Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Omoyeni Adeniyi
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If you’re a good student with less-than-stellar test scores or a so-so GPA, these are the schools for you. These colleges, which have strong ratings in the 2022 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, accept a significant number of students with nonstratospheric transcripts.
Many colleges in America offer liberal arts programs, but that doesn’t mean they are a liberal arts college. Liberal arts colleges are driven to make sure their students learn and have a broad perspective on many topics.
What is a liberal arts college?
From what I’ve gathered from my ~advanced~ research, a liberal arts college is an institution that is primarily meant for a student to learn, rather than solely focus on getting a job (at least that’s what they are supposed to be).
These liberal arts colleges heavily concentrated in learning the humanities (ex. literature, philosophy), social sciences (ex. political science & anthropology), and/or arts (ex. writing & theatre).
Most liberal arts colleges only have an undergraduate program, so if you want a master’s or Ph.D., then you will have to find another college/university.
Also, a liberal arts college doesn’t focus on only one field/degree. As you may know, a lot of universities require every student to take a particular course or courses during their years at their university.
But other than that, the student usually focuses on one or two specific fields of studies (your major(s)). Liberal arts colleges do help you focus on a field if you are interested, but your education focuses on being much more well-rounded.
Why should I go to a liberal arts college?
As I said, liberal arts colleges want to make sure their students focus their years on learning rather than just preparing to get a job. But the thing is, going to a non-liberal college does not mean you don’t learn.
Also, from my ~advanced~ research, I saw a common pattern that a liberal arts college gives you a well-rounded education. Liberal arts colleges appear to make you think very critically, which I think may be due to the more one-on-one communication with other students and faculty.
Another pretty obvious thing is the student to faculty ratio. Liberal arts colleges tend to be smaller, so students have easier access to professors and smaller, more discussion-based classes.
Again, this doesn’t mean non-liberal arts colleges don’t have a small student to faculty ratio or small classes. In fact, Georgetown and Northwestern both have a fantastic student to faculty ratio and classes that are on the smaller side.
the best liberal arts colleges for B students?
For this portion of the article, I’ll be using GPAs (between ~3.3 and ~3.7) provided by PrepScholar. *Big disclaimer: I’m giving the average GPA for the students who attend these universities, but that doesn’t mean that having this GPA of about 3.5 is a ticket to getting in.
Grades and test scores are usually a sort of threshold you need to pass for the college to seriously consider as a student (they determine this with other parts of your application such as essays and extracurriculars).
Also, you are not limited to schools such as Rollins or Oberlin College. If your dream school is not on this list, it doesn’t mean that the school is bad or you are not qualified enough for the school; go with what makes you happy!*
Alrighty, let’s do this:
- Rollins College (Winterpark, FL) – has a collective GPA of 3.3 and an acceptance rate of ~66% (as of 2020). This GPA suggests that the students, on average, primarily received B’s throughout high school, and perhaps one or two A’s and/or C’s. The class size for Rollins (as of 2020) is ~2,000.
- Lafayette College (Easton, PA) – has a collective GPA of 3.5, which is higher than Rollins College. However, the distribution of grades is relatively the same with mainly B’s and maybe a couple A’s throughout high school. The acceptance rate, however, is much lower at ~30% (as of 2020), and the class size is slightly larger at ~2,600.
- Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA) – has a collective GPA of 3.5, and an acceptance rate of ~30% (as of 2020). Bucknell is as selective as Lafayette; enrollment comes in at about 3,600 students. Like the previous two colleges, the average student received mostly B’s and an A or C here and there.
- The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH) – has a GPA slightly higher than the others at 3.7, so if your GPA comes to be ~3.5, you would most likely fall between the 25th and 50th percentile. To have a GPA of 3.7, you need to attain a mixture of A’s and B’s (and have more A’s than B’s). The acceptance rate is ~55% (as of 2020), and the class size comes in at about 2,000 students.
- Beloit College (Beloit, WI) – has the same GPA as Rollins at 3.3 and an acceptance rate of ~56% (as of 2020). Again, if you have straight B’s throughout high school, then you have passed the threshold. The enrollment is much smaller at ~1,200 students.
- Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN) – has a higher GPA at ~3.7, so you would need to have a mixture of A’s and B’s, more leaning to the side of A’s. If you have more B’s however, don’t fret, this doesn’t completely ruin your chances of getting in. The acceptance rate is at ~66% (as of 2020), but it is a men’s college, so sorry, ladies.
- Denison University (Granville, OH) – has a collective GPA of, wait for it, 3.7, so make sure you don’t have any C’s! The acceptance rate is ~33% (as of 2020), and enrollment has not been reported, apparently, but it does fall somewhere around 2,500.
- Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH) – has a collective, dazzling, outstanding GPA of 3.6 and an acceptance rate of ~40% (as of 2020). It’s enrollment rivals Denison University at 2,500.
- United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD) – I threw this one in here because the average GPA is 3.7, but it is very selective at an acceptance rate of ~9%. By no means does having good grades mean you’ll get in because it is very hard to get in.
That about finishes up our list of some of the liberal arts colleges for B students in the United States! As you can see, liberal arts colleges have very small undergraduate enrollment compared to most American universities, even the more selective ones.
