Our ranking of the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges are based exclusively on factors actual college freshmen said were most important to their college decision.

According to the most recent nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, these factors include academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost, and success of graduates in the post-college job market. Each of these factors were weighted equally in our ranking, and data was derived from a variety of publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.com.

Looking for the prestige of a strong college, but the flexibility of an online degree? Then look no further than the College Choice list of the best online schools, which can get you the ease and affordability you’re looking for alongside the quality of the best colleges.

 

50
Furman University

Furman University

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Through a rigorous program of independent study, close work with professors, and opportunities to implement community service and study abroad, Furman has emerged as a leader among liberal arts colleges. Located in Greenville, SC, on a picturesque campus with its own lake, Furman is home to 2,798 students. Furman boasts a student/faculty ratio of 11:1, 53.3 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 89.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Furman University total $44,668 and the average starting pay for graduates is $44,400.

Academic reputation score: 68
Average financial aid: $23,041
Average net price: $32,527
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
49
Rhodes College
Rhodes College

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Located on 100 acres just outside of Memphis, TN, Rhodes College is home to 2,027 students. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Business, English Language and Literature, and Physical Sciences. With a student/faculty ratio of 10:1 and with 67.8 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Rhodes enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Rhodes College total $41,572 per year, though only 35.7 percent of students had their financial needs met in full through financial aid.

Academic reputation score: 67
Average financial aid: $23,119
Average net price: $27,755
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
48
Lawrence University
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Lawrence University is known for its commitment to the development of both intellect and talent, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the cultivation of judgment and values. Located on 84 acres in Appleton, WI, Lawrence is home to 1,555  students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 9:1, class sizes are small, with 76,2 percent having less than 20 students, and Lawrence has an 88.8 percent freshman retention. Lawrence accepts 72.7 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $42,657 per year.

Academic reputation score: 64
Average financial aid: $23,183
Average net price: $27,387
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

 

47
Wofford College
Wofford College

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Known for its academic strength in the sciences, Wofford College is also respected for programs in business and finance. A United Methodist school, located on 170 tree-lined acres in Spartanburg, SC, Wofford is home to 1,584 students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 11:1, class sizes are small, with 58.4 percent having less than 20 students, and Wofford has a 89 percent freshman retention. The college accepts 68.8 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $37,120 per year.

Academic reputation score: 59
Average financial aid: $24,757
Average net price: $23,181
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
46
St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College

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St. Olaf College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $41,700 per year, and 78 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. St. Olaf offers an education that blends the rigor of the liberal arts with the vibrant Lutheran faith tradition. St. Olaf has a student/faculty ratio of 12:1, and 54 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 3,125 students, 93.5 percent returned for their second year and 83 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from St. Olaf College is $41,700.

Academic reputation score: 67
Average financial aid: $23,635
Average net price: $26,915
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
45
Oberlin College
Oberlin College

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Oberlin College was founded in 1833, and sits on 440 acres southwest of Cleveland, OH in the small town of Oberlin. Priding itself on it’s progressive history—Oberlin was the first school in the nation to implement policies to admit students regardless of race and to grant degrees to women alongside men—Oberlin is now at the forefront of shaping an environmentally sustainable campus through local food purchases, carbon-neutral energy policies, and green building practices. Oberlin is home to 2,894 students, who enjoy a low student/faculty ratio of 9:1. Oberlin only accepts a 30.4 percent of its applicants, 93.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Oberlin College total $48,682 per year.

Academic reputation score: 82
Average financial aid: $22,317
Average net price: $37,366
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
44
St. Lawrence University
St. Lawrence University

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In recent years, St. Lawrence University has undergone an educational renaissance, implementing new academic initiatives and improving major facilities throughout campus, especially in the arts and sciences. Located in the small town of Canton, NY, St. Lawrence is home to 2,414 students. St. Lawrence boasts a student/faculty ratio of 12:1, 63.7 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 91.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at St. Lawrence University total $47,696 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $44,700.

