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Somewhere Where We’re #1 (for now)

The Wall Street Journal understands that an important subset of students (and professors) will actively seek out a smaller institution for the sense of community that it can provide. How wise the Editors are in ranking the College #1 among small schools in the Northeast:

WSJ Small Schools Comp.jpg

The size of a college town is an important consideration for many prospective college students. For those looking for a rural or small-town experience, the Northeast is home to many top-tier options.

Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school based in Hanover, N.H., tops the list, with an overall national rank of 17th in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings. The list of Northeastern rural or small-town schools includes seven that crack the top 100 nationally.

All of the top Northeast region rural and small-town schools also have relatively small student bodies. Dartmouth is the largest in this regard, with about 4,300 undergraduates enrolled. Bowdoin College of Brunswick, Maine, is the smallest, with roughly 1,800 undergraduates.

Many of the schools on the list are leaders in graduate outcomes, an important component of the WSJ/THE rankings that measures things like salaries, graduation rates and student debt.

Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., ranks highest in the group for graduate outcomes, at No. 9 nationally for that metric. Bucknell University of Lewisburg, Pa., is No. 63 nationally for outcomes but leads this group on the graduate-salary component.

Bucknell is far above the others based on a value-added analysis used in the ranking that compares predicted salaries—based on factors including students’ SAT scores and family income—and the actual outcomes for graduates. Only salaries of students who borrowed from the federal government are included in the analysis.

Find more about rural and small-town schools in the Northeast in the table below. The listing uses location designations from the U.S. Education Department’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The Northeast region is as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Analyze the full WSJ/THE college rankings at

—Dave Pettit (@pettitd)

Addendum: So let’s add 1,000 students!


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