Most Geographically Diverse Hidden Gem Colleges | 2023 Rankings

Most Geographically Divers Hidden Gems Badge.If you are a student looking to go to a college far, far away from home this Top Geographically Diverse College Hidden Gems rankings list is for you. This list is based on colleges and universities with a higher level of geographical diversity. That means these hidden gems have students who come from a wider variety of places, and they embrace cultural diversity.

To qualify as a 2023 Hidden Gem, a school must meet 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

Topping the geographically diverse hidden gem colleges list are United States Coast Guard Academy, Rhode Island School of Design, and Gallaudet University. Make sure to scroll the whole list! There are definitely a few on this list you probably haven’t heard of.

See the best geographically diverse hidden gems colleges right here!

Top 25 Geographically Diverse Hidden Gems

"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 1,056
Often abbreviated to RISD, this school was founded to expand access to design education to women. Nowadays, 66% of the undergraduate class consist of female students. The main campus is located on the Providence River, but a number of buildings and facilities, including the library, can now be found in Downtown Providence.
Location Providence, RI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,227
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
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
Maharishi International University was founded in 1973 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Considered to be the home of consciousness-based education, the university strives to promote commitment to personal inner-growth, wellness, sustainability, and positive values. By far, the most popular major at Maharishi International University is Business Administration and Management.
Location Fairfield, IA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,015
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 2,040
A Christian liberal arts college in the heart of New York's Financial District, The King's College is a selective school only accepting 43.9% of applicants. Offering 9 majors, all students are required to experience the schools Politics, Philosophy, and Economics as a part of their core curriculum. Humanities, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business Administration are the top three most sought after degrees.
Location New York, NY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 442
Bennington College, sitting on 440 acres, was originally a women’s college when it was founded in 1932 and became coeducational in 1969. Today, the school is still predominantly female (65.9% of undergraduates are women). Visual and Performing Arts is the most popular major on campus, followed by Drama and Dramatics, Music, and General Literature.
Location Bennington, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 799
Sitting on 1,185 acres in Huntsville, Oakwood University is a historically black, Seventh-day Adventist institution. The school has a cozy 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 74% first year retention rate. General Studies, Biology/Biological Sciences, and Social Work are the most popular majors. The school's motto is “God First”
Location Huntsville, AL
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,374
“Fortitude and Prudence” is the motto of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Located along the Ohio River, this school has a first-year retention rate of 86% and a six-year graduation rate of 77%. Believe it or not, only 24% of the incoming class calls Ohio home. Others come from all around the country to attend.
Location Steubenville, OH
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,304
This private university was founded relatively recently in 1955 and is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The school’s motto is, “enter to learn, go forth to serve.” 100% of the student population consists of undergraduate students. Some of the most popular majors at the university include Accounting, Hospitality Administration and Management, and Psychology.
Location Laie, HI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,180
Wheaton College was founded by evangelical abolitionists in 1860 and would become a stop on the Underground Railroad. Business/Managerial Economics is by far the most popular major at the school. Athletic teams are known as The Thunder. They wear blue and orange and compete in the NCAA Division III in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
Location Wheaton, IL
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,908
Union College is a Seventh-day Adventist, liberal arts institution founded in 1891. The ethnically diverse college has students representing 18 countries and 46 states. The school offers over 50 majors, with Registered Nursing being by far the most popular. Business Administration and International Public health are also popular majors.
Location Lincoln, NE
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 757
Andrews University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution and is classified as a Doctoral/Research college. The school accepts 82% of applicants. 100% of students receive some form of grant aid. Students enjoy a cozy 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and an 85% first year retention rate. The most popular majors studied are Psychology, Audiology/Speech Language Pathology, and Registered Nursing.
Location Berrien Springs, MI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,162
Norwich University is the birthplace of ROTC, now over 100 years strong. It’s a non-selective school with an acceptance rate of about 87%. The school has an 82% first year retention rate, and a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 90% of graduates go into military service, pursue a graduate degree, or are employed with government agencies such as the CIA, FBI, or NSA within 8 months of graduation.
Location Northfield, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,975
Calvary University is a Christian college and seminary. More than 60% of students come from outside of Missouri. The most popular majors are Business Administration, Pastoral Studies, and Bible/Biblical studies. Students enjoy a small class sizes with a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 68% first year retention rate.
Location Kansas City, MO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 469
Presentation College is a small Catholic college highly focused on Health Care and Nursing programs. The school accepts around 94% of applicants but offers small class sizes with a 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Almost all students (99%) receive grant aid. Students who attend PC represent over 18 countries around the globe 24 states within the US. Registered Nursing is by far the most sought-after major.
Location Aberdeen, SD
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 625
Location Collegedale, TN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,730
More commonly known as Sewanee, The University of the South sits on 13,000 acres. These grounds are more commonly known as “The Domain” or “The Mountain.” Many of the stunning buildings are done in a Gothic style including the many chapels. The university also founded the Sewanee Review in 1892, which is the oldest continuous literary magazine in the country.
Location Sewanee, TN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,800
Founded in 1903, Waldorf University is a private liberal arts school in the heart of Iowa. The schools motto which can be seen on the logo is Lux et Veritas, which means "Light and Truth.” Occupational Safety and Health Technology is the most popular major followed by Business/Commerce. 95% of students receive grant aid and 89% receive institutional aid.
Location Forest City, IA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,025
Iowa Wesleyan University has a $0 application fee and accepts about 82% of applicants. Over 50% of students who attend are first generation students. Students represent 35 countries and all 50 states. The school is home of the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra (SEISO). The top major is Business Administration and Management followed by Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration.
Location Mount Pleasant, IA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 704
Benedictine College’s core values are built into the four “pillars” of the school which are known as Catholic, Benedictine, Liberal Arts, and Residential. The college’s motto is “Forward. Always Forward.” A majority of students decide to major in Finance, Registered Nursing, and Theology. Its campus is located along the bends of the Missouri River.
Location Atchison,KS
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,217
“Luceat Lux Vestra” – Let Your Light Shine is the motto of this small Catholic school. All students who attend Wheeling University will receive institutional grants from the school. The school offers eight bachelors programs with Registered Nursing and Business Administration being the most popular. Students wear red, black, and gold and the school mascot is Iggy the Cardinal.
Location Wheeling, WV
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 857
Founded in 1847, Earlham College is a liberal arts and sciences institution shaped by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). 20% of students who attend Earlham come from countries outside of the US. There is no application and 69% of students are accepted. Business Administration and Management is by far the most sought-after major followed by Biology and Biochemistry.
Location West Richmond, IN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 815
Lawrence University was the second coeducation institution in the U.S., founded in 1847. The three most popular majors are Music Performance, Economics, and Psychology. Many alumni went into careers in politics, music, and sports. The campus sits along the winding Fox River. The bachelor’s degree is the highest level of education offered.
Location Appleton, WI
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,430

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.