Hidden Gem Colleges in New England | 2021 Rankings

The New England area is known for many things — history, beautiful landscapes, and amazing colleges. However, not all New England schools get the hype they deserve. That’s why we wanted to point out some of the Hidden Gems in the area.

For a school to be considered a Hidden Gem, it must meet the following criteria:

  • Receive fewer than 5,000 applications
  • Have fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students
  • Have an acceptance rate higher than 10%

Additionally, for this list, we’re including the following states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Here, we’ll highlight the top 3 Hidden Gem schools per state. If a state has fewer than 3 entries, it means no other schools met our criteria.

Check out the best New England schools that are Hidden Gems!

CONNECTICUT

The United States Coast Guard Academy is the smallest service academy and the only one that doesn’t require a student to have a congressman’s nomination. However, like the others, this academy is highly selective, only accepting 19% of their applicants. Though students only have a few majors to choose from, majors have their own tracks.
Location New London, CT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,071
The University of Saint Joseph was an all-women’s school until very recently. The university officially became coeducational in 2018. Incoming students have an average ACT score between 19 to 25 and an SAT score between 1,000 to 1,230. The university’s official colors are blue, gold, and white, and its athletes are known as the Blue Jays.
Location West Hartford, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,465
Originally an all-women’s college, Albertus Magnus College became coeducational in 1985. Its official school colors are blue and white and its athletes are the Falcons. Popular majors at the college include Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Psychology. The college has a 13 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. Almost 85% of the first year class is from Connecticut.
Location New Haven, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,456

MASSACHUSETTS

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering is unique in that it has an extremely small student body and only three majors: Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. Additionally, students who attend have half of their tuition covered by the Olin Scholarship. The school has an acceptance rate of 16%.
Location Needham, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 390
Located not far from the Connecticut River, is a liberal arts college for women. It is part of the Seven Sisters, all-women’s schools created to rival the Ivy Leagues. Holyoke is the oldest of the Sisters, founded in 1837. Computer Science, Biology, Econometrics, English, and Experimental Psychology are the top 5 most popular majors.
Location South Hadley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,335
Wheaton College was established in 1834 as a women’s-only college and only became coeducational in 1988. Its motto is “That They May Have Life and Have it Abundantly.” Accepted students typically score between 24 to 29 on the ACT and 1,200 to 1,370 on the SAT. Business is the most popular major offered, followed by Psychology and Neuroscience.
Location Norton, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,760

MAINE

Located on Penobscot Bay, the Maine Maritime Academy offers a total of 7 major programs -- Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering, Marine Science, Engineering Technologies, International Business, Biological & Biomedical Science, Systems Engineering, and Interdisciplinary Studies.
Location Castine, ME
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 997
“Fortitudo et Spes” is the official motto of this college, which translates to mean “Courage and Hope.” Saint Joseph’s College of Maine’s campus is located on Sebago Lake. 68% of the students study at the undergraduate level. Students applying to SJCM won’t have to pay an application fee.
Location Standish, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,106
The University of Maine at Farmington was established in 1864 and helped found the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. 90% of students receive some form of institutional aid. The most popular major offered is Elementary Education and Teaching, followed by Psychology and Early Childhood Education. The university’s official colors are maroon and white.
Location Farmington, ME
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 2,040

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Saint Anselm College was established in 1889, making it the third-oldest Catholic College in the New England area. Students who were accepted typically scored between 23 to 28 on the ACT and 1,140 to 1,310 on the SAT. Popular majors offered by the college include Registered Nursing, Business, and Criminology. Saint Anselm College’s athletes are known as the Hawks.
Location Manchester, NH
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,024
Also called UNH Manchester, this school is located on the banks of the Merrimack River. Business, Biology, Biotechnology, English, and Psychology are the top 5 most popular majors at UNH Manchester. There’s a rather high acceptance rate of 91% and a 10:1 student to faculty ratio. 96% of first year students come from the state of New Hampshire.
Location Manchester, NH
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 750
Keene State College’s mascot is named Hootie the Owl. The campus is situated beside the winding Ashuelot River and the Brick Yard Pond. A liberal arts college, the highest level of education offered at Keene State is the post-master’s certificate. That being said, 98% of students on campus are undergraduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Location Keene, NH
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 3,543

RHODE ISLAND

Often called RISD, this school has 19 art-centric majors to choose from. Among RISD’s notable alumni are actors, writers, sculptors, painters, architects and more. 81% of the students on campus study at the undergraduate level, though RISD offers up to a master’s degree. The acceptance rate is 26%.
Location Providence, RI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,467
Salve Regina University has a beautiful campus -- many of the campus buildings are from the Gilded Age and considered historical. Incoming students typically have an ACT score between 20 to 25 and an SAT score between 1,040 to 1,210. Students attending Salve Regina University will find an average class to have 13 students for every 1 faculty member.
Location Newport, RI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,647
Rhode Island College was founded in 1854, making it the second-oldest college in the state. The college’s motto is “Reach. Inspire. Connect.” The school colors are burgundy, white, and gold. Popular majors offered at the college include Registered Nursing, Psychology, and Business Administration and Management. Class sizes are around 14:1.
Location Providence, RI
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 7,766

VERMONT

Saint Michael’s College was initially an all-men’s school before becoming coeducational in 1970. Today, there’s a near even split of undergraduate men and women attending the college. Students who are accepted typically score between 21 to 27 on the ACT and 1,080 to 1,300 on the SAT. Business Administration and Management is the most popular major at the college, followed by Biology and Psychology.
Location Colchester, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,950
Incoming students, on average, have an ACT score between 23 to 29 and an SAT score between 1,140 to 1,350. Some of the most popular majors at the college include Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, Visual and Performing Arts, and General Literature. Typically, class sizes are around 9 students to every 1 faculty member.
Location Bennington, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 811
Champlain College began as a men’s-only business college, though it quickly became coeducational. It remained a business college until it began offering undergraduate degrees in 1990. Today, students attending Champlain College have over 30 different programs to choose from, though Business Administration and Management is still the most popular major.
Location Burlington, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 4,531

Interested in any of these New England 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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