Hidden Gems of the Northeast

This list includes small colleges that are often overlooked by students seeking out the best school for them! These hidden gems provide readers with some of the most outstanding and beautiful colleges in the nation that have fabulous opportunities awaiting eager and passionate individuals. Most of these schools have a low student enrollment, which always creates a unique, intimate, and positive atmosphere for the students in attendance. These 25 Hidden Gems will give you a view of excellent colleges and universities in the Northeastern United States.

Methodology:

  • All information is cited from the unbiased, independent NCES.gov’s College Navigator
  • To ensure our rankings methodology cannot be duplicated without our knowledge, we have withheld some aspects of the calculations. Please contact us at the email address provided below for more in depth calculations and criteria
  • Our sponsored schools are paid advertisements that are not affiliated with our site’s individual school rankings.  They are clearly defined with the word “SPONSORED” as to not confuse our readers with what has been methodologically researched and ranked by our site editors and researchers as compared to the independently sponsored schools that pay for their placement on our site. For more information regarding our rankings or our sponsored schools, please email us at LINDA.WEEMS210@GMAIL.COM

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND – Biddeford, ME

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The University of New England is an innovative educational community that operates three distinctive campuses—Biddeford and Portland, Maine and Tangiers, Morocco, all of which offer impeccably gorgeous environments in which to immerse oneself, learn, and grow as a student. This impressive private school offers the state’s only medical and dental schools, and there are over 25 health science programs. UNE puts a strong focus on global engagement and hands-on learning experiences, so that graduates exit their program of choice with a worldly understanding of their major. The school also operates a strong Global Affairs Department that connects students to opportunities throughout the world, expanding their cultural exposure and understanding, and establishing global networking connections. The Tangiers campus is the first US university campus in Morocco, and the beautiful school features state-of-the-art labs and classrooms and residence halls. UNE is truly a hidden gem in the heart of the northeast.

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HUSSON UNIVERSITY – Bangor, ME

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Husson University is a small school in Bangor, ME, that is well-known throughout the state as the best school for experiential education and professional training. The focus of the school is to make graduates as employable as possible, without burdening them with unreasonable college debt. The tuition is incredibly affordable and the campus environment is friendly, warm, and accommodating to all. There is always something going on on at Husson, from karaoke to bowling nights. The facilities are designed in a way that influences communication between students and faculty members, and the cafeteria provides astoundingly delicious food every day! Husson has campuses in Bangor, Boston, and Quebec City, all of which are known to be quite safe and fun. There are also research and education centers in Westbrook and Presque Isle! The school itself offers a lifetime of diversity and cultural involvement through sponsored events, various cuisines, and excellent learning opportunities between students of different cultures and backgrounds.

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SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE – Manchester, NH

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Resting on a wooded, 400-acre campus between Boston, the coast, the White Mountains, and the New Hampshire Lakes Region, lies one of the nation’s most superb Catholic liberal arts colleges. This school gives students coursework that is assured to present challenges and rewards that open them up to new discoveries and experiences. The campus is home to Catholic monks who give the college a wonderful sense of pious respect and focus, and the tight-knit community gives students a strong support system upon which to rely throughout their academic and social lives. Forbes, the Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report have ranked this educational institution as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country that offers students incredible experiences, as well as some of the best food available at any school, all of which is provided at a very affordable tuition!

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COLBY-SAWYER COLLEGE – New London, NH

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Colby-Sawyer College is a tiny school in New London, NH, that provides some of the most diverse, in-depth, and personalized educations in the entire Northeast region of the United States to a student body of 983. Students seeking out an intimate college setting where they can vastly expand their experiences and education should look no further than CSC. The students and the faculty members are made up of some of the most motivated and caring individuals on any college campus, and give each other only the firmest and most supportive assistance they can. The beautifully rural campus provides excellent opportunities for outdoor exploration and recreation as well as scientific studies of all kinds, and is surrounded by a 360-degree view of mountains, forestland, and lakes. The entire campus fosters a feeling of friendliness and success, and students exit their programs as well-rounded professionals. 100% of students gain vital pre-professional training, and are highly sought out by employers of all kinds. Leadership programs, extracurricular activities, social and athletic clubs, all blend into an enriching, cohesive educational experience.