Academic reputation score: 65
Average financial aid: $27,793
Average net price: $29,654
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
43
DePauw University
Depauw College

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Located on 655 acres in Greencastle, IN, DePauw University is home to 2,304 students. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, English Language and Literature, and Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics. With a student/faculty ratio of 10:1 and with 64.8 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at DePauw enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at DePauw University total $42,746 per year, though only 26.5 percent of students had their financial needs met in full through financial aid.

Academic reputation score: 68
Average financial aid: $22,629
Average net price: $28,421
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
42
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College

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Mount Holyoke College was the first of the Seven Sisters colleges, the female equivalent of the formerly all-male Ivy League. Mount Holyoke is distinguished for integrating a rigorous liberal arts education with career experience. Located in the culturally and intellectually vibrant region of South Hadley, MA, Mount Holyoke is home to 2,183 female students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 10:1, class sizes are quite small, with 65.5 percent having less than 20 students, and Mount Holyoke has a 91 percent freshman retention. The college accepts 46.8 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $42,656 per year.

Academic reputation score: 73
Average financial aid: $26,015
Average net price: $29,481
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
41
Dickinson College
Dickinson College

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Dickinson College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $47,692 per year, and 61.4 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Dickinson offers a wide range of innovative programs from neuroscience to security studies, and develops intellectual independence in its students by actively engaging in research, fieldwork, and lab work. Dickinson has a student/faculty ratio of 9:1, and 76.3 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 2,396 students, 90.3 percent returned for their second year and 83 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Dickinson College is $44,400.

Academic reputation score: 74
Average financial aid: $25,686
Average net price: $32,461
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
40
Union College

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Union College was founded in 1795 and sits on 100 acres in Schenectady, NY. All freshman are assigned to one of the college’s “Minerva Houses” that offer a rich academic and social community. Union is home to 2,246 students, who enjoy small classes (72.4 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 10:1. Union only accepts 37.3 percent of its applicants, 93.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Union total $48,384 per year, and 98.1 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 73
Average financial aid: $23,211
Average net price: $34,828
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
39
Denison University
Denison College

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An education at Denison University is distinguished by its hand-crafted, interactive, highly interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Located in the small town of Granville, OH, Denison is home to 2,274 students. Denison boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 9:1, 73.2 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 90 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Denison total $45,670 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $46,500.

Academic reputation score: 68
Average financial aid: $26,283
Average net price: $28,207
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
38
Gettysburg College
Gettysburg College

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Located on 230 acres in Gettysburg, PA, Gettysburg College is home to 2,533  students. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Biology, Business, English Language and Literature, and History. With a student/faculty ratio of 10:1 and with 68.2 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Gettysburg enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Gettysburg College total $47,480 per year and 87.9 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 70
Average financial aid: $26,546
Average net price: $29,224
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
37
Virginia Military Institute
2013 Presidential Inauguration

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Virginia Military Institute combines a full college curriculum within a regimen of military discipline that emphasizes the qualities of honor, integrity, and responsibility. Located in Lexington, VA, Virginia Military Institute is home to 1,675 students, or cadets. The student/faculty ratio is a small 12:1, class sizes are quite small, with 63.6 percent having less than 20 students, and Virginia Military Institute has a 84 percent freshman retention. The Institute accepts 47.8 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $37,574 per year.

Academic reputation score: 62
Average financial aid: $11,634
Average net price: $16,633
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
36
Occidental College
Occidental College

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Occidental College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $47,522 per year, and 99.8 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Occidental is at the forefront of interdisciplinary, intercultural education that integrates the classroom with community-based learning. Occidental has a student/faculty ratio of 10:1, and 57.8 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 2,128 students, 92.8 percent returned for their second year and 83 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Occidental College is $45,600.

Academic reputation score: 72
Average financial aid: $30,929
Average net price: $29,726
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
35
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College

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Bryn Mawr College was founded in 1885 and sits on 135 acres in suburban outskirts of Philadelphia, PA. An all women’s college, it is home to 1,328 students, who enjoy small classes (75.4 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a very low student/faculty ratio of 8:1. Bryn Mawr only accepts 39.9 percent of its applicants, 91 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Bryn Mawr total $45,540 per year, and 99.2 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 80
Average financial aid: $27,544
Average net price: $30,042
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
34
Kenyon College
Kenyon college

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Kenyon College is noted for its exceptionally strong programs in English, the sciences, and drama. Located in the small town of Gambier, OH, Kenyon is home to 1,705  students. Kenyon boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 10:1, 67 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 94 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Kenyon total $47,330 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $46,400.

