Rank NESCAC schools please!

Can you rank all the NESCAC colleges based on their reputation, prestige and name recognition by employers (in the business industry)? Also, which campus has the biggest LGBTQ+ community and is best known for being gay-friendly?

I also would like to know which ones are known for being preppy and laid-back?

IMO (not based on any rankings)…for business (assuming you mean econ major?) first group = Williams, Bowdoin, Hamilton. Then Amherst, Trinity, Conn College, maybe Colby and Middlebury. You can go in to business from any of the NESCACs.

They all seem to be LGBTQ friendly, hopefully others will weigh in.

I would not call any of them laid back…most are work hard/play hard…academics are difficult, and all have party scenes centered around alcohol.

Hamilton and Wesleyan (maybe Bates too) have relatively more artsy students, again just my subjective perception.

No. All you will get are personal opinions and those might not match your personal opinion.

By business do you mean finance/banking? Business is quite broad. In any case Williams and Amherst have exceptional career alumni networks and a large portion of kids at both schools find employment through them.
Wesleyan is very LGBTQ friendly.


I don’t know exactly yet but I would like to end up at big financial firms hopefully in NYC.

yeah, I get that, I just wanted to know what other’s opinions are.

Wesleyan and Tufts are the best options for large dating pools. Both have fairly sizable queer communities, partly because they’re the largest NESCAC schools. Tufts’ proximity to other colleges is also a plus.

As a general rule of thumb, small rural LACs tend to have noticeably smaller dating pools.

@kim12345678ng: If you care to say, did you decide not to submit an ED II application?

@merc81 yep I wasn’t confident I could commit to anywhere for ED II.

In my opinion, Williams, Middlebury and Hamilton are best for biz.

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Trinity has long been a feeder school to Wall Street. The Econ department is well respected. The urban location in a state capital city offers ample opportunity for internships. NYC is a short drive away. Trinity has become increasingly diverse thanks to the only African American female president in NESCAC ( she is a neuroscientist) and commitment from the Director of Admission, a latino.
I will say that Wesleyan is very LBGTQ friendly and comes with an excellent reputation academically.

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Here is how I would rank the NESCAC schools based on reputation / prestige. I’ve included admitted median SAT scores in parentheses for the most recent class of 2023 (you can double-check for accuracy), and noted the schools that are test optional.

Tier 1: Williams (1480), Amherst (1490)
Tier 2: Hamilton (1490), Tufts (1490), Bowdoin (1485 – test optional)
Tier 3: Middlebury (1425), Wesleyan (1490 – test optional)
Tier 4: Bates (1425), Colby (1460) - (both test optional)
Tier 5: Trinity (1335), Connecticut College (1365) - (both test optional)

Besides US News and other more common ranking websites, below are a few sites that appear to place an emphasis on reputation, selectivity and prestige. A number of these NESCAC schools (e.g., Williams, Amherst, Hamilton, Tufts, Bowdoin) are ranked on par with some of the Ivy League schools (or similar).

2020 College Factual (Overall ranking of the 1,727 best colleges nationally)

14 - Williams

21 - Hamilton

25 – Bowdoin

29 – Amherst

41 – Middlebury

52 – Tufts

54 – Wesleyan

64 – Bates

83 – Colby

90 – Trinity

136 – Connecticut College

2020 College Raptor (50 best colleges)

10 – Williams

29 – Amherst

38 – Tufts

44 – Hamilton

49 – Bowdoin

2020 Ranker (Top 100 elite schools)

2 – Williams

6 – Amherst

12 – Bowdoin

15 – Hamilton

23 – Colby

30 – Middlebury

40 – Tufts

42 – Bates

47 – Wesleyan

85 – Trinity


College Raptor also compiled a list of its top 25 liberal arts colleges in the country for 2020. Six of the eleven NESCAC schools appear in the top 25. Hope this is helpful!

2020 Ranking | Top 25 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the US

1 - Williams

6 - Amherst

11 - Hamilton

13 - Bowdoin

15 - Colby

16 - Middlebury

Re #13, note that there are only 10 NESCAC LACs, however.

Based on your stated interset, Wesleyan University may be the best choice for you.

With respect to ranking the schools, it isn’t really necessary as they all are very highly regarded academically. However, it might be helpful to rank them according to retention rate of freshmen who return for their sophomore year.






Trinity College
Conn College

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@merc81 Did you forget Tufts? Tufts at 3 times the size of most other NESCAC college undergraduate populations is occasionally forgotten among the NESCACs.

Although it is in NESCAC, Tufts is a university, not a LAC.

There are 11 NESCAC’s:
(perhaps @merc81 is saying Tufts isn’t a LAC and that’s what they mean that there are 10 NESCAC LACs?)

Amherst College
Bates College
Bowdoin College
Colby College
Connecticut College
Hamilton College
Middlebury College
Trinity College
Tufts University
Wesleyan University
Williams College

Williams is consistently ranked at the top and has been for 20 years. Amherst is a close second.

Note, Vassar is not a NESCAC.

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Fair enough, but what’s the purpose of that distinction in this thread?