20 Best Colleges in Connecticut

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Small but mighty, the state of Connecticut is committed to educational advancement and access, and has proven this commitment in many tangible ways.

Perhaps most notable is the Governor’s Scholarship Program (GSP), which awards students up to $5,000 to help them afford school. And that they’ve done: in the last few years alone the state has awarded over $42 million to students in financial need.

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Top 10 Best Colleges in Connecticut

Rank School Location
1 Yale University New Haven, CT
2 Wesleyan University Middletown, CT
3 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
4 Trinity College Hartford, CT
5 Connecticut College New London, CT
6 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
7 Central Connecticut State University New Britain, CT
8 Western Connecticut State University Danbury, CT
9 University of Connecticut-Stamford Stamford, CT
10 University of Bridgeport Bridgeport, CT

Other initiatives the state has undertook to promote education across class, race, and gender lines, is the Minority Teacher Incentive Grant Program, which again provides up to $5,000 a year for students looking to teach within the state after graduation. It also assists with loan repayment for those who acquire teaching positions. There are also excellent options with the Top Online Colleges in Connecticut. Thus, Connecticut’s desire for an educated, successful population is clearly reflected in their allocation of funds, the array of financial and educational options they offer, and in their legislative actions.

Best Colleges in Connecticut Badge

What are the Best Colleges and Universities in Connecticut?

The east coast liberal arts and research scene is strong in Connecticut and reflected in the state’s higher education institutions. Of all the colleges, universities, and tech schools that pock the state, these below are hands down the best of the best. We know because we’ve thoroughly investigated key data from schools across the state to arrive at a definitive list of Connecticut’s strongest, most affordable, and most renowned universities and colleges. First we examined each school’s retention rates (a reflection of student satisfaction), then considered tuition costs, the emphasis on student development, and the academic reputation of each university, college, and tech school. What we’ve found is a list of Connecticut schools that ensure your academic experience and personal, professional formation. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Yale University
    Location

    New Haven, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Yale University was founded in 1701 named after Elihu Yale, a Welsh Merchant, who donated proceeds to the college. It is the third oldest higher education institution in the United States. Today, Yale is in New Haven, Connecticut, on 343 acres of land 90 minutes from New York City. It serves as an Ivy League university that offers a first-class educational experience and large research university capabilities.

    Features

    Yale University offers over 2,000 courses and 81 majors for 5,453 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 6-to-1 and more than 70% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside of the classrooms, students have over 500 student groups and organizations to join: intramurals, music groups, cultural associations and social activities including NCAA I games. Top majors include:

    • Economics
    • Political Science & Government
    • History
    • Cellular & Molecular Biology
    • Psychology

    Notables

    It is important to note that Yale has an extremely high freshman retention rate: over 99% of the freshman class return for their sophomore year. The University attributes that to a highly-social, close-knit student body, small student-faculty ratio and cultural resources on campus. However, it could be because of the well-known rivalry with Harvard University, or the Yale mascot, Handsome Dan, or the fact that their performing art programs assist in creating an inclusive atmosphere where everyone is welcomed regardless of their expertise.

  2. Wesleyan University
    Location

    Middletown, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Wesleyan University was founded in 1831 by Methodist leaders who named it after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. In 1937, the school became independent from the Methodist conference. Today, the university has 316 acres in Middletown, Connecticut, and is one of the oldest of the original Methodist institutions of higher education in the United States. It is still considered a historic Methodist location that has a highly selective, academically rigorous liberal arts school. As one of the Little Ivies, Wesleyan continues to distinguish itself with selecting creative, easygoing students.

    Features

    Wesleyan University supports the educational pursuits of nearly 2,900 undergraduate students with over 45 majors, 14 minors, 12 certificates, and more than 1,000 courses. Outside of the classroom, students can enjoy NCAA Division III games and over 200 student organizations. Despite their growth, Wesleyan maintains a student-faculty ratio of 8-to-1 and over 70% of the courses have less than 20 students. Freshmen are required to live on campus; however, almost 100% of the upperclassmen live on campus as well. Top majors include:

    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Political Science & Government
    • Biology & Biological Sciences
    • Physiological Psychology & Psychobiology

    Notables

    The university has been able to focus both on the hard sciences, the arts and sports. For example, the university is known for its five-year BA/MA program in the sciences and their Quantitative Analysis Center, which enables collaboration between departments through data analysis. However, their rich connection to the arts has developed great actors and actresses such as the Broadway Show creator and Star in Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

  3. University of Connecticut
    Location

    Storrs, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Connecticut was founded in the late 1880s when Brothers Charles and Augustus Storrs donated land that contained a former orphanage, 170 acres of farmland, few barns and $6,000 to start an agricultural school in Storrs, Connecticut. Today, it is one of the top 20 public universities in the nation. The University of Connecticut is the flagship institution for the University of Connecticut System It is a land grant, sea grant and space grant research university on 4,400 acres with five regional campuses throughout Connecticut. The main campus is a half-hour drive from Harford, an hour from Providence, Rhode Island, and 90 minutes from Boston.

