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Top New England Colleges and Universities

A list of 25 of New England's best colleges and universities

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

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 25 colleges and universities below were chosen based on retention rates, graduation rates, 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 liberal arts college or a business school.

The New England Region

New England Map

The 25 colleges and universities in the list below are from the New England region of the United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont (click to get top picks for each state).

More Regions: Middle Atlantic | Southeast | Midwest | South Central | Mountain | West Coast

Amherst College

Amherst Chapel

Babson College

Babson College
Tostie14 / Flickr
  • Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 3,380 (2,007 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private business college
  • 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

Bates College

Bates College
dvs / Flickr
  • Location: Lewiston, Maine
  • Enrollment: 1,769 (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

Bentley University

Bentley University Library
Fogster / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 5,574 (4,237 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

Boston College

Boston College St. Ignatius Church
John.Workman / Flickr

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College
sglickman / Flickr
  • Location: Brunswick, Maine
  • Enrollment: 1,778 (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

Brandeis University

Brandeis University
Mike Lovett / Wikipedia Commons

Brown University

Brown University Campus
_Gene_ Flickr

Coast Guard Academy

United States Coast Guard Academy
uscgpress / Flickr
  • Location: New London, Connecticut
  • Enrollment: 1,045 (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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