The goal of College Raptor’s Hidden Gems 2023 is to put the spotlight on amazing schools that you may not have heard of before. With that in mind, these designations are based on College Raptor’s overall national rankings as well as the number of factors unique to the Hidden Gems lists.

This year, the lists include Hidden Gem schools organized by state and by region. We’ve also added a few new 2023 Hidden Gem lists to include:

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.
  • Have an acceptance rate higher than 10%.
  • Have 5 or more unique majors.

College Raptor’s overall national rankings are 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.

Hidden Gem Colleges in the US | 2023 Rankings

Hidden Gems US 50 2023 badge.

The best treasures are worth looking for and may even be hidden right beneath your nose. That’s true for colleges as well. With our 2023 Hidden Gem Colleges, we highlight colleges and universities that students may not have heard of before. These are all amazing schools and are worth exploring for academic, financial, and social …

Most Affordable Hidden Gem Colleges for the Middle Class | 2023 Rankings

Hidden Gems Colleges Middle Class Affordability

It’s no secret that college can be expensive. But that doesn’t mean “not affordable.” This year, College Raptor wanted to highlight some hidden gem colleges that are most affordable for the middle class. We rank the most affordable colleges based on the estimated net price at each institution for a “typical” middle-class family. We defined …

Best STEM Hidden Gem Colleges | 2023

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STEM fields are the fastest-growing career market out there and, because of that, there are many organizations, programs, and schools dedicated to encouraging young people to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors.  STEM education helps individuals become more innovative, creative, and divergent thinking. The classes focus on hands-on learning where mistakes are not …

Best Religiously Affiliated Hidden Gem Colleges | 2023 Rankings

Hidden Gems Religiously Affiliated Colleges Badge.

The United States is a melting pot of different cultures and religions, and for many, religion is an important part of their life. Hundreds of universities and colleges across the United States were founded with religious affiliation, and many have held onto those roots. They have the ethics and belief system of their religion built …

Hidden Gem Colleges in New England | 2023 Rankings

Top New England Colleges 2023 badge.

There are many well-known, household 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 …

Hidden Gem Colleges in the Plains Region | 2023 Rankings

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America’s heartland is vast, fertile, and filled with various industries. Additionally, it’s home to a bunch of amazing colleges. While some colleges are certainly household names, some aren’t quite as well known – though they should be! We wanted to feature some of the best colleges in the Plains region, otherwise commonly known as the …

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 …

Hidden Gem Colleges in the Great Lakes Region | 2023 Rankings

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The Great Lakes are so impressive that they get a section of the US named after them. While the area is clearly well-known for the waters, some of the attention should be on the small but mighty Great Lakes colleges within the area. To qualify as a Hidden Gem, a school must meet the following …

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

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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 Colleges in the Rocky Mountains | 2023 Rankings

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The Rocky Mountain Range spans over 3,000 miles from New Mexico to northern British Columbia in Canada. There are a lot of colleges in the Rocky Mountain area that are as mighty as the peaks themselves. However, some of those colleges aren’t household names yet. We wanted to highlight some amazing colleges in the Rockies. …

Hidden Gems Colleges in the Southeast | 2023 Rankings

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What do you think about when you hear “the Southeast?” Many think about southern hospitality, comfort food, warm weather, and history. You should add amazing colleges to that list. While there are powerhouse colleges in the Southeast, there are also a bunch of great schools that fly under the radar. That’s why we wanted to …

Hidden Gem Colleges in the Southwest US | 2023 Rankings

Top Southwest Hidden Gems Colleges

Vast deserts, sprawling cities, deep canyons, and rugged mountains, all make up the landscape of the Southwest region. Many of the colleges in the area are as excellent as the geography is dynamic. We wanted to highlight some of the lesser-known Southwest colleges that deserve attention. To qualify as a Hidden Gem, a school must …

Hidden Gem Colleges in the Far West US | 2023 Rankings

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From sunny beaches to snowy mountains to rainy coasts, there is perhaps no region in the US more diverse than the Far West. In addition to a variety of landscapes, the Far West is home to a variety of schools. With all there is to see, you don’t want to miss out on these incredible …