To identify the Best Colleges in Maine for 2020 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in Maine anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
If you’re interested in online-based schools, check out our ranking of the Best Online Colleges in Maine. You can also find out more about college financial aid with our list of the Top Maine Scholarships.
Bowdoin CollegeBrunswick, ME
Bates CollegeLewiston, ME
Colby CollegeWaterville, ME
Maine Maritime AcademyCastine, ME
Stephen King hasn’t done Maine any favors, with most of his horror novels set in (or at least referencing) the fictional town of Derry, ME. On the other hand, maybe he has, because few other major authors have spent so much attention, and so lovingly detailed, the unique culture of Maine. Stephen King tourism is a cottage industry in the Pine Tree State, as attractive to visitors as the stunning mountains, skiing, rafting, and other Maine attractions.
It says a lot about Maine, really; most Americans don’t think much about it, perched so far north that it’s practically Canada, but it’s always there, if just as an example of how many facets there are to the United States. The best colleges in Maine certainly know it; they’re few in number, and small in student body, and pretty unassuming, but each one is extraordinary in its own way.
Talking the Best Colleges in Maine
The best colleges and universities in Maine are a diverse, highly innovative and idiosyncratic group, made up of public research and regional institutions, pioneering liberal arts colleges, and highly specialized, experimental and experiential institutions that cause experts to reconsider how higher education should look. Maine’s best colleges aren’t many in number, but they are mighty in reputation and acclaim, including some of the best regional institutions in the North among their number. Taken all together, Maine’s best colleges and universities represent the best of New England’s farthest reaches.
Maine, of course, is part of New England, and if New England is known for anything, it’s world-class liberal arts colleges, and Maine is no exception. Many of Maine’s best colleges rank alongside the best national liberal arts colleges, as well as the best small colleges in the US. Institutions like Bowdoin College, Bates College, and Colby College have reputations that place them in the company of the Ivy League, and histories that count them as some of the most pioneering institutions in the nation for women and minorities.
Maine’s colleges are renowned for their student life as well. Bowdoin, for example, is ranked for some of the best college dorms in America, and for some of the best college dining as well (think lobster). Bates ranks as one of the best mountain colleges in the US, while Colby has been recognized for one of the best campus recreation centers.
The College of the Atlantic has also pioneered, representing one of the first colleges in America to focus entirely on sustainability and the environment, (part of the reason College of the Atlantic is recognized as one of the best beach colleges in America). The University of New England, on the other hand, is home to Maine’s only medical school, and has earned a reputation not only for excellence, but ethical responsibility. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine stands beside the best Catholic colleges in the US, with a dedication to faith, learning, and service.
Maine’s only public research university, the University of Maine is the flagship of a strong public higher education system that includes a unique bilingual French-English institution at Fort Kent, in the Saint John Valley. Ranked one of the most affordable colleges in the US, UM at Fort Kent may well perfectly sum up the contradictions and unique character of Maine; it was founded to Americanize the French Canadian settlers of the Saint John Valley, including teaching them English, but instead became the central institution in the vibrant hybrid culture of the region. That’s Maine in a nutshell: stubbornly idiosyncratic, but never anything less than welcoming and hospitable.
What Does the Future Hold for the Best Colleges in Maine?
Unlike a lot of other states, Maine doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to change, and really, why should they? They’ve got a good thing going, and its doesn’t take a genius to know you don’t want to rock the boat in Maine’s frigid waters. Population, economy – they’ve been stable for decades now. So you do you, Maine, and keep up the good work; some of the best colleges and universities in the US will keep you on the straight and narrow.