Top Maryland Colleges

Learn about 15 of the Best Maryland Colleges and Universities

Maryland has excellent higher education options for both public and private institutions.  From a large public university like the University of Maryland to tiny St. John's College, Maryland has schools to match a wide range of student personalities and interests. The 15 top Maryland colleges listed below represent diverse school types and missions, so I have simply listed them alphabetically rather than force them into any sort of artificial ranking. That said, Johns Hopkins is the most selective and prestigious institution on the list. The schools were chosen based on factors such as academic reputation, curricular innovations, first-year retention rates, six-year graduation rates, selectivity, financial aid and student engagement. Not all of the schools are highly selective, so applicants don't need to be to be in the top of their class to get into some of these colleges and universities. 

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Annapolis - United States Naval Academy
Annapolis - United States Naval Academy. Michael Bentley / Flickr

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Goucher College Athenaeum
Goucher College Athenaeum. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

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Hood College
Hood College. Sarah Camp / Flickr
  • Location: Frederick, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 2,289 (1,278 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private master's-level college
  • Distinctions: impressive 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; high graduation rate for its student profile; one hour from Washington D.C. and Baltimore; good grant aid
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Hood College profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Hood admissions.

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Mergenthaler Hall at Johns Hopkins University
Mergenthaler Hall at Johns Hopkins University. Daderot / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 22,686 (6,427 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private research university
  • Distinctions: 10:1 student / faculty ratio; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; membership in the AAU for strong research programs; multi-billion dollar endowment; one of the country's top universities
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Johns Hopkins University profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Johns Hopkins admissions.

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Loyola University Maryland
Loyola University Maryland. Crhayes31288 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

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McDaniel College
McDaniel College. Alan Levine / Flickr
  • Location: Westminster, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 3,003 (1,667 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 17; located half an hour from Baltimore and one hour from D.C.; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the McDaniel College profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for McDaniel admissions.

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Maryland Institute College of Art, MICA
Maryland Institute College of Art, MICA. Elvert Barnes / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 2,197 (1,820 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private college of art
  • Distinctions: one of the country's top studio art programs; rich history (founded in 1826); 9 to 1 student / faculty ratio; students come from 48 states and 52 countries; impressive number of Presidential Scholars and Fulbright Scholars
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the MICA profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for MICA admissions.

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Bradley Hall at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland
Bradley Hall at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland. Breenhonda / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Location: Emmitsburg, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 2,257 (1,795 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic university
  • Distinctions: 12 to 1 student faculty ratio; average class size of 20; identity built on four pillars of "faith, discover, leadership, and community"; member of the NCAA Division I Northeast Conference
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Mount St. Mary's University profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Mount St. Mary's admissions.

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St. John's College Annapolis
St. John's College Annapolis. smi23le / Flickr
  • Location: Annapolis, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 451 (406 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: no textbooks (only great works of Western civilization); common curriculum for all students; excellent 7 to 1 student / faculty ratio; 20 student seminars taught by two faculty members; extremely high placement rate for law school, med school and graduate school
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the St. John's College profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for St. John's admissions.

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St. Mary's College of Maryland
St. Mary's College of Maryland. Elvert Barnes / Flickr
  • Location: St. Mary's City, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 1,735 (1,708 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio; attractive 319 acre water-front campus; historic location; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the St. Mary's College profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for St. Mary's admissions.

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NCAA Lacrosse - Division III - Championship Game - Salisbury vs Middlebury
Drew Hallowell / Getty Images
  • Location: Salisbury, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 8,671 (7,849 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public master's-level university
  • Distinctions: 16 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 26; students come from 37 states and 68 countries; popular professional programs in business, communications, education and nursing
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Salisbury University profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Salisbury admissions.

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hawkins-hall-towson.jpg
Hawkins Hall at Towson University (click image to enlarge). Photo Credit: Allen Grove

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Library at University of Maryland Baltimore County
Library at University of Maryland Baltimore County. Tim Menzies / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 13,839 (11,243 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: ranked as the #1 "up-and-coming" national university by U.S. News & World Report in 2010; chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society for strong liberal arts and sciences; member of the NCAA Division I America East Conference
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the UMBC profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for UMBC admissions.

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University of Maryland McKeldin Library
University of Maryland McKeldin Library. Daniel Borman / Flickr

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Casey Academic Center at Washington College
Casey Academic Center at Washington College. Photo Courtesy of Washington College
  • Location: Chestertown, Maryland
  • Enrollment: 1,428 (1,423 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington; opportunities to explore the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the Chester River; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Washington College profile.
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Washington College admissions.

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Calculate Your Chances

Calculate Your Chances of Being Admitted
Calculate Your Chances of Being Admitted.

Se​e if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into one of these top Maryland schools with this free tool from Cappex: Calculate Your Chances of Getting In 

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