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CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE – Burlington, VT

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One very notable aspect about Champlain College is their dedication to job and career placement in post-academic careers as soon as students enter their undergraduate programs. Coursework is in-depth and also concentrates around preparedness for life outside of college. Majors include vital internship experiences, and professors and advisors are known for going out of their ways to assist students in their pathways to success. Students engage with the surrounding town of Burlington, Vermont, to build valuable networking connections and build professional relationships with local and international businesses. Overlooking Lake Champlain and Burlington, and with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada and Dublin, Ireland, Champlain College offers students extraordinarily beautiful learning environments. The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report have both named Champlain College a “Most Innovative School” and among “America’s Best Colleges.”

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CASTLETON UNIVERSITY – Castleton, VT

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Castleton University is well-known for the diversity of its gorgeous, 165-acre campus nestled in the mountains of Vermont, and is the state’s first institution of higher education. The campus itself has 2 LEED Gold Certified buildings and a massive library that holds hundreds of thousands of volumes, both physical and electronic. Founded in 1787, the university has over 230 years of experience in educating students, and today offers absolutely cutting-edge educations in various departments, all of which have a personalized touch. Students feel extremely well-taken-care-of by the professors in over 75 different programs of study, who devote as much time and energy to their pupils as can be spared. The university cares deeply for its students and provides, not only impeccable academics, but also a huge number of athletic and student-based clubs and organizations that can be taken advantage of, and the campus regularly hosts comedians, musical groups, and other entertainment throughout the year.

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WELLESLEY COLLEGE – Wellesley, MA

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This small liberal arts college supports about 2,300 students with a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio, which is about the best that any student could ask for. This small and intimate educational environment in the handsome town of Wellesley, Massachusetts, gives students high-quality levels of coursework and support services. Every year hundreds of students spend a semester or a year abroad in their country of choice, and Wellesley maintains partnerships with MIT and Brandeis University, so that students have as far reaching of access to their educations as possible. With over 150 student organizations, there is always something happening on campus for students in their free time, and the college itself inspires them to create lasting relationships with their peers, classmates, and professors. The campus also offers access to observatories, lakes, forests, and other beautiful landscapes across a stunning 500 acres.

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COLLEGE OF THE HOLY CROSS – Worcester, MA

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The College of the Holy Cross is a Jesuit Catholic academic institution that provides state-of-the-art coursework, stellar athletic departments, and deeply exploratory spiritual experiences. Students love everything that the college has to offer and are provided with excellent on-campus resources for their school work and social events. The challenging academics give students all of the most valuable educational programs and training that money can buy, and the small campus institutes a strong sense of mutual respect and support between students. The Division I sports teams are welcoming to all, and are not quick to dismiss any student. The new and improved facilities offer only the most high-tech equipment and classrooms, as well as impeccable residential halls. An extremely important aspect of the college is their commitment to establishing a global and international identity, so that students have access to worldly pursuits within their majors.

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BRYANT UNIVERSITY – Smithfield, RI

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Bryant University operates under the mission, “educate and inspire students to discover their passion and become innovative leaders with character around the world.” Living up to this mission, Bryant University’s graduates have a 99% job placement rate after graduation, which is absolutely magnificent, and a median salary of $60,000/year. The College of Business is quite well-known, and has been recognized by USA Today and College Factual as one of the top five in the country. The university has partnerships with business in the surrounding community of Smithfield, giving business students and many others access to high-quality, invaluable, real-world experiences in the workplace. The school is highly dedicated to sustainability and provides numerous outlets and areas in which that dedication is focused: academics, research, energy, land use, food and dining, and community engagement.