    Features

    The nearly 19,000 undergraduate students pursue over 120 undergraduate degrees and then can come back to complete one of 17 graduate degrees or five professional degree programs. At this rural main campus, students might not have a lot to do in the area; but, on campus, the students can engage with over 450 student clubs, Greek Life or intramurals. There is also an on-campus movie theatre and ice rink. While there is no requirement for freshmen to live on campus, over 70% do. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 17-to-1 and the school has over 50% of its classes with less than 20 students. Top majors include:

    • Business
    • Health Professions
    • Social Sciences
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    • Engineering

    Notables

    University of Connecticut is one of only two institutions nationwide to offer a puppetry degree and have an exclusive educational partnership with the Metropolitan Opera. While the university does have a passion for the arts, it is also designated a n R-1 Highest Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Classification of institutions of Higher Education. Because of its unique combination between the arts and hard sciences, it is known as one of the “Public Ivies”.

  4. Trinity College
    Location

    Hartford, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Trinity College was founded in 1823 in Hartford, Connecticut. It is the 2nd oldest Connecticut college with a tradition of independence. Trinity College is a private institution with a campus size of 100 acres that pairs a classic approach of collegiate excellence with modern research and urban-global perspective. Trinity is located 2 hours from Boston and New York City.

    Features

    Today, Trinity College supports the academic pursuits of 2,289 undergraduate students pursing one of their 39 majors. Inside the classroom, over 73% of the classes have less than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio is 9-to-1. Outside of the classroom, students are encouraged to join one of the 100 student organizations or attend one of the NCAA Division II games or participate in one of the 15 intramural sport programs. The most popular majors at Trinity College include:

    • Economics
    • English Language & Literature
    • History
    • Political Science & Government
    • Psychology

    Notables

    Trinity College has a varied history of traditions ranging from the Matriculation Tradition to the Lemon Squeezer to The Luther-Roosevelt Long Walk Inscription. The Matriculation Tradition is part of the freshman experience with the students signing a pledge first penned in 1826. The Lemon Squeezer tradition today includes lemonade for all but back in the day included a free-for-all that had one 1896 classman galloping away with the squeezer. The Luther-Roosevelt Long Walk Inscription is not something you walk on until graduation. Ask your tour guide for more information when you arrive on campus!

  5. Connecticut College
    Location

    New London, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Connecticut College was founded in 1911 in response to Wesleyan University’s decision to stop admitting women. The outcry was so pronounced that city of New London, its residents, and several wealthy benefactors started Connecticut College’s initial endowment. This women’s college became co-ed in 1969 – incidentally just before Wesleyan University became co-ed as well. Today, Connecticut College is a 750-acre arboretum in the seaport community of New London, Connecticut on a former dairy farm owned by Charles P. Alexander. The campus overlooks the Thames River and the Long Island Sound. It’s a 15-minute drive to the Mystic Seaport maritime museum, an hour drive to Providence, Rhode Island, 2-hours to Boston and three hours to New York City.

    Features

    Connecticut College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,918 students pursuing one of 56 majors. Inside the classroom, the average class size is 18 students and a 9-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Almost 70% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students can join over 80 clubs or start their own. However, there is no Greek residential life on campus. The top majors at Connecticut College include:

    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Biology & Biological Sciences
    • Political Science & Government
    • International Relations & Affairs.

    Notables

    Connecticut College has a highly regarded academic standard and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Annapolis Group, As part of their academic rigor, students are required to take at least one creative arts class and at least two semesters of a foreign language course. It is also strongly encouraged for students to live on campus and participate in a college-funded summer internship either in the United States or abroad.

  6. Quinnipiac University
    Location

    Hamden, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Quinnipiac University was founded in 1929 by Samuel W. Tator, a business professor and politician, as a junior college of commerce to fill the void left by Northeastern University abandoning the New Haven, Connecticut, campus at the onset of the Great Depression. The institution was named after the Quinnipiac Indian tribe that once lived in New Haven. Today, Quinnipiac University has three campuses in Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut. The 600-acre main campus is adjacent to the 1,700 acre Sleeping Giant State Park and maintains an extensive campus shuttle system which brings students to nearby shopping, restaurants, museums, and the New Haven train station with access to Metro North and Amtrak and between the Mt. Carmel and York Hill campus locations.

    Features

    Quinnipiac University has almost 7,000 undergraduates attending their campuses. Quinnipiac students can choose from more than 100 degree programs and more than 20 graduate degrees. Outside the classroom, students can explore about a dozen fraternities and sororities, more than 150 student organizations or the numerous campus events planned by the Student Programming. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 16-to-1 and over 50% of their classes with less than 20 students. Top programs include:

    • Health Professions
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Social Sciences

    Notables

    Quinnipiac curriculum is based on market-driven knowledge and expertise. This means that the university has developed accelerated and dual-degree programs such as a 3+3 BA/JD degree, a 3+1 BS/MBA, joint J.D./MBA program, a 6-year doctor of physical therapy, and many flexible online programs delivered through Quinnipiac University Online. This is possible because Quinnipiac keeps in touch with current needs in today’s active global economy and is personally involved with the students that call Quinnipiac home.

