Hidden Northeast Gems: 2018

Beautiful landscapes, bountiful industry, and storied history fill the Northeastern region of the United States. It is an area chock-full of well-known colleges and universities, and the following Hidden Gems deserve some of that attention.

For the purposes of this list, we’ve included the following states in the Northeast: ME, NH, VT, MA, NY, RI, CT, NJ, PA, MD, DE, WV, and DC.

To qualify as a College Raptor Hidden Gem, a school must have the following requirements:

  • Receive fewer than 5,000 applications a year
  • OR  less than 40th percentile of applications received by all schools in that state
  • Have fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students enrolled

 

Note: If there are fewer than three in a state, it means no other schools in the state met our qualifications.

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut College

Wikimedia Commons user ME

  • Location: New London, CT
  • Student Enrollment: 1,922
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 87

Tucked into a historic New England seaport town, the Connecticut College campus also serves as a 750 acre arboretum. Offering 41 majors, the most popular are Economics, Psychology, and Biology.  Conn’s Connection platform is reinventing what a liberal arts education looks like while its 85 year old honor code creates a spirit of trust between students and faculty.  

Trinity College

Flickr user Decaseconds

  • Location: Hartford, CT
  • Student Enrollment: 2,397
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 140

Trinity receives around 6,070 applications each year, with an average acceptance rate of 34%. Average test scores for students accepted to Trinity are 25-30 on the ACT and 1150–1340 for the SAT. The school’s most popular majors include Political Science, Economics, and English. The student-to-faculty ratio holds at 9:1, giving students plenty of opportunities for smaller classes.

Eastern Connecticut State University

Wikimedia Commons user Faolin42

  • Location: Willimantic, CT
  • Student Enrollment: 5,261
  • College Type: Public, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 559

96.9% of students at this public university are undergraduates with test scores were between 20 and 24 for the ACT or 940 and 1110 for the SAT. Business, Psychology, and General Studies are the most popular declared majors. Eastern teams compete as the Warriors in NCAA Division III league play.

WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic University of America

Flickr user Jerry

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Student Enrollment: 6,521
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor: 342

Located in “Little Rome” just outside DC, this university is the only in the country to be founded by U.S. Catholic bishops. It has an acceptance rate of 80% and a 7 to 1 student to faculty ratio. Most students attending this school come from New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.

Gallaudet University

Flickr user M T

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Student Enrollment: 1477
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 1048

Gallaudet University was originally chartered by Congress as a grammar school for both deaf and blind children. All of the school’s current programs are designed to accommodate deaf or hard of hearing students. The top three initial majors are Speech Communication and Rhetoric, Business Administration and Management, and Health and Physical Education/Fitness. Of the 66% of students accepted into the school, 53% choose to attend.

Trinity Washington University

Flickr user Jason Pier in DC

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Student Enrollment: 2,161
  • College Type:Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 1,216

This private university does not require standardized test scores (although they are recommended), and it has no application fee. Out of the 812 applications from the 2016 cycle, 722 students were accepted. The Trinity Tigers compete in NCAA Division III athletics in basketball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.

DELAWARE

Wesley College

Flicker user Mike Mahaffie

  • Location: Dover, DE
  • Student Enrollment: 1,650
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 1,557

With its motto of “Great Things Await”, Wesley College admits about 60% of students who apply to their school. There is a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio on campus, where Registered Nursing is the most popular major–quickly followed by Kinesiology & Exercise Science. Lacrosse and soccer are favorite sports among students.

MASSACHUSETTS

Wellesley College

  • Flickr user Soe Lin

    Location: Wellesley, MA

  • Student Enrollment: 2,510
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 39

One of the original Seven Sisters Colleges, Wellesley is perhaps one of the most famous women’s colleges in the world. Notable alumni include: screenwriter Nora Ephron, professor/songwriter Katharine Lee Bates, journalist Diane Sawyer, and politician Hillary Clinton. The most popular major on campus is Economics.

