Hidden Gem Colleges in New England | 2022 Rankings

There are many well known, house-hold name colleges in New England. They are titans of higher education known the world over for their academics and reputation. However, there are just as many excellent colleges in the New England area that don’t receive as much attention as they deserve. That’s why we wanted to cast the spotlight on amazing Hidden Gem colleges in New England.

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

  • Receive fewer than 5,000 applications per year
  • Have fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students
  • Offer 5 or more unique majors
  • Have a 10% acceptance rate or higher

For this list, we’ve considered the following states as part of New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Hidden Gem Colleges in New England


"Scientiæ Cedit Mare," or “the sea yields to knowledge,” is the motto of the United States Coast Guard Academy. It was founded in 1876 and is the smallest of the five academies for service in the United States. The most popular major is Political Science and Government, but Business Management, Civil Engineering, and Oceanography are also top choices.
Location New London, CT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,069
A largely female school, the University of Saint Joseph was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1932 and only started accepting men in 2018. The campus is well known for its Georgian brick architecture and the entire school is on an 84 acre campus. 78% of students who apply are accepted. 62% of the students on campus study at the graduate level.
Location West Hartford, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,398
Mitchell College is a very small liberal arts school. They offer 14 total programs spread across Associate and Bachelor’s degrees. The two most popular undergraduate areas of study are Business Administration and Criminal Justice. Mitchell has a 13 to 1 student to faculty ratio and just over 200 athletes, better known as the Mariners.
Location New London, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 642


Located on a peninsula in the Bagaduce River and Penobscot Bay, the Maine Maritime Academy is a non-federal maritime training school. Students are not required to join the military after graduation. With a 11:1 student to faculty ratio, the school also has a first-year retention rate of 80%.
Location Castine, ME
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,006
The University of New England has two campuses in Maine and one in Tangier, Morocco. It is currently the largest private university in the state and has five schools offering over 70 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and online programs. Registered Nursing is a commonly chosen major, with Health Services and Biomedical Sciences not far behind.
Location Biddeford, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 7,483
66% of undergraduate students who attend University of Maine at Farmington, or UMF, are women. 88% of the graduate class are also women. UMF was founded in 1864 and was the state’s first publicly funded normal school. It wouldn’t join the University of Maine system until 1968. The university accepts about 95% of students who apply.
Location Farmington, ME
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,930


Mount Holyoke College is the oldest member of the Seven Sisters colleges. Their motto is Psalms 144:12 – “That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” The campus features a botanic garden, the art museum, and John Payson Williston Observatory. Computer Science, Biology, and Econometrics are popular majors.
Location South Hadley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,300
The second oldest state maritime academy in the country, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy was founded in 1891. Their motto is “Discipline, Knowledge, Leadership.” The training ship used by students is known as the USTS Kennedy. There are only 7 undergraduate programs available, with a majority of students choosing Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
Location Buzzards Bay, MA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,792
Also known as MassArt, Massachusetts College of Art and Design is the only public funded free-standing art school in the country. Majors offered include Illustration, Graphic Design, Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Painting, and others. The school has a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio and an 85% first year retention rate.
Location Boston, MA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 2,095


Saint Anselm College is the third oldest Catholic college in New England, having been founded in 1889. The school has been the site of presidential policy speeches from John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon as well as several national presidential debates. 100% of students receive institutional aid from the school.
Location Manchester, NH
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,033
The University of New Hampshire at Manchester, also known as UNH Manchester, is part of the state’s public university system. Athletes participate as the Wildcats, wearing blue and white. They have a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio and the top most popular majors among students are Biology, Mechanical Engineering, and Speech Communication and Rhetoric.
Location Manchester, NH
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 753
Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer College’s motto is “Paratae Servire” or “Prepared to Serve.” A majority of students who attend come from the Northeast. In fact, only 35% of first year students come from New Hampshire. Student athletes compete in the North Atlantic Conference and are cheered on by their Charger mascot.
Location New London, NH
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 855


Often abbreviated to RISD, this school was founded to expand access to design education to women. Nowadays, 68% of the undergraduate class consist of female students. The campus is located on the Providence River. Systems Science and Theory is the most popular major, followed by Illustration and Graphic Design.
Location Providence, RI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,501
The Salve Regina University was founded in 1934 by the Sisters of Mercy. The school has a large athletic program with over 500 student athletes. They compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Some sports they offer to students include baseball, football, ice hockey, and lacrosse. The teams are known as the Seahawks.
Location Newport, RI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,771
The second oldest college in the state, Rhode Island College is on an 180 acre campus. Registered Nursing and Psychology are the two most common majors among students at the school. It offers up to the doctor’s degree level of education, though 85% study at the undergraduate level.
Location Providence, RI
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 7,523


Saint Michael’s College has over 30 majors available to students, the most popular of which is Business. A majority of students come from the Northeast in the United States. Athletes are known as the Purple Knights. The school offers 21 Varsity sports including baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer.
Location Colchester, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,875
Bennington College was originally a women’s college when it was founded in 1932 and became coeducational in 1969. Visual and Performing Arts is the most popular major on campus, followed by Drama, Music, and General Literature. The school is on 440 acres and has an acceptance rate of 60%.
Location Bennington, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 826
Champlain College offers both in-person and online programs, with over 80 subjects. It was founded in 1878 for men and became coeducational only 6 years later. It would undergo a number of name changes over the years before arriving at its current moniker in 1958. Champlain College receives around 3,000 applications a year and accepts 85%.
Location Burlington, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 4,385

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.