Colleges with High 4-Year Graduation Rates

For those of you looking for colleges with impressive four-year graduation rates, here is a good place to start! We’ve talked about the importance of graduating in four years (or less) in other posts here on College Raptor. Here are nine colleges with the top rates for getting undergraduate students out into the world in four years.

Note: for this list, we kept the focus on relatively standard undergraduate schools, rather than specialized schools such as seminaries or military academies.

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering – 93%

Flickr user Sean Munson

Flickr user Sean Munson

Located in Needham, MA, Olin College of Engineering boasts a modest 350 students. The school teaches engineering with a focus on people, meaning that they want their students to design with an understanding of the people they are designing for. Unlike in most schools, Olin doesn’t make their students wait until later years to start engineering classes; instead, freshmen start with three engineering courses their first semester.

Pomona College – 93%

Pomona College is located in Claremont, CA. It hosts 1,650 undergraduate students. The school focuses on Liberal Arts majors – there are 51 to choose from! Many also have minor programs available. Pomona has many global opportunities, such as study abroad programs, eight language-based majors, and international summer internships.

Haverford College – 91%

Flickr user Roger W

Flickr user Roger W

Haverford students find their homes in Haverford, PA. The population of undergraduate students hovers right around 1,200. Many of the faculty are at the top of their fields. Students are expected and encouraged to engage in research. The low student-faculty ratio (9:1) allows for close collaboration throughout a student’s college career in liberal arts fields.

Carleton College – 90%


Flickr user CameliaTWU

Carleton College can be found just south of the Twin Cities in the town of Northfield, MN. It is home to just over 2,000 undergraduate students. It is one of the most generous private schools in the nation with a commitment to meeting the financial need of its admitted students all four years of school. It is also a liberal arts school. Classes are small, with the average being around 18 students. Students and faculty are encouraged to research within their interests, and the two groups often work together.

Davidson College – 90%

Flickr user Melinda Stuart

Flickr user Melinda Stuart

Located in Davidson, NC, Davidson college hosts about 1,800 students. This private school has an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church. Almost 25% of students participate in Division I athletics. Around 80% either work or study abroad during the course of their four years. 95% of first-year students return for their sophomore year. The liberal arts curriculum challenges students to hone their humane instincts as well as develop creative minds.

Hamilton College – 90%

Flickr user Chuck Miller

Flickr user Chuck Miller

Found in Clinton, NY, Hamilton College is one of the few schools in the country to offer an open curriculum to its nearly 2,000 students. What this means is that there are very few required courses at the school. Students are allowed to choose classes that suit their interests. They work closely with faculty advisors to work toward achieving their goals. There are 43 concentrations (Hamilton’s term for majors) that students choose from, and they are expected to study across multiple areas to fulfill the ideology of a liberal arts education.

University of Notre Dame – 90%

Flickr user Mariano Montel

Flickr user Mariano Mantel

The University of Notre Dame is by far the largest school to make this top ten list of graduation rates, as it is home to over 8,000 undergraduate students (over 12,000 if you include graduate students). It is located in Notre Dame, IN, and is affiliated with the Roman Catholic church. Though well-known for its athletics, it also boasts renowned scholarly programs. Undergraduates can choose from 75 degree programs among the five areas of study (School of Architecture, College of Arts and Letters, Mendoza College of Business, College of Engineering, and College of Science).

Vassar College – 90%

Flickr user prichman38

Flickr user prichman38

Vassar College students can claim Poughkeepsie, NY, as their home away from home. This school of just over 2,400 has a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, with the average class size being 17 students. The school has multiple ways for students to engage in activities, including 23 NCAA Division III varsity teams, a school farm, and study away opportunities (different from study abroad in that, while students may go abroad, there are also opportunities to attend approved programs at other schools in the US), among others. Vassar is a leading college in producing undergraduates that go on to earn PhDs.

Williams College – 90%

Flickr user SERSeanCrane

Flickr user SERSeanCrane

In St. Williamstown, MA, almost 2,100 undergraduate students are hard at work at Williams College. They have no required courses, instead choosing what classes interest them across different disciplines. Each student selects a major and may opt to study in a concentration (like a minor, but not necessarily limited to one area of study). Students develop their reasoning skills at a school that actively promotes engaging with diversity.

Interested in any of these schools? Use College Raptor’s free match tool to discover if they are a good fit for you!


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