One thing to remember about this list is that the GPAs I provided were unweighted (4.0 scale), meaning it’s hard to tell if the students took AP/IB/honors classes through high school. However, the schools listed are still schools that expect academic rigor.
Having an average of B’s in AP/IB/honors classes looks better than having an average of B’s in regular classes. Even though their GPAs tell that they got an average of B’s throughout high school, those could be B’s in more advanced classes.
I’ll say it again if you forgot my disclaimer, but you are not limited to this list. GPA is not the only part, and dare I say the most important part of your application. GPA and other stats (like SAT/ACT scores) are just thresholds that are important to meet.
A college (I hope) wouldn’t throw your application away just because your GPA is a little below their average. And don’t just pick a school because you feel it is the only one you are qualified for.
What I’m trying to say here is that you should choose which college feels right for you because you’ll be spending years at that school. Choose which school you think will make you flourish; I wish you the best of luck!
small liberal arts colleges for b students
It’s never too early to start thinking about college. And, if you’re a prospective liberal arts student, it’s even better. Here are ten colleges that offer an excellent education in the liberal arts and have high acceptance rates.
1. Wabash College
Founded in 1832, Wabash College is a private liberal arts college for men in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Wabash College has an acceptance rate of 63%. It is ranked #55 among the best National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News & World Report. Wabash College is a selective, private liberal arts college that welcomes students who want to explore and discover new things.
Students at Wabash will experience one of the country’s most rigorous and demanding curricula while also having unmatched leadership development and research opportunities.
2. Wheaton College – Illinois
Founded in 1860, Wheaton College is a private, Christian liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois. Abolitionist and philanthropist Dr. Charles A. Blanchard set up the school, and it was recognized as one of the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts colleges.
The college is home to more than 2,700 undergraduate students who pursue an education in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, along with pre-professional programs and several graduate degrees.
The acceptance rate at Wheaton College is 87%. The school’s competitive admission rate means many students work hard to get their applications in before the deadline.
Wheaton College is also home to the Billy Graham Center Archives, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of materials related to evangelist Billy Graham. Despite its religious affiliation, Wheaton College does not discriminate based on race or ethnicity. Students come from all 50 states and more than 80 countries.
Check out Wheaton College If you want to attend top Liberal colleges with high acceptance rates.
3. Furman University
There are many reasons to attend a liberal arts college. First, they provide a well-rounded educational experience, which will help you gain skills in critical thinking and effective communication.
Furman University is one of the best liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates. Founded in 1826, Furman University is a top-quality private liberal arts school in Greenville, South Carolina. The institution was named after the clergyman Richard Furman.
The college has an impressive 9:1 student-faculty ratio, meaning it is easier for the professors to know the students’ names in this class. In addition, the small class brings a close bond with faculty resulting in individualized attention to each student.
Furman also has a 98% placement success rate after graduation, so you can be confident that if you graduate from this school, you’ll be able to find employment quickly and start making an impact on society!
4. DePauw University
With an acceptance rate of 68%, DePauw is among the country’s top liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates.
DePauw is a distinguished university based in Greencastle, Indiana. It was established as Indiana Asbury University by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1837. After receiving a sizable grant from industrialist and philanthropist Green P. DePauw, who passed away that same year, they changed the school’s name to DePauw University on March 17th, 1893.
DePauw is excellent for economics, communications, languages and literature, history, political science, and psychology students.
The university provides its students with a private liberal arts education emphasizing close student-faculty interaction at all levels of undergraduate study.
The acceptance rate of DePauw is 68%, with admission relatively competitive. The student-faculty ratio is 9:1, with 85.4% of its classes having fewer than 20 students.
5. Wittenberg University
Founded in 1845, Wittenberg University is a private liberal arts college in Springfield, Ohio. The Evangelical Lutheran Church set up the school.
Wittenberg University is affiliated with the ELCA and the NCAA Division III. The university has an acceptance rate of 97%.
Wittenberg University enrolls 2,000 students from across the United States and over 40 countries. The student-faculty ratio at Wittenberg is 11:1, and the average class size is 20 students. The university offers over 50 majors and minors and pre-professional programs in law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and more.
Wittenberg University has a solid commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Students have opportunities to participate in service projects on and off campus through organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Salvation Army. In addition, Wittenberg is one of the best Liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates.
6. Bethel University – Indiana
Established in 1947, Bethel University is a private Christian university in Mishawaka, Indiana. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, with 65.1% of its classes having fewer than 20 students.
The school has an acceptance rate of 93%. Undoubtedly, Bethel University is among the best Liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates and top-quality degree programs.
The school’s most popular majors are English Language and Literature/Letters; Psychology; Speech Communication and Rhetoric; Nursing/Registered Nurse; General Social Sciences; Biology/Biological Sciences; Education.
The cost of attendance for the 2022-2023 academic year was $32,040. To apply, students should submit the Common Application or Coalition Application. Early decision applications are due November 1st, and regular decision applications are due February 1st.
7. Covenant College
Ranked #147 in the best National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News & World Report, Covenant is one of the liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates.
