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100 Best Small Colleges
Top Consensus Ranked Schools 2018

August 27, 2018 Best Small Colleges Consensus Ranked

With our Top Consensus ranking of the Best Small Colleges, College Consensus turns the focus on the little guys – schools with 2000 students or less. The best small colleges in the US are not small in reputation, and they’re not small in influence; in fact, some of the best small colleges in America are also among the most exceptional, with national and international recognition for their overall excellence. The Best Small Colleges ranking gives prospective students and their families a rigorous and full look at their options. Whatever the reason – small class sizes, personalized attention, close-knit student bodies, or safety in small numbers – students can trust the College Consensus to give a list of small colleges that rank the highest across the board.

The Best Small Colleges are listed in descending order according to their College Consensus Score. Ties are ordered alphabetically.

1

Amherst College

84.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
85.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
83
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,849

2

Pomona College

84
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
84.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
83.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,563

3

Bowdoin College

83.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
86
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,806

4

Claremont McKenna College

82.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
81.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
84.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,347

5

Washington and Lee University

80.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
78.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
83.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,830

6

Harvey Mudd College

80.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
80
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
842

7

Bates College

80.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
77.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
82.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,780

8

Swarthmore College

79.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
84
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,543

9

Hamilton College

79.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
79.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,883

10

Haverford College

78.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
79.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,268

11

Davidson College

78.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
78.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,796

12

California Institute of Technology

78.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
82.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
979

13

Scripps College

77.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
71.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
84.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,039

14

Bryn Mawr College

77.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
74.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,381

15

Colby College

77.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
77.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,879

16

Grinnell College

76.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
75.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,699

17

Whitman College

75.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
69.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,493

18

Cottey College

75.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
71
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
288

19

Kenyon College

75.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
73.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,708

20

Pitzer College

75.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
69.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,062

21

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

74.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
85.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
63.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
876

22

Reed College

73.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
65.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,410

23

St John’s College

73
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
64.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
434

24

Connecticut College

72.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
70.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,865

25

Wofford College

72.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
62.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
82.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,683

26

Occidental College

72.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
68.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,969

26

Rhode Island School of Design

72.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
68
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,999

28

Sewanee-The University of the South

72.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
69
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,731

29

Texas Lutheran University

71.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
72.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,279

30

Wabash College

71.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
62
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
842

31

William Jessup University

70.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
67.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,165

32

Rhodes College

70.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
66.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,999

33

Centre College

70.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
66.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,430

34

Augustana University

70.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
61.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
79
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,665

34

Thomas Aquinas College

70.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
59.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
386

36

Kalamazoo College

69.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
65.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,443

36

United States Merchant Marine Academy

69.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
71.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
904

38

Lawrence University

69.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
64
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,528

38

Bennington College

69.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
79.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
711

40

Northwestern College

69.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,091

41

Knox College

68.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,359

41

University of Mobile

68.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,376

43

Sarah Lawrence College

68.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
64.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,438

44

Hendrix College

68.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
58.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,321

45

Beloit College

68.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
61.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,394

46

University of St Francis

68.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,620

47

St Bonaventure University

68
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,652

47

Millsaps College

68
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
802

47

Huntingdon College

68
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
79
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,148

50

College of Saint Benedict

67.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
79.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,958

50

Willamette University

67.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,997

52

College of the Ozarks

67.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
67.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
67.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,517

52

Arizona Christian University

67.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
820

54

Bard College

67.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
64
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,970

54

Saint Johns University

67.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,754

54

Howard Payne University

67.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,098

57

Kentucky Wesleyan College

67.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
59
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
785

57

MidAmerica Nazarene University

67.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
53
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,309

59

Carroll College

67.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
63.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
70.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,380

60

Hampden-Sydney College

67.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
79.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,027

60

Nebraska Wesleyan University

67.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,816

60

Allegheny College

67.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
58.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,920

60

Earlham College

67.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
61.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,031

64

Loras College

67
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
64.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,463

64

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

67
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
690

66

Saint Michael’s College

66.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,902

67

Juniata College

66.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,568

68

University of Dallas

66.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,407

69

St Mary’s College of Maryland

66.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
58
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,598

70

Southwestern University

66.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,489

70

Goshen College

66.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
63.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
800

72

Dakota Wesleyan University

66.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
81
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
879

73

Simmons College

66.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
62.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,781

73

Franklin College

66.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
83
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,015

