best colleges in pennsylvania

Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

Colleges in Pennsylvania include some of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious institutions. For example, the University of Pennsylvania — an Ivy League school — was founded in 1740 and stands among the oldest schools in the United States. Moravian College also ranks among the oldest colleges in the U.S. In total, Pennsylvania houses hundreds of colleges and universities.

Some of the best colleges in Pennsylvania belong to the state university system, which comprises 14 schools and boasts campuses across the state. Many Pennsylvania colleges feature main campuses in big cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania students choose from a variety of public and private schools, where they can pursue degrees at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Swarthmore College

Due to the stellar academic success of its students, Swarthmore College takes the top spot on our ranking of the best colleges in Pennsylvania. One out of every three Swarthmore graduates has either earned or is currently pursuing a doctoral degree.

The college prides itself on creating intimate learning environments. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 8-to-1, Swarthmore students benefit from unparalleled access to their instructors — 99% of whom hold a terminal degree in their field.

In addition to offering 40 formal programs of study, Swarthmore encourages learners to work with their faculty advisor to design a personalized major that fits their academic interests and professional aspirations.

Swarthmore’s admission requirements are highly selective. The college considers applicants holistically on the basis of high school grades, test scores, civic engagement, and potential contributions to campus life. Swarthmore meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all admitted students.

Bryn Mawr College

Founded in 1885, Bryn Mawr College is a non-profit private liberal arts higher-education institution located in the suburban setting of the medium town of Bryn Mawr (population range of 2,500-9,999 inhabitants), Pennsylvania. Officially accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Bryn Mawr College is a very small (uniRank enrollment range: 1,000-1,999 students) women only US higher education institution. Bryn Mawr College offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, master degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study. See the uniRank degree levels and areas of study matrix below for further details. This 135 years old US higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades. The admission rate range is 30-40% making this US higher education organization a very selective institution. International students are welcome to apply for enrollment. Bryn Mawr College also provides several academic and non-academic facilities and services to students including a library, housing, sports facilities, financial aids and/or scholarships, study abroad and exchange programs, as well as administrative services.

Dickinson College

Established in 1773, Dickinson College is a non-profit private liberal arts higher-education institution located in the urban setting of the large town of Carlisle (population range of 10,000-49,999 inhabitants), Pennsylvania. Officially accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Dickinson College is a small (uniRank enrollment range: 2,000-2,999 students) coeducational US higher education institution. Dickinson College offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study. See the uniRank degree levels and areas of study matrix below for further details. This 247 years old US higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades. The admission rate range is 40-50% making this US higher education organization a averagely selective institution. International applicants are eligible to apply for enrollment. Dickinson College also provides several academic and non-academic facilities and services to students including a library, housing, sports facilities, financial aids and/or scholarships, study abroad and exchange programs, as well as administrative services.

Gettysburg College

Established in 1832, Gettysburg College is a non-profit private liberal arts higher-education institution located in the urban setting of the medium town of Gettysburg (population range of 2,500-9,999 inhabitants), Pennsylvania. Officially accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Gettysburg College is a small (uniRank enrollment range: 2,000-2,999 students) coeducational US higher education institution formally affiliated with the Christian-Lutheran religion. Gettysburg College offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study. See the uniRank degree levels and areas of study matrix below for further details. This 188 years old US higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades. The admission rate range is 40-50% making this US higher education organization a averagely selective institution. International applicants are eligible to apply for enrollment. Gettysburg College also provides several academic and non-academic facilities and services to students including a library, housing, sports facilities, financial aids and/or scholarships, study abroad and exchange programs, online courses and distance learning opportunities, as well as administrative services.

Lafayette College

Founded in 1826, Lafayette College is a non-profit private liberal arts higher-education institution located in the suburban setting of the large town of Easton (population range of 10,000-49,999 inhabitants), Pennsylvania. Officially accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Lafayette College (LAFAYETTE) is a small (uniRank enrollment range: 2,000-2,999 students) coeducational US higher education institution formally affiliated with the Christian-Presbyterian religion. Lafayette College (LAFAYETTE) offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study. See the uniRank degree levels and areas of study matrix below for further details. This 194 years old US higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades. The admission rate range is 20-30% making this US higher education organization a very selective institution. International students are welcome to apply for enrollment. LAFAYETTE also provides several academic and non-academic facilities and services to students including a library, housing, sports facilities, financial aids and/or scholarships, study abroad and exchange programs, as well as administrative services.


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