Mount Holyoke College

  • Location: South Hadley, MA
  • Student Enrollment: 2215
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 155

This liberal arts college was the first member of the Seven Sisters colleges, and is an all-female undergraduate school. The acceptance rate is 52% with a 91% first-year retention rate. Biology, Economics, and Psychology are the most popular degrees. Standardized test scores are not required for admission.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Wikimedia Commons user MassArt

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Student Enrollment: 1,990
  • College Type: Public, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 221

This public school for art, music, and design has a 71% acceptance rate. On average, the ACT scores fall between 21 and 26, while the SAT scores fall between 980 and 1,170. The student-to-faculty ratio remains low at 8:1. The first-year retention rate lands at 90%. Illustration, Graphic Design, and Digital Arts are currently the most popular majors.

MARYLAND

St Mary’s College of Maryland

Flickr user Elvert Barnes

  • Location: St. Mary’s City, MD
  • Student Enrollment: 1,735
  • College Type: Public, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 135

Despite it’s name, St. Mary’s is a non-secular school. It’s name gives homage to its location on the banks of the St. Mary’s River. Of all the students on campus, a whopping 98% are undergraduate students. St. Mary’s has a 87% first year retention rate, and a six year graduation rate of 81%. 

Maryland Institute College of Art

Flickr user Elvert Barnes

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Student Enrollment: 2,197
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 250

The average test scores for this liberal arts school are 22-29 for the ACT and 1030–1290 for the SAT. 88% of first-year students return the following fall for classes. Graphic Design, Illustration, and Painting are the most popular majors, followed closely by Intermedia/Multimedia and Sculpture. MICA has a trend of adding redesigned and renovated older buildings to its campus including a railroad passenger station, shoe factory, firehouse, and a bank.

McDaniel College

Flickr user Alan Levine

  • Location: Westminster, MD
  • Student Enrollment: 3,003
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 410

This private liberal arts college boasts a 78% acceptance rate, of which 23% of those accepted choose to attend. Student-to-faculty ratio holds steady at 10:1. The school competes in football as a member of the NCAA Division III. While on-campus housing is available, it is not required for students to live in the residence halls.

MAINE

University of New England

Flickr user Wei Chen

  • Location: Biddeford, ME
  • Student Enrollment: 7,794
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 520

This scenic campus is nestled right between the Saco River and the Atlantic Ocean. Known for its health sciences programs, it should come as no surprise that the most popular majors on campus are Registered Nursing, Health Services, Biomedical Sciences, and Dental Hygiene. UNE has a 13:1 student to faculty ratio.

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Flickr user InAweofGodsCreation (Note: Image is of Standish, not Saint Joseph’s)

  • Location: Standish, ME
  • Student Enrollment: 2,581
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 578

Around 300 undergraduate students choose Saint Joseph’s College of Maine every year as their college. Females generally make up about 61% of the undergraduate population while males make up around 39%. With 40 different academic programs, the most popular are Nursing, Healthcare Administration, and Business Administration.

University of Maine at Farmington

Flickr user J. Stephen Conn

  • Location: Farmington, ME
  • Student Enrollment: 2,016
  • College Type: Public, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 720

Students at this public liberal arts school typically had test scores between 19 and 25 on the ACT or 900 and 1130 on the SAT. There is a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 74% first-year retention rate. Famous alumni include the Stanley brothers, who built the Stanley Steamer automobile, and John Frank Stevens, the engineer of the Panama Canal. Psychology, Elementary Education and Teaching, and Secondary Education and Teaching are the top majors.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Saint Anselm College

Flickr user WBN-TV

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Student Enrollment: 1,927
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 259

This small college has attracted many big-name speakers–especially politicians. Speakers have included a number of former presidents: Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and JFK among others. They have a four year graduation rate of 70% and most popular majors include Nursing, Criminology, and Business.

