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Centennial Conference

Learn About the 11 Colleges in the NCAA Division III Centennial Conference

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The Centennial Conference is an NCAA Division III athletic conference with member institutions coming from Pennsylvania and Maryland. The conference headquarters are in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. All member institutions are highly selective with notable academic strengths, and many rank among the very best colleges and universities in the country. Students who compete in the Centennial Conference are going to need strong academic abilities to complement their athletic skills.

Two other colleges -- Juniata College and Moravian College -- compete in the Centennial Conference for football only.

1. Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr College
thatpicturetaker / Flickr

One of the country's top women's colleges and best liberal arts colleges, Bryn Mawr has a rich history as one of the original "seven sister" colleges. The college has cross-registration agreements with other tops schools in the Philadelphia area: Swarthmore College, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Location: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private women's liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 1,751 (1,289 undergraduate)
  • Team: Owls
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Bryn Mawr College profile.

2. Dickinson College

Dickinson College
ravedelay / Flickr

First chartered in 1783, Dickinson is today one of the country's best liberal arts colleges. Academics are supported by a 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio, and the college was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences.

  • Location: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 2,414 (all undergraduate)
  • Team: Red Devils
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Dickinson College profile.

3. Franklin & Marshall College

Franklin and Marshall College
The Pocket / Flickr

Like many of the colleges on this list, Franklin & Marshall earned a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. The College also has notable strengths in business. The school's hands-on approach to learning earned it a spot on my list of top Pennsylvania colleges, and many students will appreciate Franklin & Marshall's test-optional admissions policy.

  • Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 2,335 (all undergraduate)
  • Team: Diplomats
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Franklin & Marshall College profile.

4. Gettysburg College

Gettysburg College
fauxto digit / Flickr

Gettsyburg College's strong liberal arts and sciences are complemented by the school's music conservatory and professional performing arts center. Other features include a healthy 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio, new athletic center, and a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The college made my lists of best liberal arts colleges and top Pennsylvania colleges.

  • Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran Church
  • Enrollment: 2,485 (all undergraduate)
  • Team: Bullets
  • Explore the Campus: Gettysburg College Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Gettysburg College profile.

5. Haverford College

Haverford College Path
edwinmalet / flickr

Haverford frequently ranks among the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the country, and it also has one of the best four-year graduation rates. The college has an impressive 8 to 1 student / faculty ratio, and students can take classes at Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, and the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Location: Haverford, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 1,177 (all undergraduate)
  • Team: Fords
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Haverford College profile.

6. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University
Laughidea / Wikimedia Commons

Johns Hopkins stands out from the other members of the Centennial Conference. All other schools are liberal arts colleges whereas Johns Hopkins is one of the country's top universities and has far more graduate programs than undergraduate. The university has a 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio, and its research strengths earned it membership in the Association of American Universities.

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • School type: private research university
  • Enrollment: 20,977 (5,820 undergraduate)
  • Team: Blue Jays
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Johns Hopkins University profile.

7. McDaniel College

McDaniel College
cogdogblog / Flickr

McDaniel is yet another college in the Centennial Conference with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Unlike many of the other schools, McDaniel has a robust graduate programs in education. Academics are supported by a 12 to 1 faculty ratio and an average class size of 17.

  • Location: Westminster, Maryland
  • School type: private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 3,570 (1,597 undergraduate)
  • Team: Green Terror
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the McDaniel College profile.

8. Muhlenberg College

Muhlenberg College
JlsElsewhere / Wikimedia Commons

Professional fields such as business and communication are extremely popular at Muhlenberg, but the college also has broad strengths in the liberal arts and sciences that earned it a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Academics are supported by a 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio, and the school prides itself on the close relationships between students and professors.

  • Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran Church
  • Enrollment: 2,515 (all undergraduate)
  • Team: Mules
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Muhlenberg College profile.

9. Swarthmore College

Swarthmore Parrish Hall
EAWB / flickr

Many members of the Centennial Conference are highly selective and prestigious, but Swarthmore is the most selective of the group. The college has an acceptance rate in the teens, and it frequently ranks highly on lists of the country's top 10 liberal arts colleges. Financial aid is excellent for qualified students, and Swarthmore tends to appear near the top of Princeton Review's ranking of best value colleges.

  • Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 1,524 (all undergraduate)
  • Team: Garnet
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Swarthmore College profile.

10. Ursinus College

Ursinus College Tower
PennaBoy / Wikimedia Commons

Ursinus has seen its reputation strengthening in recent years, and the college has appeared high on the U.S. News & World Report ranking of "up-and-coming liberal arts colleges." Strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences earned the college a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and students can expect quality interactions with their professors thanks to the school's 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio.

  • Location: Collegeville, Pennsylvania
  • School type: private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 1,802 (all undergraduate)
  • Team: Bears
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Ursinus College profile.

11. Washington College

Washington College Casey Academic Center
Courtesy of Washington College

Washington College comes by its name honestly, for it was founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington. The Center for Environment & Society, the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, and the Rose O’Neill Literary House are all valuable resources for supporting undergraduate education. The college's scenic location also provides students with opportunities to explore the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the Chester River.

  • Location: Chestertown, Maryland
  • School type: private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 1,473 (1,418 undergraduate)
  • Team: Shoremen and Shorewomen
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the Washington College profile.

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