Hidden Gem Colleges in the Mid-East US | 2023 Rankings

Mid East Hidden Gems badge.Also known as the Mid-Atlantic region, this section of the East Coast has a host of incredible colleges — both known and relatively unknown. However, these lesser-known schools can be real diamonds in the rough. They provide ideal opportunities just waiting for you to learn about all they have to offer.

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, the following states are considered part of the mid-east: Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

*Note: We feature the top 3 Hidden Gems per state, however not all states had 3 schools that met all of our criteria, and so may only feature one or two.

Hidden Gems in the Mid-East US


Gallaudet University is a school dedicated to the deaf and hard of hearing. Accepting just under 63% of applicants, they have two official languages: English and American Sign Language. Many students will go on to major in Sign Language Interpretation and Speech Communication, but other majors are offered including Social Work, Business Administration, and Psychology.
Location Washington, DC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,451
Trinity Washington University is a liberal arts school for women and was established in 1897. A majority of students who attend are from Washington DC, Maryland, and North Carolina. Trinity has five schools for its students and top majors include Health and Wellness, Business Administration and Management, Social Psychology, and Registered Nursing.
Location Washington, DC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,846


Goldey-Beacom College was founded in 1886 and today offers up to a doctorate for its students. 100% of students receive institutional grants from the college, with an average of just over $16,000 per student. Accepting just over 55% of applicants, common majors include Business Administration and Management, Accounting, and Sport and Fitness Administration.
Location Wilmington, DE
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,184
Delaware State University, often abbreviated to DSU, is a fairly selective school with an acceptance rate of about 59%. The three most popular majors at DSU are Mass Communication/Media Studies, Biology/Biological Sciences, and Criminology. The DSU Hornets compete in NCAA Division I athletics and wear red and Columbia blue.
Location Dover, DE
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 4,739


Founded in 1840, St. Mary’s College of Maryland was originally known as St. Mary’s Female Seminary. It actually shares its campus with Historic St. Mary’s City, which is the state’s first colony and capital. A majority of students attending today are female, but the school is co-educational and has been since 1949.
Location St. Mary’s City, MD
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,508
The Washington College dates back to 1723 when it began as the Kent County Free School. It would become Washington College in 1782. Today, it is the 10th oldest college in the United States and was actually the first college chartered after the American Revolution. George Washington was heavily involved in the founding.
Location Chestertown, MD
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,089
The Maryland Institute College of Art is one of the oldest art colleges in the country, having been founded in 1826. Illustration, Graphic Design, Multimedia, and Painting are commonly chosen majors. The school has an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio and accepts just under 90% of applicants. About 11% of these students will go on to attend MICA.
Location Baltimore, MD
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,892


Drew University goes by the nickname “University of the Forest” due to the fact it is on an 186 acre wooded campus. The school’s motto is “δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε”, which is Greek for "Freely ye have received, freely give” from Matthew 10:8. Blue and green are the school colors and the sports teams are known as the Rangers.
Location Madison, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,229
The Florham Campus of the Fairleigh Dickinson University opened in spring of 2013, and the university itself has campuses in New Jersey, Canada, and the UK. Classes are also available online. With an 82% first year retention rate, students often major in Psychology and Business Administration and Management.
Location Madison, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,396
Centenary University was originally founded in 1867 as a preparatory school. Today, the school is known for being a non-selective university, with an acceptance rate of about 98%, and an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 10 to 1. The most popular major by far is Business Administration and Management, followed by Criminal Justice/Safety Studies, and Equestrian/Equine Studies.
Location Hackettstown, NJ
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,629


Yeshiva University is a research university in Manhattan that has four schools that make up the undergraduate program: Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, Katz School of Science and Health, and Syms School of Business. Campuses, buildings, and facilities can also be found in other NYC boroughs and in Israel. The university’s motto is “תורה ומדע“ which is Hebrew for “Torah and secular knowledge.”
Location New York City, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 5,524
Sarah Lawrence College has turned out some incredible alumni, such as, J.J. Abrams, Vera Wang, Julianna Margulies, Jordan Peele, and Carly Simon. Sarah Lawrence is fairly selective, accepting about 58% of applications each year. Liberal Arts is the only major offered; however, you can choose from one or more of the 50 disciplines offered as your focus.
Location Bronxville, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,506
Hobart William Smith Colleges accepts less than 62% of students who apply. Hobart College is for men and William Smith College is for women. The two schools share a campus and are officially known as HWS. Economics is the most popular major, followed by Mass Communications, Psychology, and English Language and Literature. Hobart’s colors are royal purple and orange while William Smith’s colors are emerald green and white.
Location Geneva, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,833


Offering more than 50 majors to undergraduates, Speech Communication, Marketing, Mechanical Engineering, Business, and Accounting are the most popular choices at Grove City College. The school is host to about 150 student organizations, several publications, and a radio station (one of the first in the country).
Location Grove City, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,277
“Step through the red doors” at Muhlenberg College where 99% of the students are undergraduates. With an impressive 94% first year retention rate, the school also has a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 6,000 internship opportunities are available to students each year. The top three most popular majors are Business Administration and Management, Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, and Psychology.
Location Allentown, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,067
A women’s liberal arts college, Bryn Mawr College is a Seven Sisters college. It was founded by the Quakers in 1885. The school receives around 3,300 applications a year and accepts only 38% of them, making it a very selective school. Bryn Mawr means “large hill” in Welsh. Notable alumni include classicist Edith Hamilton and actress Katharine Hepburn.
Location Bryn Mawr, PA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,634

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.

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