Covenant College is a small Christian liberal arts college located in Lookout Mountain, GA. With an acceptance rate of 98%, Covenant College offers high-quality education to those who have demonstrated a commitment to their faith and community service.
Covenant colleges’ quality of higher education is an attestation of its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
The total undergraduate enrollment at this school was 500 as of last fall. The top majors offered at this institution are Business Administration, Biology/Biological Sciences, Psychology, Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education, and English Language & Literature/Letters.
8. Heritage University
Founded in 1978, Heritage College was established by Dr. Edna Andrews and her husband, Dr. James Howard Andrews, to help meet the needs of rural Alaska Natives for an affordable college education.
In 1995, the school changed its name to Heritage University after becoming accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWAC). It is located in Palma, about 120 miles southeast of Anchorage, just off the Glenn Highway.
With an enrollment of around 650 students, Heritage offers bachelor’s degrees in art, business administration; environmental sciences; fine arts/graphic design; general studies; healthcare administration; humanities/liberal arts; justice studies/criminology; nursing science, and management information systems.
The university is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level. And also one of the liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates.
9. Evangel University
Evangel University is the perfect place if you’re looking for a school that takes your academic abilities seriously. Evangel College offers several majors and degree programs to fit your educational needs.
The small class sizes allow for more one-on-one time with professors, which can be invaluable in learning. One of the best benefits of this college is that it has some of the highest acceptance rates compared to other colleges and universities in Missouri.
Evangel University also has high student retention rates, meaning students have an easier time adjusting socially when on campus. As a result, Evangel University may be the best choice for you if you’re looking for liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates.
10. Transylvania University
Founded in 1780, Transylvania is a small liberal arts university in Lexington, Kentucky. It has an acceptance rate of 92%, and tuition costs $43,670 per year. The school stands as one of the first universities in Kentucky.
Transylvania University offers 46 degree programs and engineering majors, including Psychology, Neuroscience, Biology, Environmental Science, and Graphic Design. There are also many options for study abroad programs available to students on campus or in other countries such as China or Costa Rica.
Transylvania University is ranked #102 among the best National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News & World Report. The school has a total undergraduate enrollment of 971. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, with 65.5% of its classes having fewer than 20 students. Consider Transylvania University if you are looking for Liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates to increase your chance of getting into college.
11. Whitworth University
Whitworth University, located in Spokane, Washington, is a private liberal arts college with an acceptance rate of 91%.
Founded in 1890, Whitworth University had a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,307 last fall. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, with 57.7% of its classes having fewer than 20 students.
The school has an excellent reputation in the Northwest and offers various academic programs. Students can choose from over 80 majors, including business, education, engineering, nursing, and theatre. The school also has a robust athletic program and competes in the NCAA Division III.
If you are looking for Liberal arts colleges with high acceptance rates, consider Whitworth University.
Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges
There are many reasons to consider a liberal arts college, and one is value. A liberal arts education can be costly, so choosing a school that offers a good quality education at an affordable price with a good ROI is essential.
Here are some of the best-value liberal arts colleges in the country:
- Amherst College
- Williams College
- Swarthmore College
- Bowdoin College
- Carleton College
- Clark University
- Colby College
- Connecticut College
best liberal arts colleges for international students
1. Bryn Mawr College
2. Claremont McKenna College
3. Mount Holyoke College
4. Smith College
5. Swarthmore College
6. Williams College
7. Wellesley College
8. Grinnell College
9. Middlebury College
10. Macalester College
11. Amherst College
12. Franklin & Marshall College
Something different: that’s the reason behind many international students’ growing interest in liberal arts colleges. It offers them an education with a broader base, says Paul Thiboutot, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at Carleton College, a small private school in Northfield, MN. “That’s growing in value among many nations’ applicants because that is not an alternative readily available in their home countries.”
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Wang didn’t get into either of her dream schools – she is now a freshman at the College of William & Mary. But she was less surprised by not getting into her top picks than she was by the fierce admissions competition among international students. At Grinnell College, for example, a private liberal arts school in Iowa, only 97 out of 2,590 international applicants were admitted this year, says Joseph Bagnoli Jr., vice president for enrollment and dean of admission and financial aid.
According to Bagnoli, the number of international applications has grown by 73% over the past three years, from about 1,500 applications in 2013 to nearly 2,600 in 2016. Based on the school’s capacity and policies to maintain diversity, Grinnell College tries to keep a population comprised of around 20% international students, and the number of students from an individual country should not exceed one third of the entire international student body.
The situation is the result of both the colleges’ missions and students’ personal demands. “There isn’t enough capacity in there [liberal arts schools],” says Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor to the president of the nonprofit Institute of International Education (IIE). “Big research universities accept much higher numbers because they have much higher capacity.”
Almost 1 million international students were enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions in the school year of 2014-15, increasing by 10% over the previous year, according to the IIE. Those who pursue a degree in a baccalaureate college, or liberal arts colleges, rather than a large research institution, is still a small amount of the whole community – only 3.7% in the 2014. But this small group is expanding, as the number of those students increased by 8.8% from 2013.