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RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE – Providence, RI

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This school is located in the bustling metropolis of Providence, yet maintains a campus that provides students with all of the support, amenities, and opportunities they could ask for. Rhode Island College provides a safe and diverse campus that is known nation-wide for their Education programs, which include a range of specializations. Other excellent programs from RIC include their nursing and social work programs. There are a huge amount of academic resources for students who are struggling or looking to excel, and the school is highly focused on the success of each individual. The college provides ample opportunities for students to engage in real-world research and contribute to the field in many different ways, even as a student. Well-established internship programs throughout Providence give students the ability to utilize their knowledge and understanding in business and organizations that are always on the lookout for competent and intelligent graduates, like those from RIC.

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CONNECTICUT COLLEGE – New London, CT

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Connecticut College gives students an academically diverse and enriching learning experience. The campus provides a small, quiet, and studious learning environment that is relatively free from the traditional college party vibe. Students feel safe and have an enormous amount of respect for one another in keeping the campus free of assault of all kinds, and an awareness of current social and political issues. The college hosts fun and exciting events quite regularly for the students, such as the Camelympics, wherein residence halls compete in games and challenges! There are over 80 student clubs, and the a cappella groups and Division III sports teams are both incredibly popular at ConnColl. The student body enrolls about 1,800 students, most of whom graduated in the top 20% of their class, making class sizes small, access to professors unlimited, and a strong sense of support and commradery between classmates. Overlooking the Thames River and the Long Island Sound, and the campus is a short drive away from the museums and movie theaters.

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TRINITY COLLEGE – Hartford, CT

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Trinity College offers students a diverse and exciting campus that brings together students from 41 states and over 70 countries. The school gives all the educational power to the student through their programs of choice and has been ranked one of the best test optional colleges in the country. The clubs and sports are incredibly welcoming of all students and are a huge part of the livelihood and events on campus. The facilities are extremely well-equipped with all of the most state-of-the-art materials in the classrooms, athletic buildings, labs, residence halls. Located in the state capital, there is always something to do at Trinity, or around it, and the 100-acre campus provides a charming environment for students. Graduates include high-level business managers, such as the chairman of the MGM hotel and casino in Las Vegas and Pulitzer Prize winning authors.

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SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE – Bronxville, NY

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Sarah Lawrence College is tucked away in Bronxville, New York, about an hour train ride away from New York City. This small college utilizes an interesting and unique approach to an undergraduate degree, where students delve immediately into their major and take only one or two classes at a time, but those classes are incredibly challenging and in-depth. This gives students an extremely well-founded understanding of their field upon exiting the school and entering into career paths. The campus itself is highly distinctive and beautiful, with old, fascinating buildings that have been renovated enough to satisfy the modern student, and the classrooms themselves have a long history of knowledge that lives in the very walls. There is a coffee shop that rests on a hill right in the center of campus, and the school is far enough away from NYC to give a sense of solitude, while also offering its excitement, activities, and opportunities nearby.

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MARIST COLLEGE – Poughkeepsie, NY

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Marist College offers students an interesting and unique approach to their majors in a small and incredibly beautiful learning environment on the bank of the Hudson River. Through the FOCUS program, students have the ability to explore major classes within specific programs of interest, to give them a better understanding of their particular goals, without wasting time in something less fitting. Marist College has been ranked among the top 50 “Colleges That Create Futures,” alongside such schools as MIT and Stanford, as the school is highly concerned with the success of individual students. The campus provides all of the amenities, excitement, and educational resources that a student could need, including free tutoring in individual subjects and state-of-the-art facilities that are recognized around the world. Students can also take the chance to study at the Marist campus in Florence, Italy for a semester!