  7. Central Connecticut State University
    Location

    New Britain, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) was founded 1849 as a teacher-training facility and the oldest publicly supported institution of higher education. In recognition of the institution’s continuous development in mission and aspiration, the present name and educational charter were conferred in 1983. CCSU is the largest of four comprehensive universities within the Connecticut State University System. Today, it’s main campus has 314 acres and over 40 buildings in New Britain, Connecticut.

    Features

    CCSU offers undergraduate and graduate programs to 9,538 undergrads. There are over 100 majors in more than 80 undergraduate fields of study 41 academic fields. The school participates in NCAA Division I sports. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 15-to-1 and over 40% of the classes have less than 20 students. Top majors include:

    • Business
    • Marketing
    • Social Sciences
    • Education
    • Psychology

    Notables

    Central Connecticut State University prides itself on its contributing to the intellectual, cultural and economic health of the state and region. CCSU is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S.A. and Canada. It is regularly recognized by the Princeton Review for its green thumb. The state of Connecticut enjoys the fact that over 85% of the CCSU graduates remain in Connecticut. Overall it is committed to being a distinctive academic and continuing education resource for the state capitol region.

  8. Western Connecticut State University
    Location

    Danbury, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Western Connecticut State University was founded in 1903 in Danbury, Connecticut. Today, Western has outstanding Fine Arts and Professional Programs on two campuses: A 34-acre main campus in downtown Danbury called Mid-town and a 364-acre campus called Westside. Westside is just three miles away from Midtown. Both campuses are just 90 minutes from New York City! Regardless of how many campuses, Western has a small town, community atmosphere.

    Features

    Western Connecticut State University has over 5,000 undergraduate students. There are over 38 undergraduate programs. Inside the classroom, students have about 38% of their classes with less than 20 students and a student-faculty ratio of 12-to-1. The school competes in NCAA III sports. Nearly 70% live off campus. Top Majors include:

    • Business
    • Health Professions
    • Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting & Related Protective Services
    • Psychology.

    Notables

    Western Connecticut State University is known for their Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies. The center was founded nearly 20 years ago and serves the community as a unique partnership between WCSU and The Jane Goodall Institute. This partnership enables both to share resources and research capabilities to further wildlife research, education and conservation. The center often offers interdisciplinary events, programs, classes and workshops to further The Jane Goodall Institute’s core values.

  9. University of Connecticut-Stamford
    Location

    Stamford, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Connecticut-Stamford was founded in 1951 in Stamford, Connecticut to provide education for GIs returning from the Korean War. By the mid-1970s, a separate library building was added and the academic programs began offering 4-year degrees. In the 1990s, University of Connecticut – Stamford Campus was in the heart of downtown Stamford building corporate partnerships with local Fortune 500 businesses.

    Features

    Today, University of Connecticut is an independent, non-sectarian institution that offers 10 undergraduate majors and several graduate degrees. Inside the classroom, 1,069 undergraduate students can have direct access to faculty with a 17 to 1 student-faculty ratio. If the 10 local degrees are not what you want to pursue, students can connect with one of the 100 degree plans offered through the University of Connecticut system – but you will have to transfer to Storrs campus to complete their degree. Top programs include:

    • Business
    • Digital Media & Design
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Economics

    Notables

    Starting in 2017, students have the option to live in one of their new residence halls. The residences are located just 2 blocks south of the campus and each apartment includes a fully furnished apartment includes everything you need: furniture, kitchen equipment and a washer and dryer. Outside the apartments, there are study spaces on each floor as well as parking and recreation rooms.

  10. University of Bridgeport
    Location

    Bridgeport, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Bridgeport is a private institution founded in 1927 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It is located near the Long Island Sound as a seaside institution. The founder, E. Everett Cortright, believed that equal access to education was necessary for national success. It initially started as the first junior college in New England. However, due to the need, the college expanded rapidly into a university, complete with residential housing and courses like Hungarian and aeronautics. Today, the University of Bridgeport remains true to its original endeavors – equal opportunity for education for all.

    Features

    The University of Bridgeport is a private four-year institution known for its diversity in the campus community and in its academic programs. The university offers 125 career-orientated programs along with over 50 student clubs, Greek Life and intramural sports. Besides getting involved with athletics, students can spend their time visiting the expansive Beardsley Park, the state’s only zoo, or off-campus attractions like theaters, museums and shops. Inside the classroom, students have nearly 70% of their classes with less than 20 students and a direct connection with their faculty – as the student-faculty ratio is 16-to-1. The top majors include:

    • Business & Commerce
    • Psychology
    • Dental Hygienist
    • Public Administration
    • Social Service Professions

    Notables

    According to U.S. News and World Report, the University of Bridgeport ranks among the top 50 in each of the following areas:

    • 3rd highest in the region for percentage of international students.
    • 17th highest in the region for most ethnically diverse student body.
    • 24th highest in the region for amount of need-based aid awarded.
    • 43rd in the region for smallest class sizes (percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students).

    It’s a great institution to enjoy the diversity of ideas and interact with others on a global level.

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