Hidden Gem Colleges in the Mid-East US | 2021 Rankings

The Mid-East, also known as the Mid-Atlantic, region of the US has many claims to fame. Chief among them, American history and fantastic household name colleges. But what about the lesser-known Mid-Atlantic colleges? There are a number of amazing schools that deserve the spotlight, which is why we’re highlighting them here.

To qualify as a Hidden Gem, a school must meet the following requirements:

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

For this list, we’re including the following states in the Mid-East: DC, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Here you’ll find the top 3 Hidden Gems per state. If a state has fewer than three, it means no other schools fit our criteria.

Check out the best Hidden Gem Mid-Atlantic colleges below!


Trinity Washington University was originally an all-women’s college before becoming mostly coeducational. To this day, the university’s College of Arts and Sciences remains women-only, but men can enroll in the other four schools the university offers. The school’s official colors are purple and gold.
Location Washington, DC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,782


Founded in 1886, Goldey-Beacom College has over 1,400 students currently attending -- over half of the student body are undergraduates. The college receives over 800 applications every year and has a 57% acceptance rate. The most popular major at the college is Business Administration and Management, with Accounting and Finance coming in second and third.
Location Wilmington, DE
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,493
Wesley College was founded in 1873 -- its motto is “Great Things Await.” Its official school colors are blue and white. Over 2,200 students apply to the college annually and around 61% of them are accepted. Incoming students typically score between 15 to 20 on the ACT and 820 to 1,050 on the SAT. The average student-to-faculty ratio is 12 to 1. Freshmen will find that 40% of their classmates are from Delaware.
Location Dover, DE
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,351


St. John’s College has two campuses, one of which is in Annapolis, Maryland. Students attending the college can only study in one field: Liberal Arts. Accepted students typically have an ACT score between 25 to 31 and an SAT score between 1,230 to 1,440. Around 91% of all first years will return for their second year at the college.
Location Annapolis, MD
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 527
St. Mary’s College of Maryland was established in 1840 and became an honors college in 1992. The most popular major at the college is Psychology, with Biology and English coming in second and third. Around 93% of all students receive grant aid and 92% receive institutional aid. The college’s athletes are known as the Seahawks.
Location St. Mary’s City, MD
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,582
Located in the state capital of Baltimore, the Maryland Institute College of Art is also referred to as MICA. 82% of all students on campus study at the undergraduate level, though MICA offers up to the master’s degree. The school has an acceptance rate of 64%. Given the artistic nature of the school, it’s no surprise many alumni have gone on to have success in various fine arts.
Location Baltimore, MD
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,178


Drew University was founded in 1867. Its motto is “δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε,” which translates to “Freely ye have received, freely give.” The university is known for its forested campus. Around 98% of all students receive some form of grant and institutional aid. Business Administration and Management is the most popular major at Drew University.
Location Madison, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,263
The Florham Campus is located on the Florham estate and has over 3,400 students attending, 2,700 of whom are undergraduates. The Florham Campus receives almost 3,000 applications annually. Accepted students typically score between 20 to 26 on the ACT and 1,050 to 1,240 on the SAT. The most popular major studied at the campus is Psychology.
Location Madison, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,483
Caldwell University was first founded in 1939 as Caldwell College and officially became a university in 2013. The university’s motto is “Sapientia et Scientia,” which translates to “Wisdom and Knowledge.” Its official school colors are red and gold and their mascot is the Cougar. Popular majors offered at Caldwell University include Registered Nursing, Psychology, and Business.
Location Caldwell, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,189


Webb Institute was founded by William Henry Webb, a shipbuilder who saw the importance of science and engineering, rather than art, in ship design. Today, Webb Institute graduates all earn a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Students who attend this highly selective school have their tuition covered while they study.
Location Glen Cove, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 104
Like the other US service academies, students who want to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy must be nominated by a congressman. There are only three majors: Marine Science/Merchant Marine Officer, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering, and Systems Engineering.
Location Kings Point, NY
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,015
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was founded with the idea that higher education was for every qualified individual and should be free. Staying true to their ideals, Cooper Union admitted students regardless of their gender, race, or religious beliefs. Around 2,400 students apply to this highly selective college every year, though only 400 of them are accepted.
Location New York, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 952


Haverford College is part of the Tri College Consortium and the Quaker Consortium. As a liberal arts college, Haverford requires students to take a wide variety of classes. The school also upholds the Honor Code, run entirely by students. Some of the more popular majors at Haverford include Psychology, Economics, and Political Science and Government.
Location Haverford, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,310
Biology, Speech Communication, Mechanical Engineering, Business Administration, and Marketing are the top 5 most popular majors at Grove City College. The campus is located along Wolf Creek. Grove City College is exclusively for bachelor’s degrees, so you’ll only find undergraduates on campus.
Location Grove City, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,338
Bryn Mawr College, an all-women’s school, is part of both the Seven Sisters and the Tri-College Consortium. Though only women study at the undergraduate level, Bryn Mawr’s graduate programs are coeducational. Students enjoy small class sizes, with a typical class having 9 students to 1 faculty member, and Bryn Mawr College has a 92% first-year retention rate.
Location Bryn Mawr, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,690

Interested in any of these Mid-Atlantic colleges? 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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