73

St. John’s College

66.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
326

76

Ouachita Baptist University

66
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
83
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,493

76

Manchester University

66
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,272

76

McMurry University

66
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,073

76

San Diego Christian College

66
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
695

80

Wheaton College (MA)

65.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,651

81

Asbury University

65.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,640

82

Eastern Mennonite University

65.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,259

83

Marietta College

65.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
58.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,144

83

Westmont College

65.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,277

85

Austin College

65.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,262

85

Agnes Scott College

65.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
58
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
927

85

Bluffton University

65.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
865

85

Columbia International University

65.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
59
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
497

89

Virginia Military Institute

65.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,713

89

Bethel College-Indiana

65.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,388

89

Bryan College-Dayton

65.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
53.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,349

89

New College of Florida

65.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
861

93

Linfield College-McMinnville Campus

65.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,632

93

Oklahoma Baptist University

65.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
58.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,960

93

Barton College

65.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
59
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
988

93

Grace College and Theological Seminary

65.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
50
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,901

97

University of Jamestown

65.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
955

98

Huntington University

65
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
53
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
996

98

Adrian College

65
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,653

98

Wartburg College

65
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
52.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018
All Students Enrolled (Undergraduate Total)
1,482

Why Choose a Small College? Academics and Culture

First and foremost, there’s a strong argument to be made for the academic advantages of a small college. Time and again, studies have shown that people learn more effectively in small classes; it’s a fact that the top small universities have been touting for years. While, in a large university, you may find yourself in a gigantic lecture hall with hundreds of other students, too far away to even make out the professor’s facial expression, in a small college you’re likely to take classes with just a handful of people. That closeness means you get to know your classmates and instructors well, engaging in meaningful discussion and having the opportunity to have your questions answered directly.

Small classes at a small college also means a small student:faculty ratio – the number of students per faculty member. A professor at a large university can’t get to know all of her students closely, much less work with them one-on-one; but at a small college, where they may be just 10-12 students for every professor, there’s a greater opportunity for mentorship, guidance, and connection. In a small college, you’re far more likely to have to chance, for instance, to work alongside a faculty member on a research project, or to find a professor who can give you personalized attention and help.

The culture of a small college is entirely different from the culture of a large college, too. That doesn’t mean that the best small colleges don’t have their rabid sports rivalries, or riotous fraternity parties (they definitely do). What it means is that it’s much easier to form a close-knit community, one where students feel connected to the whole student body rather than just their clique or in-group. Small colleges can have other benefits, as well; with a small student body, they can pay more attention to amenities, so some of the best small colleges also offer the best college dining halls and the best college dorms in the nation. At a large college, students can often feel disconnected and lost; at a small college, students can feel more connected. A large university is where you go to school; a small college is where you live.

How Do We Rank the Best Small Colleges?

College Consensus isn’t like any other college ranking agency out there. Bringing together the rankings of reputable sites like U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, with the most trustworthy student review sites on the internet (including Niche, Cappex, and Unigo), College Consensus works to get the full picture. Instead of just focusing on one set of data, College Consensus is an aggregate ranking, combining all of a given school’s published rankings for the Publisher Ranking, and adding in the testimony of students for the Student Rating. From those two numbers, we create the Consensus Rating, which we then use to rank schools in all sorts of combinations.

Our criteria for selecting the Best Small Colleges is fairly simple: these are the colleges and universities throughout the US that have student bodies of 2000 or less. That’s an arbitrary cutoff, sure; plenty of large colleges are proud of their ability to give students an experience like a small college, and there’s no particular reason a school with 2000 students is any different than a school with 3000 students. But the essential thing here isn’t how many students there are – it’s how the top small universities serve students in a special way. The Top Consensus Ranked Small Colleges put students first, providing the traditional college experience that leaves fond memories, lifelong friendships, and a sense of alumni pride that carries through for your 50th-anniversary reunion and beyond.

What’s Different About the College Consensus Ranking?

While other rankings take the narrow view – whether it’s strictly surveys of faculty, or reams of cold, hard data, or the perspective of students – College Consensus is the only college ranking organization that looks at the full range of published rankings and student reviews. That means we take all voices seriously, from the impartial experts to the students experiencing the real world of college on the ground. Other methods give an advantage to certain kinds of schools, especially the ones with the biggest marketing budgets and the most famous names, but College Consensus is interested in getting the fullest picture possible. Read more about our ranking methodology and sources on our about page.