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FRANKLIN & MARSHALL COLLEGE – Lancaster, PA

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Franklin & Marshall College was founded in 1787 thanks to a generous donation from Ben Franklin. Since then the school has operated under a powerful mission: “together, we create the way forward.” In fulfilling this concept, FMC provides students with outstanding levels of personalization and control over their education. Students are a huge part of the community of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they engage in real-world experiences as confident, adaptable problem solvers. 65% of the student body participates with professors and researchers in one-on-one educational experiences. Students are a part of over 100 different clubs and organizations that keep the campus lively and fun throughout the year. Coursework is challenging, rewarding, and comprises some well-known programs, including the Music degrees and the Astrophysics degrees. The school has a distinctive housing program for students, in which they are a part of five different houses on campus where they live, eat, and plan events with their roommates and neighbors.

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ALLEGHENY COLLEGE – Meadville, PA

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At Allegheny College, students combine their academic interests and “expand their concentrations beyond one division,” all of which promotes intellectual, moral, and social development and encouraging personal and civic responsibility. The campus is in proximity of Lake Eerie, and supplies nearly 600 acres of space for students to enjoy outdoor activities, academic and scientific research, and club sports and organizations. The school provides a learning environment that actively confronts and challenges the notions of racism, sexism, heterosexism, religious bigotry, and other forms of harassment and discrimination, which has created an incredibly diverse and supportive home for many. The social scene on campus is incredibly lively and gives students exciting events and activities to do every weekend. The tuition is offered to students at a great value, making this school, indeed, a hidden gem of the Northeast.

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BRYN MAWR COLLEGE – Bryn Mawr, PA

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The Bryn Mawr College campus in Pennsylvania looks magnificent throughout the entire year, and the academic and residence halls have a look of ancient history. The inspirational environment was the state’s first women’s college to award doctoral degrees and, today, is considered one of the finest schools in the state. While it is a women’s college, there are also co-ed opportunities for students on partnering campuses such as Haverford College. One of the most notable areas of BMC is their outstanding academics. The world-class faculty members guide serious students to success by immersing them in complex coursework that builds both independence and respect. Many students decided to stay on at Bryn Mawr after their undergraduate degrees to earn one of the renowned graduate degree programs. The school has many invigorating traditions that are kept alive today, and the students prefer a calm and studious environment in which to learn, making the campus itself very serene and quiet.

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CENTENARY UNIVERSITY – Hackettstown, NJ

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Centered in the heart of the historic Skylands Region sits Centenary University. This small college provides a home for students that allows for individuality, freedom of expression in the classroom, and a huge amount of academic and extracurricular opportunities. The coursework is challenging and the professors are strict, but only because they have an enormous amount of respect for their students and seek to push them outside of their comfort zones to discover something new about themselves and their field of study. There are a slew of different support programs that students can fall back on throughout their college experience, such as the First-Year Experience Programs which is designed to help students with their time management skills. The school is focused most intently around success post-graduation, and maintains an impressive 95% job placement rate for graduates. Faculty members include Fulbright Scholars and nationally recognized research and academics, over 50% of whom hold doctoral degrees in their department.

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STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – Hoboken, NJ

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The Stevens Institute of Technology provides its students with a compelling and competitive academic atmosphere, which a supportive and exciting environment. While students challenge one another, it is also and extremely social and friendly school that provides an enormous amount of activities outside the classroom. A top research university in the nation, students take part in some of the most important projects around the country, and are involved in making a difference within their communities and across the country. This school is committed to ideas surrounding community engagement and sustainability, and works hard to innovate new ways to make the campus more green. The school is also well-known for their STEM programs, yet all of the degree programs are offered at an affordable price, which has given the school recognition from outside entities and agencies. Graduates are extremely successful, and go on into prominent graduate programs or lucrative positions of employment.

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GOLDEY-BEACOM COLLEGE – Wilmington, DE

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Goldey-Beacom College is located in the Pike Creek Valley, which is a suburb of Wilmington, Delaware. This small college is extremely well-liked by students because of the wonderful environment, the challenging academics, and the small size of the school. Growing in popularity, motivated students are beginning to realize that Goldey-Beacom is an excellent choice for an undergraduate degree program from a small, liberal arts college. The apartment-style residence halls add to the closeness that individuals feel on the campus. The curricula follow a career-focused structure to produce the most capable and knowledgeable graduates possible, and the job placement rate for alumni is well over 90%. The school has strong partnerships with business throughout the community of Wilmington, giving students access to superb real-world experiences that further establish them as professionals upon exiting this fine establishment.

