New England is a section of America known for its beauty, its culture and its isolation. It is one of the best places to go to if you need to get away from the cities and there is no better getaway opportunity available than to go to New England for college. It helps that some of the top-rated schools in the country are in this area and are an absolute joy to attend if you can get into them. Listed from south to north, here are the fifteen best colleges in New England that you absolutely must go to.
1. Yale University
Let’s start this list with somewhere obvious. As an Ivy League school, Yale offers academics and sports like no other private school. It is particularly known for its basketball and football teams, the latter of which has been around since the late 19th century. That’s not surprising though considering the university itself was chartered in 1701! This is prevalent in the architecture which combines gothic revival with colonial-era brick. Since the school is so highly revered and full of history, many famous people are alumni, including but not limited to: five U.S. presidents, four international presidents, two prime ministers, Sinclair Lewis, Nupita Nyong’o, Benoit Mandelbrot and many more. If you have the opportunity to go to this school, take it.
2. Quinnipiac University
Quinnipiac is immediately distinguished by its spacious center grounds, its brick buildings and the surrounding mountainous terrain. Needless to say, hikers will get a lot of mileage by going here. In the academic sector, classes are tiny compared to most schools, which translates into better conversations and more a more fun learning experience. And as for its location within within the greater United States? Quinnipiac offers a good midway point between New York City and Boston, a connection between the mid-Atlantic and New England like nowhere else.
3. The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth)
One can only hope you like concrete. UMass Dartmouth is not known for having the prettiest campus by modern standards. Indeed, its brutalist style has landed it straight on several ugly campuses lists online. But let’s ignore that. Looks are only superficial; if the rest of the experience is good, then they don’t matter. And indeed, they really don’t here. The school’s diverse student body, sense of community and easy-going attitude towards class makes going there a fun experience for anyone who gives it a shot.
4. Brown University
Yet another Ivy League school although this one is more known for its left-wing activist culture and relatively easy-going attitude towards the student’s academic lives. But with an acceptance rate of 9%, you bet it’s going to be easier staying in this school than getting into it! One other thing that people will talk about: how incredibly hard it is to get off-campus housing. That’s probably to be expected, being in a city and whatnot. But nonetheless, with plenty of diversity in students and available classes, there’s much to like here that’ll make up for it.
5. The University of Connecticut, Storrs (UConn)
UConn is perhaps one of the most well-known universities from the area that’s not an Ivy League school. The campus is spectacular and grand but something else that needs to be mentioned is the women’s basketball team which holds the record for longest winning streak in college basketball history at 111! If you are in the area at all, you need to see them play at least once.
6. Northeastern University
Northeastern University is the definition of a city college. It’s located directly in the heart of Boston and it has two subway lines running nearby so students can always reach another part of the area if they’d like. Granted, it’s still a closed-off space so integration within the city is not one hundred percent. Nonetheless, if you want to really meld in with natives, then this is the place to go.
7. Boston University (BU)
Located in the city of Boston itself, Boston University has served an incredibly important number of people throughout the years including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander Graham Bell and many others. People tend to describe the school as progressive and happy-go-lucky. But be aware that, as with everything Boston, tuition is costly so have financial aid ready if you need it.
8. Brandeis University
Known for being one of the few Jewish universities in the United States (complete with a Hebrew motto), Brandeis has also made appearance in lists for what is considered by some to be an ugly campus. Don’t listen to those people. This place is a safe, progressive powerhouse located twenty minutes away from Boston. It is definitely worth your application for best colleges in New England.
9. Harvard University
What’s really there to say about this one? Harvard is one of the most, if not the most, celebrated universities in the United States. Harvard is heavily associated with intelligence and/or money. Indeed, only 5% of applicants are admitted and the tuition and room & board combined equal around $70,000. If you have the opportunity and resources to go here; take a stab at it. This is a huge form of prestige for those who can get it.
10. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass)
If you’re looking for weirdness in your campus, then you have to go to UMass Amherst. Brutalist buildings that have been compared to “Soviet” style architecture are scattered all throughout. Just as striking is the bizarre but impressive W.E.B. Du Bois Library which holds the extremely specific honor of being the second-tallest library in the world. But look past the modernist architecture and you’ll see a progressive, sustainable school that gives you one of the best public educations you’ll get in the state.
11. The University of New Hampshire, Durham (UNH)
UNH Durham is located in one of the quaintest towns you’ll ever find during your college search. The campus matches this atmosphere by providing beautiful, grand buildings spread throughout a large, woodsy area. Of particular note is Thomson Hall, a Romanesque structure built in the center of campus that made the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a great site for taking pictures. Even if you never end up going here, the beauty of the area is worth seeing in person for best colleges in New England.
12. Bowdoin College
Bowdoin is an expensive, private liberal art college but trust us, it’s worth the price. Between the old school architecture and the high focus on academics, Bowdoin proves itself a true center for intellectual and academic study like no other in New England. One of the more interesting facts of the college is that standardised tests like the SAT/ACT are completely optional. Another interesting fact is that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote parts of Uncle Tom’s Cabin at the university. With this much history and beauty, why not check this place out for best colleges in New England?
13. Middlebury College
Middlebury is instantly recognisable by its beautiful brick architecture. It’s so quintessentially New England that, at times, you feel like you’re at a theme park rather than the actual geographical area. But what makes Middlebury notable is its unique practices and its academic successes. Among other things include an honor code students sign that allows tests to be taken without a proctor and a tradition of skiing as a final hoorah of sorts before graduation. Academically, the school is famous for its language immersion programs offered to grad and summer students. So if you want a kinda zany but architecturally stunning place to get your bachelor’s, then Middlebury is the college for you for best colleges in New England!
14. The University of Vermont (UVM)
Now this is a New England campus! Located about a five minute car ride away from Lake Champlain, UVM combines rustic, gothic architecture mixed with modern, progressive innovations that enhance the college experience to never before seen levels of fun and excitement. The school is known for its political side but with loads of green space on campus, there’s plenty of relaxation and cool contemplation to be found here as well. And if you’re bored, then there’s always a quick hop on the shuttle to downtown Burlington, the commercial and residential capital of Vermont, only located about two minutes away by car. Do not skip this place for best colleges in New England; you will regret it heavily if you do!
15. The University of Maine, Orono (UMaine)
If you want a cheap, beautiful but isolated college where you can chill out and study your hardest, then UMaine is willing and ready to accept your admission! It’s most well-known for former student Steven King but there’s much more to the place than its English department. It’s also very sustainable as it runs a composting program and a bike rental program among other things. On top of that, UMaine is possibly the best school in the state to do research in as shown by the high amount of spending by the university on it. It’s a long drive to get there, from any state, but it’s still worth checking out even so.
So what do you think of this list for best colleges in New England? Have any suggestions? Are you planning any visits soon? Leave your responses in the comments section below!
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Hi! I'm Tyler and I'm a sophomore student at the University of Vermont. I'm an English major and I'm minoring in French and Linguistics. I'm particularly interested in reading, writing, philosophy and the natural world (although the Internet is somewhere I hang out often too).