The goal of College Raptor’s Hidden Gems is to highlight amazing schools that are often overlooked. To that end, these designations are based on College Raptor’s overall national rankings as well as the number of applications received and number of undergraduate students attending, both of which are important factors in the selection process.

This year’s lists include Hidden Gem schools organized by state and by region. New 2019 lists are Hidden Gems for Women in Engineering, Hidden Gems for Psychology, Hidden Gems for Biology, and Most Athletic Hidden Gems!

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

  • Receive fewer than 5,000 applications a year
  • Have fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students enrolled

College Raptor’s overall rankings is based on an analysis of data about the school’s selectivity, financial health, academic rigor, and student success. We’ve outlined our full methodology here.

This year the Hidden Gems lists have come out alongside our Best Colleges Rankings, so that students and families can learn about a wide array of schools they may not have previously considered, or even heard of!

Hidden Gems in the US | 2019

Hidden Gems in the US

In our most prestigious Hidden Gems list, we’ve featured the highest ranking gem school in each state—including Washington DC. These schools are truly diamonds in the rough! At College Raptor, we help students find colleges that fit them financially, socially, and academically–which means looking at more than just big name universities. That’s why we’re drawing …

Hidden Gems in the Northwest | 2019

Hidden Gems in the Northwest

The Northwestern region of the United States is known for unique landscapes and lifestyles, but there’s one aspect that doesn’t get the attention it deserves—colleges! Which is why we decided to highlight some of the best hidden gem schools in the Northwest. For this list, we’ve included the following states as part of the Northwest: …

Hidden Gems in the Northeast | 2019

Hidden Gems in the Northeast

There’s no doubt that the Northeast region is known for a plethora of famous colleges. However it’s important that these great colleges don’t get lost in the shadow of brand name schools, so we’re here to shine a light on them! These are the best hidden gem colleges in the Northeast. The colleges on this …

Hidden Gems in the Midwest | 2019

Hidden Gems in the Midwest

This list features the best colleges in the Midwest that might get overlooked, but should definitely not be underestimated. There are a bunch of great schools in America’s heartland, and we want to give them the recognition they deserve. For this list, we’ve included the following states as part of the Midwest: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, …

Hidden Gems in the Southeast | 2019

Hidden Gems in the Southeast

If you want to find the best colleges in the Southeast United States, it’s important to look at more than just big name schools. You may be surprised by these diamonds in the rough just waiting for you to discover them. For the purposes of this list, we’ve included the following states as part of …

Hidden Gems in the Southwest | 2019

Hidden Gems in the Southwest

The Southwest has some of the most well-known colleges in the US, but there are many schools that get left out of the hype brand-name schools generate. We wanted to highlight the underrated colleges of the Southwest here. For this list, we’ve included the following states: Arizona, Southern California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, …

Top 10 Hidden Gems for Women in Engineering | 2019

Top 10 Hidden Gems for Women in Engineering

Women have long been underrepresented in STEM fields, which is why we wanted to highlight schools that have higher percentages of engineering students that are women. To qualify for this list, at least 5% of total degrees conferred must be in an engineering field. We looked at schools with the highest percentages of engineering degrees being …

Top 10 Hidden Gems for Psychology | 2019

Top 10 Hidden Gems for Psychology - Facebook

Psychology is one of the most popular college majors out there, and students go on to make a big impact in the world. It’s an incredibly important field to say the least. We wanted to highlight lesser-known schools that gave psychology students a good “bang for their buck.” We took the college’s average median pay …

Top Ten Hidden Gems for Biology | 2019

Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology

Biology is as diverse a field as the subjects it studies, and just as diverse as the people who study it. We wanted to highlight lesser-known schools that gave biology students a good “bang for their buck.” We took the college’s average median pay and subtracted the national average starting salary of biology majors ($41,850), …

Most Athletic Hidden Gems | 2019

Most Athletic Hidden Gems

A big part of the collective college experience revolves around athletics. There’s nothing quite like rooting for your team along with fellow classmates, wearing your school’s colors, and cheering with school spirit. We wanted to highlight some of the most active colleges out there, so we created this list: the most athletic hidden gem schools, …