Rivier University

Wikimedia Commons user RivierCollege

  • Location: Nashua, NH
  • Student Enrollment: 2,599
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 883

This university accepts around 1,720 out of its 2,420 or so applicants per year. Of those accepted, about 180 choose Rivier for their school. Rivier has a 78% first-year retention rate for students. As a Catholic university, it educates its students through a Christian worldview.

Colby-Sawyer College

Flickr user rick kloeppel

  • Location: New London, NH
  • Student Enrollment: 1,228
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 971

This private baccalaureate college has the motto Paratae Servire, or “Prepare to Serve.” As such, it makes sense that its most popular degrees include Nursing and Biology/Biology Sciences, as well as Business Administration and Management. About 25% of its students are athletes. The school is part of the NCAA Division III.

NEW JERSEY

Drew University

Wikimedia Commons user Jim.henderson

  • Location: Madison, NJ
  • Student Enrollment: 2,082
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 377

Drew University has been used as a filming location for several notable movies and tv shows, including: The Incredible Hulk, the Sopranos, and Friday Night Lights. The school has an acceptance rate of 57% and student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. Blue and green are the school colors of the university.

Centenary University

Wikimedia Commons user KLOTZ

  • Location: Hackettstown, NJ
  • Student Enrollment: 2,284
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 464

Around 88% of the 1,170 applicants are accepted every year at this university. Many students have test scores ranging between 17 to 22 on the ACT and 820 to 1040 for the SAT. 87% of first-year students come back the following school year. There is no football team, but basketball, baseball, and soccer are three of the most popular sports on campus.

Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus

Flickr user Valary

  • Location: Madison, NJ
  • Student Enrollment: 3,394
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 530

This school is the first American university to own and operate an international campus. The student-to-faculty ratio sits at 13:1. Top majors include Psychology, Speech Communication and Rhetoric, Business Administration and Management, and Cinematography and Film/Video Production. About 21% of accepted applicants choose FDU as their school for the fall.

NEW YORK

Sarah Lawrence College

Flickr user cranberries

  • Location: Bronxville, NY
  • Student Enrollment: 1,643
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 159

Named in honor of the wife of founder William Van Duzer Lawrence, this college was originally intended to be an arts and humanities school for women. Today, though coeducational, there are still far more women on campus–72.3% of the undergraduates are female students. They have a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 giving the school a close-knit feel.

Yeshiva University

Flickr user gigi_NYC

  • Location: New York City, NY
  • Student Enrollment: 6,194
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 162

This research university accepts around 51% of its 1,670 applicants per year. 91% of those accepted choose to attend Yeshiva. ACT scores typically fall between 24 and 31, while SAT scores fall between 1090 and 1360. The school has an 87% first-year retention rate, and a 75% four year graduation rate. Student-to-faculty ratio rests at 8:1.

Hobart William Smith College

Wikimedia Commons user Circuitloss

  • Location: Geneva, NY
  • Student Enrollment: 2,351
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 176

This private baccalaureate school has an 85% first-year retention rate. The most popular majors are Economics, Natural Resources/Conservation, and Mass Communication/Media Studies. This school typically has a slightly higher proportion of male students than female, with the ratio being about 52:47. Of the 2,700 applicants accepted, 24% choose to attend.

PENNSYLVANIA

Haverford College

Flickr user Mark Goebel

  • Location: Haverford, PA
  • Student Enrollment: 1,233
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 36

Founded by Quakers in 1833, Haverford College offers 31 majors, the most popular of which are Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, and English. The average ACT and SAT scores for this school are 30–34 and 1,350–1,530 respectively. The campus is a national arboretum, the oldest in the country.