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WESLEY COLLEGE – Dover, DE

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Wesley College is a city center school based in Dover, Delaware. The campus is accepting of individuals from all diversities and backgrounds, and makes students feel safe and at home. There are always fun opportunities and events provided by the school, and the city of Dover contains a huge amount of pre-Revolutionary War history. The superb academics offer students 30 bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in key areas such as nursing and business administration, all of which is highly reviewed by alumni. Wesley College is well-accommodating of students’ financial situations, and 98% of the students population receive finical aid in scholarships, institutional grants, and more. The study abroad program at Wesley is exceptionally far reaching for a small liberal arts college, and extended opportunities in more than 300 institutions in over 50 countries, including the chance to study 7 different languages in 8 different countries. The oldest private college in Delaware, Wesley College is an excellent opportunity for all!

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ST. MARY’S COLLEGE OF MARYLAND- St. Mary’s City, MD

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The academics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland rival many of the best schools in the nation. Students in this academic institution are challenged by their coursework, all of which is instructed by extremely skilled faculty members. The college is in a very rural area, making the campus, which borders the St. Mary’s River, quite tranquil—a perfect place for students who are seeking studious solitude with other highly motivated individuals. The arts and theater are very much alive at this school, and the community is close-knit and supportive of one another. The school is committed to affordability and academic excellence, as well as diversity among students and professors. This is Maryland’s honors college, and provides only the most superb curricula, and fosters a rigorous and innovative sense of accomplishment. Students are supported by a network of faculty members, advisors, and tutors who give all of the necessary support throughout their academic careers and beyond. The “spirit of intellectual inquiry” is very much alive at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

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WASHINGTON COLLEGE – Chestertown, MD

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Washington College gives students a profound sense of home. This comforting and enriching environment gives them all of the care, support, and comfort that they need to delve deeply into their programs of interest. The coursework is superb, and provides excellent avenues to utilize methods and techniques learned in the classroom. The college pushes students to venture out on their own and personalize their education in a way that is most fulfilling for them. This special place was founded in 1782, and has been churning out only the most successful alumni since then. George Washington played a key role in the founding of this institution, and his mark gives students an excellent history to live up to. The campus sits between Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., giving students only invaluable experiences that can be taken advantage of.

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GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY – Washington, D.C.

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Gallaudet University is the only Deaf liberal art college in the United States. Dedicated to the education of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, this exciting and boisterous college provides a warm and welcoming environment to students who can use American Sign Language to communicate. Deaf Culture is integral to the campus, and students must have an understanding of both the language and the culture itself in order to succeed. In doing so, this excellent university provides a strong educational foundation, where students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. Located in Washington, D.C., this school has incredibly opportunities with government agencies and local businesses. No matter what a student’s major, the school provides ceaseless support and resources to help students succeed in their academics and in life. The campus is a fantastic place to undergo training programs in Deaf Culture and sign language interpretation, in particular. This stalwart institution cares deeply for each student.

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STRAYER UNIVERSITY – Washington, D.C.

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Strayer University is beloved by all its students, who leave only the most glowing reviews on such college reviewing websites as Niche.com. The school is 100% committed to every individual who is seeking a degree that they have an experience that is truly meaningful and worthy of academic pride. Students learn both in “documentary-style” online lessons, as well as on campus classes, in an innovative learning approach that provide experiential learning in complex subjects. Students can count on professors, advisors, and personal success coaches throughout their academic careers to help them with each and every challenge that they take on. The academics provide a well-structured yet laid back learning style that gives students space and control over their programs in a supportive environment. The teachers, academics, and various programs are well-decorated by accreditation commissions and national agencies, giving students only the most state-of-the-art and up-to-date information available to each degree.

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