Your vote for "Most Underappreciated" lesser known colleges?

Perhaps Olin chooses to remain under the radar so they don’t have to grow the size of the university. They are busy with their mission of collaborating with industry and other universities about revolutionizing the educational process. That way their long-term impact is more significant.

Public LACs seem to be under-noticed/appreciated/recommended on these forums.
That is in contrast to the strong advocacy of private LACs on these forums.

Thank you again! Public LACs list is very interesting. Just took a quick look and it appears there may are some real gems here we may not be aware of. Check out St Mary’s @ Yes, it is a public school with a great student faculty ratio of 10:1!

My guess is this problem is symptomatic of almost all small schools, public or private. It would be really nice to hear more CC conversation for students who don’t fit the HYP profile as information on these schools is more difficult to find.

If you are interested in marine engineering and ocean studies, look at Maine Maritime Academy @ It is public and on the coast of Maine.

If you are interested in environmental studies, interdisciplinary thinking and much more visit the College of The Atlantic in Bar Harbor Maine @ This private school has a 10:1 student faculty ratio and a beautiful location.

Unity College in Unity Maine has 17 environmental majors and a pathfinders program for first-year students who want to learn more about their career options before making a choice. See This private college is really in the country, but not on the ocean. The student faculty ratio is 15:1.

Yes, I live in Maine. It is a good place to study nature.


I wholeheartedly endorse St. Mary’s (SMCM) College of Maryland as a hidden gem. I am an alumna; my daughter currently attends and S18 was recently accepted. The quality of education at SMCM easily rivals that of the E-LACs and without all the stresses of such a higly competitive environment. In recent years, SMCM has added many programs, particularly those that focus on study abroad programs and internship opportunities. The school is very popular with students from the DC and Baltimore suburbs, but virtually unheard of outside the region. It’s a shame because even the OOS tuition is more affordable than many of the private LACs or universities.

@pbarhug probably a dumb question, but is SMCM ok with (quiet) atheists? I know other Catholic colleges say they’re open to all faiths and non faiths, but just wondering what your daughter’s input might be on that? Thanks.

@JeanJeanie SMCM is a public college not a private Catholic school so atheists and everyone else is welcome! In the Maryland public university/college system, SMCM is targeted as a small honors college with a liberal arts focus.

It’s located in historic St. Mary’s City in Maryland, hence the name.

Oh geez. I was looking at the St. Mary’s in California (where we are), assuming it was a Western campus of SMCM! :slight_smile: Thanks for the clarification @doschicos @prodesse

I really think St. Mary’s College of Maryland would do well to change its name. There are too many St. Mary’s and similar, including Mount St. Mary’s in the same state. All they need is a donor who wants naming rights, like Duke University, right?

“There are too many St. Mary’s…”

There is also a Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a Saint Mary’s College in (just in case we aren’t already confused enough) Notre Dame, Indiana.

Saint Anselm in New Hampshire - every alumni I meet is sooo nice! Must be something in the food they got fed there!

@Momtofourkids thanks, I’d not heard of that one!

Hendrix College (Arkansas), Luther College (Iowa), Cornell College (Iowa), Austin College (Texas)

Cornell is one of the Colleges That Change Lives; not sure that’s really under the radar anymore.

For non-black people, any historically black school.

@ucbalumnus: amen!

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

For more info about SRU, check out an upperclassmen’s opinionated video about our university:

Augustana college in Illinois. Strong peers, CTCL type college.

Hendrix College in Arkansas is a hidden gem. Beautiful campus, strong academics, great dining hall, and not nearly as quirky as some books suggested.

Beloit College (Wisconsin).

  • A "College that Changes Lives".
  • Small; near Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee.
  • Great opportunities for summer grants; has programs to help with internships or creating your own project.
  • You get a mentor as a freshman.
  • Has entrepreneurship program including a building downtown for students to use to develop their business ideas.
  • Brand-new science center.
  • I believe about 14% of students are international students.
  • Many students study abroad.
  • Nice campus; they are currently building a new student center.
  • Known for Anthropology program and museum.
  • Many students double major/major and double minor (because credits overlap).
  • Roommates matched by hand based off of a form about personality, music preferences, interests.
  • Themed housing.
  • "First Year Initiatives" courses for first semester; a kind of introduction to college thinking and how classes work. You choose from a list and this class doesn't have to be related to your major; just something you are interested in.
  • The general ed requirements are looser then at most colleges; allows you to take classes that interest you.
  • Small class sizes and many students call professors by their first names.