Academic reputation score: 79
Average financial aid: $28,317
Average net price: $29,593
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
33

Connecticut College

Connecticut College

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Located on 750 acres in New London, CT, Connecticut College is home to 1,915  students. The most popular areas of study at the college are Economics, Biology, Psychology, and International Relations and National Security Studies, and Political Science. With a student/faculty ratio of 9:1 and with 66 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Connecticut enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Connecticut College total $47,740 per year and 71.9 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 71
Average financial aid: $32,953
Average net price: $25,737
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
32
Reed College
Reed College

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Reed College does things a bit differently. There is no Greek system, no varsity sports, and professors will only inform a student of her grade if it falls below a C. Located in Portland, OR, Reed is home to 1,394 undergraduate students. Reed College was ranked highly in two key categories by The Princeton Review in 2014: #1 in “Best Classroom Experience,” and #2 in “Professors Get High Marks.”  The college only accepts 48.5 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $46,010 per year.

Academic reputation score: 59
Average financial aid: $38,280
Average net price: $19,424
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
31
Carleton College
Carleton College

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Carleton College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $47,736 per year, and 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Carleton offers 33 majors and 15 concentrations in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Carleton has a student/faculty ratio of 9:1, and 66 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 2,045 students, 97 percent returned for their second year and 90 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Carleton College is $43,700.

Academic reputation score: 90
Average financial aid: $26,081
Average net price: $32,194
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
30
Skidmore College
Skidmore College

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Skidmore College was founded in 1903 and sits upon 890 acres in Saratoga Springs, NY. It is home to 2,684 students, who enjoy small classes (72.9 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 9:1. Skidmore only accepts 35.1 percent of its applicants, 93.5 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Skidmore total $47,314 per year, and 91 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 74
Average financial aid: $36,033
Average net price: $22,529
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
29
Colorado College
Colorado College

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Colorado College desires for its students to “live their learning,” which is accomplished through its Block Program that allows concentrated and uninterrupted focus upon one subject. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, CO, it is home to 2,040  students. Colorado boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 10:1, 64.4 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 95.8 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Colorado total $46,410 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $43,900.

Academic reputation score: 80
Average financial aid: $29,674
Average net price: $24,526
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
28
Macalester College
Macalester College

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Located within a 10-minute drive from both downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, Macalester College is home to 2,039  students. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies, and English Language and Literature. With a student/faculty ratio of 10:1 and with 71.2 percent of its classes having less than 20 students, students at Macalester enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Macalester College total $47,195 per year and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 81
Average financial aid: $31,395
Average net price: $23,998
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
27
College of the Holy Cross
O'Kane Hall, Holy Cross, on a foggy Worcester morning.

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The College of the Holy Cross is the only nationally ranked liberal arts college grounded in a Catholic, Jesuit identity. Located in Worcester, the second largest city in New England, Holy Cross is home to 2,912  undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 10:1, class sizes are quite small, with 64.6 percent having less than 20 students, and Holy Cross has a 94.8 percent freshman retention. The college only accepts 33 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $45,692 per year.

Academic reputation score: 76
Average financial aid: $31,317
Average net price: $25,387
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
26
Bucknell University
Bucknell College

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Bucknell University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $48,498 per year, and 91.8 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Bucknell encourages mentorship between faculty and students, which helps to create a thriving academic community. Bucknell has a student/faculty ratio of 9:1, and 58 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 3,532 students, 94.3 percent returned for their second year and 87 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Bucknell University is $56,800.

