Colleges like Swarthmore


I’m an engineering major looking for a liberal arts/liberal arts feel college like Swarthmore that is much less competitive. I’m hoping to find one with around a 25-50% acceptance rate, that has an engineering major, not a 3/2 program (preferably with specialization options).

Unfortunately, few LACs have their own engineering major, let alone specializations: most do offer a 3-2 program, however, you’ve said you don’t want to do one. Some private universities on the smaller-side (1K-2K students per year) that offer engineering are CWRU (apply EA to maximize your chances, unless you’re applying to their BS/MD program, as they consider demonstrated interest) and the University of Rochester. Your state university’s honors program is also a good choice if you want to have smaller class sizes, but also the resources of a large research university and the lower in-state tuition cost.

Also note that most smaller schools tend to be private schools, and while both CWRU and UofR are generous with partial-tuition scholarships, you can expect to pay 30-50K per year after scholarships, unless you receive an extremely competitive full-tuition scholarship, or major financial aid.

Are you a National Merit Semi-Finalist? If so, there are a plethora of colleges (primarily public, but with strong honors programs w/small class sizes,) that offer full-tuition and full-ride/COA scholarships.

Hope this helps! Good luck with admissions!

No I’m not a Semi-finalist… I missed the cutoff by 3.

Look at Bucknell, Lehigh (not really an LAC but some similarities), Lafayette, Trinity (CT) and Union (NY). U Richmond has a 3+1 engineering option with UVA, so at least you won’t pay for 5 years of undergrad for that.

Good luck.

@alamere If you’re female, check out Smith.

I’m nonbinary but amab so I don’t think I qualify for Smith.

Do any of these give merit aid?

Go to their websites and look. Also run the net price calculators.

Okay, I’ve ruled out Cooper cause the students are apparently very transphobic/homophobic, Lafayette and Richmond because of location, and Trinity due to other factors so that leaves Bucknell and Lehigh. Thank you all!

Clarkson could be a good one to look at.

Why is Lafayette’s location bad if Lehigh’s is okay? They’re only 15 miles apart…

I believe the recommendation was for Union College in Schenectady, not Cooper Union. Definitely worth a look in the LAC-with-engineering category.

Also, consider some of the smaller flagships with a little more of an LAC feel, that still have engineering programs. UVM, SUNY Binghamton, U of Maine.

Miami of Ohio is a little bigger but still not overwhelmingly large, and it has that whole “Public Ivy” ambience that feels more LAC-like than most publics. They have guaranteed merit based on stats - you can look up the grid and see what you’d get.

Are you a PA resident? IUP Cook Honors offers an LAC-like experience. There’s only one ABET-accredited engineering major, in Environmental Engineering, but if that appeals, it’s a very affordable option with a great cohort program in the honors college.

Oh I misinterpreted oops! I googled Lafeyette and it showed Louisiana. Sorry bout that! Yeah, that’s also on the list. And I’m a CA resident, but I used to live in Delaware so I’m comfortable with PA culture.

Yeah Union college student body has a loud homophobic minority as per my research.

Then there are the small Catholic universities with engineering. Are you interested in the west coast? Loyola Marymount in LA is ABET-accredited for engineering now. Santa Clara University, U of San Diego, U of Portland, Seattle U - all quite LGBTQ-friendly in spite of the religious affiliation, and all relatively small and LAC-ish.

TCNJ in New Jersey could be another one to look at - public LAC with an engineering program.

I’ve been into Seattle University, but at the same time don’t want to go to the college that my cousin is going to. I know that might seem like a lame reason…
Also already applying to SCU.

The cousin situation is certainly something to weigh when you’re making a final decision, but maybe not a good reason not to apply at all.

PNW-wise, WWU in Bellingham could be worth a look too - nice manageable size and quite affordable if you can get the WUE reciprocity rate (“Recipients have a 3.6 GPA and a 24 ACT or 1180 SAT on average and have taken rigorous coursework throughout high school”)

If I’m way above that range, is it safe to say that I could get that scholarship?

I would think the odds would be good if you’re well above those thresholds and also apply as early as possible - definitely by the November 1st EA deadline, but the earlier the better even before that, as they evaluate applications on a rolling basis. Oddly, the stats described on the WUE site are quite a bit higher than the ones on the WWU website (3.9 GPA and a 30 ACT or 1400 SAT), but hopefully that’s not out of range for you. Not sure why the big discrepancy but I suspect it’s the lower numbers that are out of date.

(This is the page I got the lower numbers from )

At any rate, it would certainly be worth floating an early application if you’re interested in the school. It seems good in terms of LGBTQ stuff - hosts an annual “Queer Con” and seems to have an active LGBTQ+ community. WWU also has a very cool industrial design program, if your engineering interests tend toward the design aspects.

If you’re a CA resident, while it may not be a LAC, CA has some of the best universities in the US, so I highly, highly recommend that you still apply to multiple of them (not just Berkeley/LA, but matches/safeties as well) so that you have more affordable options than LACs, which are typically private (I think Fl has a LAC that is public.)

Huh. It has a 4.5 Pride index, but that usually indicates that activities of the college itself rather than the student body.