The Top 25 New England Colleges and Universities

Game of softball on college campus
Game of softball on Williams' college campus. Barry Winiker / Getty Images

New England has some of the most selective and prestigious colleges and universities in the country. Harvard frequently ranks first or second among universities, and Williams and Amherst often vie for the top spot for liberal arts colleges. On the engineering front, MIT frequently sits at the top of the rankings. The colleges and universities ranked alphabetically below were chosen based on retention rates, graduation rates, student engagement, selectivity, and financial aid.

Amherst College
Amherst College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
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Babson College
Babson College. Tostie14 / Flickr
  • Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 3,057 (2,141 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private business college
  • Explore the Campus: Babson College Photo Tour
  • Distinctions: Highly ranked undergraduate business program; innovative curriculum with emphasis on leadership and entrepreneurship skills; first-year students develop, launch and liquidate a for-profit business of their own design
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Babson College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Babson
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Greenery at Bates College
Greenery at Bates College. Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Lewiston, Maine
  • Enrollment: 1,792 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions:   Test-optional admissions; chapter of  Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; highly ranked liberal arts college; popular study abroad programs; about 2/3 of students go on to graduate school; 10 to 1 student/faculty ratio
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Bates College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Bates
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Bentley University Library
Bentley University Library. Fogster / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 5,552 (4,203 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university with a business focus
  • Distinctions: Highly ranked business school; 12 to 1 student/faculty ratio; average class size of 24; business curriculum has a liberal arts core; curricular emphasis on ethics, social responsibility, and global culture
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Bentley University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Bentley
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Boston College St. Ignatius Church
Boston College St. Ignatius Church. John.Workman / Flickr
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Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College. sglickman / Flickr
  • Location: Brunswick, Maine
  • Enrollment: 1,799 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: Loan-free financial aid; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; beautiful; highly selective admissions; interesting mix of historic and state-of-the-art buildings; 118-acre Coastal Studies Center on Orr's Island
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Bowdoin College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Bowdoin
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Brandeis University
Brandeis University. Mike Lovett / Wikipedia Commons
  • Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 5,752 (3,621 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Distinctions: 10 to 1 student/faculty ratio; member of the  Association of American Universities for strong research programs; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; easy access to Boston
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Brandeis University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Brandeis
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Brown University
Brown University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 9,458 (6,652 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution:  private university
  • Distinctions: Member of the  Ivy League; open curriculum allows students to plan their own plans of study; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; one of the country's top universities
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Brown University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Brown
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United States Coast Guard Academy
United States Coast Guard Academy. uscgpress / Flickr
  • Location: New London, Connecticut
  • Enrollment: 898 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: federal service academy (military)
  • Distinctions: 8 to 1 student/faculty ratio; 80% of graduates go on to graduate school; free, but students have a five-year service commitment; merit-based admissions (no congressional nomination required); low acceptance rate
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Coast Guard Academy profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for the Coast Guard Academy
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Miller LIbrary at Colby College
Miller LIbrary at Colby College. Colby Mariam / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Waterville, Maine
  • Enrollment: 1,857 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 10 to 1 student/faculty ratio; attractive 714-acre campus with a 128-acre arboretum; chapter of  Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; strong environmental and global initiatives; NCAA Division I ski teams
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Colby College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Colby
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Connecticut College
Connecticut College. randomduck / Flickr
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Dartmouth Hall at Dartmouth University
Dartmouth Hall at Dartmouth University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
  • Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Enrollment: 6,350 (4,307 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Explore Campus: Dartmouth College photo tour
  • Distinctions:  Smallest member of the Ivy League; chapter of  Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; attractive 269-acre campus with a mix of historic and modern buildings; home to the Hood Museum of Art and Hopkins Center for the Arts; active athletic programs; strong study abroad initiatives
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Dartmouth College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Dartmouth
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Harvard University Memorial Hall
Harvard University Memorial Hall. timsackton / Flickr
  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 29,652 (10,255 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Explore the Campus: Harvard University photo tour
  • Explore the Yard: Harvard Yard Photo Tour
