Pennsylvania has dozens of notable private liberal arts colleges and universities located throughout the state, as well as many publicly supported community colleges and universities. The sizes of these colleges vary from large research universities, with student sizes more than 39,000, to midsize colleges and small liberal arts schools with around 2,000 students. Many of Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities are located in the major cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The state supports both the Commonwealth System of Higher Education, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Albright College is committed to giving students an education that focuses on both academics and service. Albright allows students to have concentrations that combine two or more majors into one custom major and offers over 60 majors and concentrations for students to choose from. This is a moderately selective college about 45 miles outside of Philadelphia.
Allegheny College in Meadville, PA is most widely known for its Performing Arts and Music program. Allegheny College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, updating their profile and status every ten years to ensure optimal education for students. Over 85% of the student body resides on campus, maintaining the community-like setting amongst the students, and Greek Life is an available option for students as well.
Bryn Athyn College of the New Church, located just 20 miles from the city of Philadelphia, is a small liberal arts school affiliated with the General Church of the New Jerusalem. The school is one of the smallest in the country, with only about 250 students, though these students are provided with a diverse and well-rounded educational experience. It is moderately selective and about 60 percent of the students live on campus.
Bryn Mawr College is one of the top women’s colleges in the nation. Bryn Mawr is a member of the Tri-College Consortium with Swarthmore and Haverford and is a moderately selective college.
Bucknell University is a top liberal arts school offering approximately 50 majors and more than 60 minors. It has top-notch academic programs in management, engineering, music and education. This college has a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio and is highly selective. Bucknell’s pre-law and pre-med courses are quite popular.
Dickinson College was chartered in 1783 and named in honor of a signer of the Constitution. At Dickinson College, athletics are a big part of student life; students are encouraged to go out into the wider world and be actively engaged, think differently, and act boldly. It has a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio and an average class size of 17. Dickinson is a moderately selective college and is located in the quaint small town of Carlisle, PA. For a detailed comparison between Dickinson and Gettysburg, visit this page.
Franklin & Marshall College has a unique hands-on approach to education with about two-thirds of the students engaging in research under faculty guidance. Popular majors offered by the college are Biology, Business Administration, Creative Writing, Economics, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Political Science and Psychology. Franklin & Marshall has a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio and is a moderately selective college.
Gettysburg College provides an education that involves a rigorous liberal arts curriculum along with a strong science curriculum. Located in the historic town of Gettysburg, PA, this college has a lot to offer its students in terms of rewarding social and educational experiences with a new athletic center, a music conservatory, a professional performing arts center and an institute on public policy. To read an exclusive, in-depth comparison between Gettysburg and Dickinson, go here.
Grove City College is a four year liberal arts school, connected to the Christian Church, that also offers a variety of professional degree programs. Grove City College offers a unique residential setting for students to grow into mature, independent professionals, well prepared for the outside world. Since over 90% of students live on campus, many prefer to live in one of the residence dorms, townhouses or apartment complexes in order to be close to classrooms and campus events.
Haverford College is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation. Haverford students have the opportunity to take classes at Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania. This school has a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences. This is a highly selective college, and the retention rate of over 95 percent speaks volumes about the Haverford students’ happiness.
Juniata College is a moderately selective school in Hunterdon, PA. It is known for its Program of Emphasis, which allows students to create their own course program based on their individual career paths to ensure that they have all the skills and knowledge necessary to become indispensable to employers. On campus grounds, students can find a wide array of housing developments, dining options and wellness centers.
Lafayette College believes in providing quality education to its students, and with a 11 to 1 student to faculty ratio, a good amount of student-teacher interaction is ensured. This college has several engineering programs in addition to traditional liberal arts and sciences. Lafayette’s academic excellence in the liberal arts has led to the establishment of a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in the institution.
Lycoming College is associated with the United Methodist Church. This College enrolls just under 1,500 undergraduate students who can choose from over 35 majors such as Accounting, European History and Religion, in addition to contemporary majors such as actuarial mathematics. This is a moderately selective college located in Williamsport, PA.
Moravian College offers students a diverse learning experience that incorporates the liberal arts education into their daily lives. Students are offered the opportunity to study on or off campus through the home-schooling program, distance learning program, study abroad or the traditional classroom setting. The student body of Moravian College consists of students from over 20 states and 15 foreign countries. This college has a relatively high acceptance rate.
Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA offers a high quality private education through its liberal arts based curriculum with a well-balanced assortment of science and human studies. The Drama and Theatre Department established at Muhlenberg College has achieved national recognition over the years. Muhlenberg holds a strong affiliation to the Lutheran Church.
St. Vincent College is deeply rooted in the Catholic faith and the Benedictine monasticism. St. Vincent offers students over 40 majors and over 35 minors to choose from for their course of study. Among these majors include International Business, Pre-law, and Public Policy. This is a moderately selective college in Latrobe, PA, about 40 miles from Pittsburgh.
Susquehanna University, a moderately selective liberal arts school in Selinsgrove, PA, has a strong affiliation with its Lutheran heritage. The school is ideal for students looking to fulfill the balance between city life and quiet study time amongst the nature landscapes. Located in the Susquehanna River Valley, this gives the campus easy access to the main cities such as Harrisburg.
Swarthmore College is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, widely recognized for its rigorous academics. Swarthmore has a very good student to faculty ratio of 8 to 1, and one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country. Swarthmore belongs to the Tri-College Consortium along with Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Students at Swarthmore can also opt for cross-enrollment with the University of Pennsylvania. To read an in-depth comparison between Swarthmore College and Bowdoin College, see this page.
Ursinus College ensures their students will have a well-rounded and diverse education, as the student body at this school comes from over 35 states and 12 countries. The unique “First Year Experience” program allows incoming students to be actively involved on campus. Ursinus is a moderately selective college.
Washington and Jefferson College encourages students to embrace diversity, difference and eternal change for the betterment of future liberties. The school accepts and welcomes international students and encourage students to get involved with the study abroad programs to gain knowledge of other cultures. Located in Washington, PA, this is a relatively selective college.
Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA encourages its students to get involved with their surroundings and community, all while actively participating in their own education. Westminster holds the Judeo-Christian tradition in high regard when educating students in and out of the classroom. This is a moderately selective college.