Hidden Gem Colleges in New England | 2024 Rankings

Many of the well-known colleges in the United States are located in New England, including Harvard and Yale, which can make it difficult for lesser-known schools to shine! We want to give some spotlight to those schools with our Hidden Gem Colleges in New England for 2024.

These colleges and universities offer outstanding programs and experiences to their students – and you may just find your dream school on this list. 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


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. 78.3% of students who apply are accepted; about 18% of these decide to attend the following fall.
Location West Hartford, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,132
Founded in 1938 and located on a waterfront campus in New London, Mitchell College has a 76.9% acceptance rate and it’s free to apply. At the college, an NCAA Division III school, about 34% of the student population are also athletes. Students enjoy a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Criminal Justice/Safety Studies is the most sought-after major followed by Communications and Media Studies, and Business Administration.
Location New London, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 539
University of Bridgeport sits on a 56-acre campus along the Long Islan Sound. The school has an 82% acceptance rate and offers over 125 degree programs, minors, concentrations and certificates. The School of Nursing at University of Bridgeport launched the first BSN program in Connecticut. Registered Nursing is by far the most popular major followed by Psychology and Dental Hygiene.
Location Bridgeport, CT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,988


Located on a peninsula in the Bagaduce River and Penobscot Bay, the Maine Maritime Academy is a non-federal maritime training school, however students are not required to join the military after graduation. The most popular major is Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The school admits just over 50% of applicants, has a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and a first-year retention rate of 81%.
Location Castine, ME
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 888
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is located on the shore of Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. The most popular major studied here is Registered Nursing, followed by Radiologic Technology/Science and Biology/Biological Sciences. The athletes at are known as the Monks, and some of the more popular sports include soccer, lacrosse, and basketball.
Location Standish, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,478
Husson University dates back to 1898 when it was originally called the Shaw School of Business. Today, Business Administration and Management is the third most popular major at the university behind Registered Nursing and Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration. A member of the NCAA Division III, students are known as the Eagles.
Location Bangor, ME
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 3,065


Mount Holyoke College is the oldest member of the Seven Sisters colleges. Their motto is Psalms 144:12 – “That our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” The campus features a botanic garden, an art museum, and John Payson Williston Observatory. Experimental Psychology, Biology, and Econometrics and Quantitative Economics are commonly chosen majors.
Location South Hadley, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,392
Founded as a female seminary in 1834, Wheaton College only started accepting men in 1988. Today, women still outnumber men making up 63% of the student body. The school accepts 79.4% of students who apply, has an 81% first year retention rate, and has a 11:1 student to faculty ratio. All students who attend receive institutional grant aid.
Location Norton, MA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,667
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 many choosing Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
Location Buzzards Bay, MA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,425


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 ($27,936 on average).
Location Manchester, NH
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,959
“Enter to learn, go forth and serve,” is the motto of Keene State College. Keene State offers several different scholarships for incoming students. The majority of the students who attend come from the New England area and 99% of students receive grant aid. Occupational Safety and Health Technology, Psychology, and Business Administration and Management are the most popular majors.
Location Keene, NH
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 2,872
The University of New Hampshire at Manchester, also known as UNH Manchester, is part of the state’s public university system. The school has a focus on programs related to urban issues; popular majors include Biology, Business, and Psychology. UNH Manchester boasts a 92% placement rate for graduates.
Location Manchester, NH
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 534


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 83% study at the undergraduate level. RIC is a first-choice institution for Hispanic/Latinx students.
Location Providence, RI
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 5,787


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 (63.9% 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 880
Saint Michael’s College has over 30 majors available to students, the most popular of which is Business Administration and Management. The college accepts 86% of applicants; anyone who decides to attend will receive institutional aid. The campus is actually split with the North Campus being one mile away from the Main Campus.
Location Colchester, VT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,399
Norwich University is the birthplace of ROTC, now over 100 years strong. It’s a non-selective school with an acceptance rate of about 83%. The school has a 74% first year retention rate, and a 11:1 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 3,363

Why is New England a Great Place to Go to School?

From Portland to Boston to Hartford, the states that make up New England have a lot to offer students! For history lovers, New England offers endless lessons and places that are must-visits. For those who love the outdoors, you can hike part of the Appalachian Trail starting in Maine and revel in the amazing sights and colors that the area provides come fall. And for those who love culture, the cities of New England and the small towns bring so much life to a visitor’s day-to-day that you’ll never run out of things to do!

Interested in any of these New England hidden gem 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.