 21%. Liberal Arts and Sciences is the top major, but Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, and Cinematography and Film are not far behind. The school has produced a number of famous alumni including Martin Scorsese, Jack Dorsey, Robert Muller III, and Alec Baldwin.
Location New York City, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 52,775
The University of Maryland at College Park is a larger school with over 30,000 undergraduates and over 9,000 graduates. A majority of incoming students attending are from Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. It’s often called a “Public Ivy,” because of its comparable education to Ivy League schools, and has extremely high research activity. Computer Science is the most popular major.
Location College Park, MD
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 40,709
Villanova University is the oldest Catholic university in Pennsylvania. It’s also the only Augustinian university in the country. The school still has deep religious roots and the administration is led by priests. Their motto is “Veritas, Unitas, Caritas” or “Truth, Unity, Charity.” Jill Biden and Howie Long are two famous alumni who have attended Villanova.
Location Villanova, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 11,032
Haverford College is a liberal arts school founded in 1833 by the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. It’s part of the Tri-College Consortium which means students can attend classes at nearby schools Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore. “Non doctior, sed meliore doctrina imbutus,” or "not more learned, but steeped in a higher learning," is the school’s motto.
Location Haveford, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,307
The Juilliard School is a performing arts conservatory. Students learn dance, drama, and music, with stringed instruments and dance being the most popular majors. Some famous alumni are Robin Williams, Ving Rhames, Val Kilmer, and Viola Davis. The institution is extremely competitive, with 7% of applicants accepted.
Location New York City, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 961
The University of Rochester is a private research university that was founded in 1850. Alumni and faculty have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, Grammy Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, and more. Today, the school has a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, 92% first year retention rate, and an 86% six-year graduation rate. The campus is tucked in the bends of the Genesee River.
Location Rochester, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 11,741
The College of New Jersey, founded in 1855, was originally located in Trenton. It moved to Ewing Township in the 1930s and has gone under several name changes, finally arriving at its current one in 1996. The college has a 51.3% acceptance rate and a first year retention rate of 94%. Part of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, the school has athletes in football, lacrosse, soccer, and more.
Location Ewing, NJ
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 7,783
Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, Binghamton University sees most of their incoming students come from the home state, though many will also come from New Jersey. The Bearcats compete in sports such as soccer, lacrosse, swimming, and track. Baxter the Bearcat is their mascot.
Location East Vestal, NY
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 18,148
Lehigh University’s motto in Latin is “Homo minister et interpres naturae,” which means “Man, the servant and interpreter of nature.” Known as the Mountain Hawks, the athletes at Lehigh University compete in track, field hockey, lacrosse, rowing, and other sports. Clutch the Mountain Hawk is their mascot.
Location West Bethlehem, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 7,067
New Brunswick is one of the regional campuses of Rutgers University, and the oldest of the three. The school has 19 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, with a high number of undergraduates majoring in Psychology, Computer and Information Sciences, Biology, and Information Science/Studies. They have a 67% acceptance rate.
Location New Brunswick, NJ
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 50,411
The Webb Institute in New York is a small private college solely focused on Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Students who attend receive full-tuition scholarships. Students are also lucky enough to learn via guaranteed internships each year and 100% job placement after graduation. Over 75% of the student population are male.
Location Glen Cove, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 101
Bucknell University was founded in 1846 and has a proud tradition of fostering diversity and inclusion. While over 99% of the student body are undergraduate students, they do have a small population of graduate students as well. Students enjoy a cozy 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Bucknell has 716 student athletes competing in sports and are in the NCAA Division 1-FCS.
Location Lewisburg, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,726
Lafayette College is known as a Hidden Ivy and a Little Ivy. Although the college is based in Pennsylvania, there is a small satellite campus in New York City. The school is named after General Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution. Lafayette’s campus is located on the historic Delaware River.
Location Easton, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,514

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


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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