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Top Middle Atlantic Colleges and Universities

A list of 36 of Middle Atlantic's best colleges and universities


National Top Picks: Universities | Public Universities | Liberal Arts Colleges | Engineering | Business | Women's | Most Selective | More Top Picks

The Middle Atlantic region of the United States has some of the best colleges and universities in the world. This list of the top 36 Middle Atlantic colleges includes four Ivy League universities and some of the nation's top liberal arts colleges. The top picks range from schools with over 40,000 students to tiny Cooper Union with fewer than 1,000. Schools on the list include private and public institutions, urban and rural schools, and religious and secular institutions.  The 36 colleges and universities below were chosen based on a range of factors, but most important was student persistence and success: retention rates and 4- and 6-year graduation rates. Also considered were student engagement, selectivity, and financial aid. I have listed the schools alphabetically to avoid the often arbitrary distinctions that separate #1 from #2, and because of the futility of comparing a large research university to a small liberal arts college. Note that I did not include highly specialized schools such as Julliard that have audition or portfolio admissions.

The Middle Atlantic Region

The Middle Atlantic Region

The 35 colleges and universities in the list below were selected from the Middle Atlantic region: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

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Annapolis (United States Naval Academy)

Annapolis - USNA
Rory Finneren / Flickr

Barnard College

Barnard College Milbank Hall
Shintashi / Wikimedia Commons

Binghamton University (SUNY Binghamton)

Binghamton University
unforth / Flickr

Bucknell University

Bucknell University
aurimasliutikas / Flickr

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museum and Library
Jimmy Lin / Flickr

Colgate University

James B. Colgate Hall
bronayur / Flickr
  • Location: Hamilton, New York
  • Enrollment: 2,964 (2,947 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: high ranking liberal arts college; picturesque location; high graduation rate; high percentage of students go on to graduate school; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; NCAA Division I athletics in the Patriot League
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Colgate University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Colgate

The College of New Jersey

The College of New Jersey
Iggynelix / Wikimedia Commons

Columbia University

Photo of Columbia University in Spring by Yandi at Flickr
Yandi / Flickr

Cooper Union

Cooper Union
moacirpdsp / Flickr
  • Location: Manhattan, New York
  • Enrollment: 988 (927 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: small engineering and art school
  • Distinctions: specialized curriculum in engineering and art; historic building where Abraham Lincoln gave a famous speech on limiting slavery; Manhattan location provides students with many cultural and educational opportunities; highly ranked engineering program; free tuition for all students
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Cooper Union profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Cooper Union

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