Academic reputation score: 78
Average financial aid: $27,618
Average net price: $31,472
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
25
Grinnell College
Grinnell College

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Grinnell College was founded in 1846, and sits upon 120 acres in Grinnell, IA, halfway between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. It is home to 1,721 students, who enjoy small classes (68.4 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 9:1. Grinnell only accepts a 35.1 percent of its applicants, 93.5 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Grinnell total $45,620 per year, and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 84
Average financial aid: $29,984
Average net price: $23,334
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
24
Franklin & Marshall College
Franklin & Marshall

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Franklin & Marshall College aims to inspire in its diverse student body a genuine and enduring love for learning. Located in Lancaster, PA, it is home to 2,297 students. Franklin & Marshall boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 9:1, 62.9 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 92.8 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Franklin & Marshall total $48,514 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $46,300.

Academic reputation score: 74
Average financial aid: $36,264
Average net price: $22,258
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
23
Barnard College
Barnard College

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Located in Upper Westside of Manhattan on the campus of Columbia University, Barnard College is home to 2,489  students, 100 percent of whom are female. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Psychology, English Language and Literature, Visual and Performing Arts, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. With a student/faculty ratio of 10:1 and with 73.1 percent of its classes having less than 20 students, students at Barnard enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Barnard College total $46,040 per year and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 78
Average financial aid: $35,739
Average net price: $23,852
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
22
Trinity College
Trinity College

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The mission of Trinity College is to foster critical thinking, free the mind of parochialism and prejudice, and prepare students to lead examined lives that are personally satisfying, civically responsible, and socially useful. Located in Hartford, CT, Trinity is home to 2,331 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 9:1, class sizes are quite small, with 60.4 percent having less than 20 students, and Trinity has a 90.8 percent freshman retention. The college only accepts 31.8 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $47,900 per year.

Academic reputation score: 71
Average financial aid: $38,735
Average net price: $21,130
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
21
Smith College
Smith College

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Smith College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $44,724 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Smith is part of the Seven Sisters colleges, a group of seven northeastern liberal arts schools that were originally for women. Smith has a student/faculty ratio of 9:1, and 68.1 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 2,606 students, 93 percent returned for their second year and 82 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Smith College is $41,300.

Academic reputation score: 84
Average financial aid: $35,006
Average net price: $22,907
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
20
Lafayette College
Lafayette College

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Lafayette College was founded in 1826 and sits upon 340 acres in Easton, PA. It is home to 2,486 students, who enjoy small classes (59.6 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 10:1. Lafayette only accepts 34.1 percent of its applicants, 93.8 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Lafayette total $45,635 per year, and 85.6 percent of students had their financial needs met in full. The average salary for graduates of Lafayette College is $57,000.

Academic reputation score: 75
Average financial aid: $31,701
Average net price: $25,987
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
19
University of Richmond
University of Richmond

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University of Richmond combines the traditional liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education in order to provide a very unique learning environment. Located in the capital city of Richmond, VA, it is home to 2,983 students. Richmond boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 8:1, 66.6 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 93.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Richmond total $46,680 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $49,700.

Academic reputation score: 79
Average financial aid: $34,921
Average net price: $21,067
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
18
Bates College
Bates College

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Located in the small town of Lewiston, ME, Bates College is home to 1,791 students, who are drawn from all across the nation. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Psychology, English Language and Literature, and History. With a student/faculty ratio of 10:1 and with 68 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Bates enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Bates College total $47,030 per year and 97.4 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 84
Average financial aid: $36,636
Average net price: $22,649
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
17
Davidson College
Davidson College

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Davidson College is characterized by award-winning faculty, high student profile, competitive Division I athletics, top academic rankings, and its honor code. Located in Davidson, NC, Davidson is home to 1,788 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 10:1, class sizes are quite small, with 72.4 percent having less than 20 students, and Davidson has a 96.3 percent freshman retention. The college only accepts 25.6 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $45,377 per year.