Grove City College

Wikimedia Commons user Mark Schellhase

  • Location: Grove City, PA
  • Student Enrollment: 2,444
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 80

Approximately 44% of accepted students (around 500) choose to attend Grove City College. The school boasts a 94% first-year retention rate, and around 77% of students graduate within four years. The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. Favored majors include Biology/Biological Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, and Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

Bryn Mawr College

Flickr user Meagan

  • Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Student Enrollment: 1,692
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 95

This women’s liberal arts college has a school crest that features three owls, stars, and the words “Veritatem Dilexi”—I delight in the truth. Bryn Mawr has an acceptance rate of 38.5%, a four year graduation rate of 81%, and a first year retention rate of 94%. Their school colors are yellow and white.

RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island School of Design

Flickr user Zack Lee

  • Location: Providence, RI
  • Student Enrollment: 2,481
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 123

Known as one of the best design schools in the country, RISD has a host of artistic majors to study: Illustration, Product Design, Graphic Design, Architecture, and Painting are the five most popular. They have a 93% first year retention rate, and a four year graduation rate of 69%. Students come from all around the country to study here with 15.52% from California.

Bryant University

Wikimedia Commons user SayCheeeeese

  • Location: Smithfield, RI
  • Student Enrollment: 3,670
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 165

Bryant University has an impressive 90% first year retention rate and a four year graduation rate of 74%. The five most popular majors on campus are Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Business, and International Trade. Lacrosse, soccer, swimming/diving, and tennis are among the favorite sports played by students.

Salve Regina University

Flickr user Wally Gobetz

  • Location: Newport, RI
  • Student Enrollment: 2,751
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 385

Salve Regina is a selective, co-educational Catholic university in Newport, Rhode Island. The school boasts a student to faculty ratio of 13:1, and an 82% first year retention rate. The top majors are Nursing and Criminal Justice and almost 500 students are student-athletes.

VERMONT

Champlain College

Flickr user Don Shall

  • Location: Burlington, VT
  • Student Enrollment: 4,006
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 487

Champlain College is named after the famous lake that is located near the campus. Fittingly, their mascot is Chauncey T. Beaver. There is a near even split of gender on campus, at 51% being male students and 49% being women. Champlain has a 82% first year retention rate, and Business Administration is the most popular major.

Norwich University

Flickr user Bill Taroli

  • Location: Northfield, VT
  • Student Enrollment: 3,870
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 619

Norwich was initially founded as the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy. Norwich accepts 70% of applicants and has an endowment of over $208,000,000. The school is known as the “Birthplace of ROTC” and has many notable military alumni.

Castleton University

Flickr user Doug Kerr

  • Location: Castleton, VT
  • Student Enrollment: 2,246
  • College Type: Public, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 790

Castleton has almost a 95% acceptance rate, and the average ACT scores for incoming students are between 18 and 23. Although Castleton is considered rural Vermont, there are many restaurants and social spots in close proximity to the campus.

WEST VIRGINIA

Wheeling Jesuit University

Flickr user Joanne C. Sullivan

  • Location: Wheeling, WV
  • Student Enrollment: 1,385
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 729

With a 10:1 student to faculty ratio, Wheeling has a small college feel. Most of the students come to the university from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and, of course, West Virginia. Their latin motto–Luceat Lux Vestra–means Let your light shine. Red, black, and gold make up the school’s colors.

West Virginia Wesleyan College

Flickr user L.H.

  • Location: Buckhannon, WV
  • Student Enrollment: 1,518
  • College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 855

Psychology is the most popular major on this campus. WVWC has graduated a number of professional athletes, politicians, and writers over the years. West Virginia Wesleyan sports the colors of orange and black when they cheer on the Bobcats’ sports teams. The women teams are known as the Lady Bobcats. 

West Liberty University

Wikimedia Commons user Fae

  • Location: West Liberty, WV
  • Student Enrollment: 2,341
  • College Type: Public, 4-year or above
  • College Raptor Ranking: 1,138

WLU is the oldest institute of higher learning in West Virginia, founded in 1837. Among the most popular majors on campus are Dental Hygiene, Elementary Education, Criminal Justice, and Exercise Science. Their motto is “Welcome to your future” and their athletic teams are known as the Hilltoppers.

About our 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.

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

College Raptor Staff

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