  • Distinctions: Most selective university in the country; member of the Ivy League; largest endowment of any university; member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; excellent financial aid for families with modest income
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Harvard University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Harvard
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College of the Holy Cross
College of the Holy Cross. Joe Campbell / Flickr
  • Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 2,729 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 10 to 1 student/faculty ratio; one of the country's top Catholic colleges; oldest Catholic college in New England; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; member of the NCAA Division I Patriot League
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Holy Cross profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Holy Cross
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MIT Great Dome
MIT Great Dome. Dan4th / Flickr
  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 11,331 (4,527 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university (engineering and science focus)
  • Distinctions: Often ranked #1 among top engineering schools; home to one of the nation's top business schools; stunning location overlooking the Boston skyline; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; membership in the Association of American Universities for strong research programs
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the MIT profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for MIT
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Middlebury College Campus
Middlebury College Campus. Alan Levine / Flickr
  • Location: Middlebury, Vermont
  • Enrollment: 2,558 (2,542 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: One of the country's top liberal arts colleges; 8 to 1 student/faculty ratio; average class size of 16; excellent language programs and study-abroad program; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; attractive campus in a scenic New England town
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Middlebury College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Middlebury
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Olin College
Olin College. Paul Keleher / Flickr
  • Location: Needham, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 370 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: engineering school
  • Distinctions: One of the top undergraduate engineering colleges; generous financial aid -- all students receive an Olin Scholarship; project-based, hands-on, student-centered curriculum; 8 to 1 student/faculty ratio; small school with lots of student-faculty interaction
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Olin College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Olin
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Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design. spablab / Flickr
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Enrollment: 2,481 (2,014 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: school of art and design
  • Distinctions: One of the country's top art schools; studio-based curriculum; strong job placement rate; home to the RISD Museum; portfolio-centered admissions process; dual degree program with neighboring Brown University
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the RISD profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for RISD
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Seelye Hall at Smith College
Seelye Hall at Smith College. Allen Grove
  • Location: Northhampton, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 2,874 (2,478 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private women's liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: One of the country's top women's colleges; member of the five college consortium; 9 to 1 student/faculty ratio; home to the 12,000 square foot Lyman Conservatory and the Botanic Garden with about 10,000 different plant species; one of the "Seven Sisters"
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Smith College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Smith
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Trinity College
Trinity College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
  • Location: Hartford, Connecticut
  • Enrollment: 2,397 (2,289 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 10 to 1 student/faculty ratio; strong initiatives for study abroad, community service and internships; 100 student organizations including an active Greek system; home to one of the country's oldest chapters of the  Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Trinity College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Trinity
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Olin Center at Tufts University
Olin Center at Tufts University. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin
  • Location: Medford, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 11,137 (5,290 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Explore the Campus: Tufts University photo tour
  • Distinctions: 9 to 1 student/faculty ratio; attractive campus with easy access to Boston; broad academic options; high marks for student happiness and study abroad; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Tufts University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Tufts
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Schneider Center at Wellesley College
Schneider Center at Wellesley College. Daderot / Wikimedia Commons
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Wesleyan University Library
Wesleyan University Library. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
  • Location: Middletown, Connecticut
  • Enrollment: 3,138 (2,897 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 8 to 1 student/faculty ratio; one of the country's top liberal arts college; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; over 200 student organizations; 47 major fields of study; 29 NCAA Division III varsity teams
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Wesleyan University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Wesleyan
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Williams College
Williams College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
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Yale University
Yale University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
  • Location: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Enrollment: 12,385 (5,532 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university
  • Distinctions: 6 to 1 student/faculty ratio; highly ranked among the nation's top universities; member of the Ivy League; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; membership in the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; endowment over $16 billion; 35 varsity athletic teams
  • Admissions: Yale GPA, SAT and ACT Score Graph
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Yale University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Yale
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