Academic reputation score: 88
Average financial aid: $32,680
Average net price: $22,250
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
16
Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University

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Wesleyan has been noted as one of the most productive baccalaureate colleges in the United States with respect to the number of undergraduates pursuing PhDs in various fields. Located in Middletown, Connecticut, and overlooking the Connecticut River, the total undergraduate enrollment is 2,940 students. Fourty-nine percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid. Named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, Wesleyan is among the oldest of the originally Methodist institutions of higher education, though now it is a secular university. At Wesleyan it is easy to get involved. The school has one of the highest student per club ratios with more than 200 student organizations covering a range of interests: martial arts, outdoor activities, community tutoring, and an award winning Debate Society. Eighty-seven percent of students graduate in four years and after college the average starting salary is $43,900.

Academic reputation score: 84
Average financial aid: $37,511
Average net price: $21,160
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
15
Colby College
Colby College

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Colby College was founded in 1813, sits upon 714 acres in Waterville, ME, and is home to the 128-acre Perkins Arboretum wildlife refuge. It is home to 1,820 students, who enjoy very small classes (71.2 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 10:1. Colby only accepts 26 percent of its applicants, 94.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Colby total $47,350 per year, and 90.2 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 85
Average financial aid: $36,494
Average net price: $20,806
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
14
Haverford College
Haverford College

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Haverford places strong emphasis upon a rich liberal arts curriculum, student involvement in faculty research, and the connection of academics to issues of social justice. It is located just 10 miles from Philadelphia and is home to 1,187 students. Haverford boasts a an intimate student/faculty ratio of 9:1, 82.3 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 96.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Haverford total $47,214 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $38,600.

Academic reputation score: 90
Average financial aid: $39,911
Average net price: $19,743
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
13
Colgate University
Colgate University

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Located in the small town of Hamilton, NY, Colgate was rated the Most Beautiful Campus by The Princeton Review in 2015. Colgate is home to 2,890 students, who are drawn from all across the nation. The most popular areas of study at the college are Economics, English Language and Literature, History, Political Science, and International Relations and Affairs. With a student/faculty ratio of 9:1 and with 66.4 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Colgate enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Colgate College total $48,175 per year and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 83
Average financial aid: $35,707
Average net price: $22,038
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
12
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna

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An education at Claremont McKenna College is characterized by its liberal arts in action approach, which values creativity, empathy, and courage and fosters a social entrepreneurial focus. Located in Claremont, CA, Claremont McKenna is home to 1,316 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 9:1, class sizes are quite small, with 85 percent having less than 20 students, and Claremont McKenna has a 95.8 percent freshman retention. The college only accepts 11.7 percent of its applicants, making it one of the most selective colleges in the nation. Its tuition and fees total $47,395 per year.

Additional Information
Academic reputation score: 90
Average financial aid: $35,693
Average net price: $24,372
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
11
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College

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Bowdoin College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $46,808 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Bowdoin is home to the Peucinian Society, founded in 1805, which is one of the oldest literary and intellectual societies in the country, with alumni including poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Bowdoin has a student/faculty ratio of 9:1, and 70.8 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 1,795 students, 96.3 percent returned for their second year. The average starting salary for students from Bowdoin College is $46,000.

Academic reputation score: 92
Average financial aid: $36,007
Average net price: $22,193
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
10
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University

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Washington and Lee University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $45,617 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Washington and Lee offers over 120 student organizations, including several secret societies, such as the Mongolian Minks, the Cadaver Society and the Sigma Society. Washington and Lee has a student/faculty ratio of 8:1, and 72.6 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 1,855 students, 94.8 percent returned for their second year. The average starting salary for students from Washington and Lee University is $50,700.

Academic reputation score: 86
Average financial aid: $37,469
Average net price: $19,147
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
9
Vassar College
Vassar College

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An education at Vassar College is characterized by academic freedom, as there are no core curriculum. Located in 75 miles north of New York City, in scenic Hudson Valley, Vassar is home to 2,477 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 8:1, class sizes are quite small, with 63.7 percent having less than 20 students, and Vassar has a 96.3 percent freshman retention. The college only accepts 24.1 percent of its applicants and tuition and fees total $49,570 per year.

Academic reputation score: 88
Average financial aid: $40,836
Average net price: $18,484
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
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Middlebury College
Middleburry College

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Located in the small town of Middlebury, VT, between the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks lies Middlebury College. Middlebury only accepts 17.5 percent of its applicants, and its 2,495  students are drawn from all across the nation. The most popular areas of study at the college are Economics, Environmental Studies, Political Science,  English Language and Literature, and Psychology. With a student/faculty ratio of 9:1 and with 61.8 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Middlebury enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Middlebury College total $46,044 per year and 99 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 91
Average financial aid: $36,822
Average net price: $22,378
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
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Wellesley College
Wellesley College

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Considered “one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States” by Travel & Leisure, Wellesley is a private women’s college located just outside of Boston, MA. Wellesley College is home to 2,474 students, 98 percent of whom are female. Wellesley is one of the original Seven Sisters Colleges, which includes Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Smith, Radcliffe (now part of Harvard), Bryn Mawr and Barnard. Wellesley boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 7:1, 73.2 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 96 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Wellesley total $45,078 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $45,900.

Academic reputation score: 93
Average financial aid: $38,166
Average net price: $18,998
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
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Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College

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Swarthmore College was founded in 1864 on 425 acres in Swarthmore, PA that has been designated as an arboretum. It is home to 1,534 students, who enjoy very small classes (74.9 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a very low student/faculty ratio of 8:1. Swathmore only accepts a very elite 14.3 percent of its applicants, 96 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Swathmore total $46,060 per year, and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 94
Average financial aid: $35,967
Average net price: $22,514
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
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Hamilton College
Hamilton College

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Hamilton College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $47,820 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Hamilton has an “open” curriculum; there are no distributional requirements. Students are free to determine the course selection for their entire degree. Nearly half of students study abroad during their time at Hamilton through 180 programs around the world or the school’s consortium programs.  Hamilton has a student/faculty ratio of 9:1, and 73.5 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 1,926 students, 94.8 percent returned for their second year. The average starting salary for students is $57,600.

Academic reputation score: 85
Average financial aid: $36,665
Average net price: $20,755
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
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Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd

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Harvey Mudd College is an elite liberal arts college that specializes in training engineers, scientists, and mathematicians. Located in Claremont, California, Harvey Mudd  is home to 807 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 9:1, class sizes are quite small, with 60.4 percent having less than 20 students, and Harvey Mudd has a 98 percent freshman retention. The college only accepts 19.1 percent of its applicants and tuition and fees total $48,594 per year. Harvey Mudd College is ranked the #15 liberal arts college in the country by US News and World Report, but due to its high average graduate starting salary ($75,600), it moves all the way to #4 on College Choice.

Academic reputation score: 85
Average financial aid: $29,814
Average net price: $30,799
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
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Pomona College
Pomona College

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Located 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in Claremont, California, Pomona College is the west coast’s most elite liberal arts college. Pomona only accepts 13.9 percent of its applicants, thus its 1,612 student body is drawn from the nation’s top high school students. The most popular areas of study at the college are Economics, Mathematics, Neuroscience,  Molecular Biology, and Political Science. With a student/faculty ratio of 8:1 and with 68.2 percent of its classes having less than 20 students, students at Pomona enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Pomona College total $45,832 per year and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 92
Average financial aid: $39,595
Average net price: $17,419
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
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Williams College
Williams College

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One of the oldest schools in the country, Williams College is home to 2,077 students. Williams is the number one ranked Liberal Arts College by US News and World  Report and has the highest academic score on their list. Williams boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 7:1, 74.6 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 97 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Only the best of the best are accepted into Williams College, as it has a most selective admission rate of 17.5 percent, 91 percent four-year graduation rate. The average starting salary for students is $50,400 per year.

Academic reputation score: 100
Average financial aid: $39,909
Average net price: $19,503
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

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Amherst College
Amherst College

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Amherst College was founded in 1821 on 1,000 acres in Amherst, MA. It is home to 1,785 students. Amherst is part of the Five College Consortium with Smith College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Students at Amherst enjoy very small classes (70.8 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a very low student/faculty ratio of 8:1. Amherst only accepts a very elite 14.3 percent of its applicants, 97.8 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Amherst total $48,526 per year, but 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 96
Average financial aid: $42,510
Average net price: $16,550
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

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