The 30 Best, Most Beautiful Small Colleges in America

Best Degree Programs - Most Beautiful Small CollegesBy Kristen Fescoe
Posted March, 2015

It’s true that while the primary focus of any college is academics, many students are realizing the value of a beautiful campus. In this article, we highlight 30 small schools that offer the best of both worlds: outstanding academic offerings and exceptional campus aesthetics. The schools we profile here are among the smallest in the country; they are also among the most charming, highest-achieving, and most accomplished.

For more about our how we selected these institutions, see our methodology page.

Ranking the Best of the Most Beautiful Small College Campuses in America

#30 – Hanover College – Hanover, Indiana

Hanover College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 3

Current Enrollment: 1,163

College Website

Hanover College is a top-notch private liberal arts college nestled just above the Ohio River. The college proclaims itself as one of the “nation’s most scenic campuses.” The curriculum offers a multidisciplinary approach to more than thirty majors and even the opportunity to a major that suits you personally. The school places a strong emphasis on the sciences (pre-med, environmental science, exercise science, psychology), education and business. Some of the benefits include:

  • A gorgeous 650-acre wooded campus setting that offers access to the nearby Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge and Clifty Falls State Park. This allows students the unique opportunity to study the environment.
  • All students enrolled in the Business Program graduate with an interest-specific, project-based internship.
  • Education Students participate in experiential learning in area classrooms in their sophomore and Junior year and graduate with both a specialty degree and a teaching certificate.

Average Annual Tuition: $33,023
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #113 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Aesthetics:
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#29 – Augustana College – Rock Island, Illinois

Augustana College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 3

Current Enrollment: 2,524

College Website 

Augustana College is a private liberal arts college located on a picturesque 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River. The school is choosy when admitting students, in keeping with the small-college feel. The school is set on a beautiful wooded campus, with a rolling river valley landscape and winding pathways throughout the campus. It is considered by students, faculty, and visitors alike to be an “oasis within the city.” The major focus at Augustana is to create an interdisciplinary, balanced academic experience for students inside the classroom and beyond. From the first day of their collegiate experience, Augustana provides students with the skills that will help them succeed academically and professionally. Students work closely with the faculty on special projects and research, as well as learning from visiting scholars and lecturers and international study opportunities. The “Augustana Community” gives students the chance to be more than scholars, with hundreds of student interest groups and activities, resources to grow personally, and outstanding NCAA Division III athletic programs. The school is proud to be ranked sixth in the nation among all colleges and universities for total number of Academic All-Americans.

Average Annual Tuition: $37,236
College Rankings:
US News and World Report #105 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
National Ranking Lists:
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses

#28 – College of the Atlantic – Bar Harbor, Maine

College of the Atlantic Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 3

Current Enrollment: 362

College Website

The College of the Atlantic is a small private liberal arts college in one of the most scenic towns in Maine. The school’s human ecological perspective “integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate — and ultimately improve — the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities.” This human ecological perspective directs all aspects of education, research, activism, and collaborations between the students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The college community encourages, educates and expects all students to gain the knowledge, range, standards, and experience required to achieve personal fulfillment and to help solve problems that face modern communities. The school is proud of its commitment to sustainability. COA has been recognized as one of the leading green colleges in the country.

Average Annual Tuition: $40,491
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report # Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #13 Best Value College
Princeton Review 2015 #3 Professors Get High Marks
Princeton Review 2015 #11 Their Students Love These Colleges
Princeton Review 2015 #14 Best Quality of Life
Princeton Review 2015 #15 Most Accessible Professors
Princeton Review 2015 Great Financial Aid
Princeton Review 2015 Green Colleges List
Accreditations: 
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Aesthetics:
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#27 – Eastern University – Saint David’s, Pennsylvania

Eastern University Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 4

Current Enrollment: 2,541

College Website 

Eastern University is a private, co-educational, comprehensive Christian university located near Philadelphia, in Saint David’s, Pennsylvania. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate programs throughout the five distinct Colleges. Eastern University is dedicated to “the preparation of undergraduate, theological and graduate students for thoughtful and productive lives of Christian faith, leadership and service.” The school is affiliated with the American Baptist Church of the United States and maintains an interdenominational Christian student body, faculty, and teaching philosophy. The main campus is set on over 100 acres of beautiful rolling landscape. The campus was originally a private estate, named Walmarthon, which was owned by the Walton family. The campus has grown through acquisition of surrounding buildings, including the Warner Memorial Library housed in the Harold Howard Center, The Mazie Hall African American History Room containing books and memorabilia from a local educator, and The Edison room, which houses several drawings and artifacts which belonged to Thomas Edison.

Average Annual Tuition: $2,541
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #98 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Aesthetics:
Christian University Online: 25 Most Beautiful Christian Universities

#26 – Covenant College – Lookout Mountain, Georgia

Covenant College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 4

Current Enrollment: 1,104

College Website 

Covenant College is a Christian liberal arts college founded in 1955. The school has a universal mission to “explore and express the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things.” The campus is nestled in beautiful Lookout Mountain, on the border between Georgia and Tennessee. The 400-acre campus stretches across Lookout Mountain, Georgia, with incredible views of the Smoky Mountains and views that span seven states. The campus is in close proximity to metropolitan Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga was named one of the “45 Places to Go in 2012” by The New York Times, placing twenty-fifth on a list that included Tokyo, Wales, and outer space. Located a short 15 minutes from campus, Chattanooga’s business community and nationally-recognized outdoor lifestyle make the city an excellent location for students and recent graduates to connect and gain internship experience, while enjoying the fun and affordability of Chattanooga’s flourishing downtown. The surrounding terrain offers many recreational opportunities for the outdoor-loving student. There are extreme sports such as rock climbing, hang-gliding, and white-water rafting, along with more conventional activities like hiking and camping.

Average Annual Tuition: $30,160
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #6 Best College in the Southern Region of the United States
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Christian University Online: 25 Most Beautiful Christian Universities

#25 – St. Olaf College – Northfield, Minnesota

St. Olaf College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 4

Current Enrollment: 2,989

College Website 

Norwegian Lutheran immigrants established St. Olaf College in 1874. The school has evolved into a nationally-ranked liberal arts college with ties to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. St. Olaf offers a unique educational experience based in academic rigor, residential learning, global involvement, and the vibrancy of the Lutheran faith tradition. What sets St. Olaf apart is unique combination of features:

  • An intense academic program that sharpens minds and an emphasis on a global perspective that broadens them
  • The vitality of a residential community that engages thoughtful people across the full range of human experience
  • A faith tradition that encourages reflection and honors different perspectives

Northfield, Minnesota is a small historic river town of just 20,000 residents located in the southeastern part of Minnesota. Students can enjoy the small-town atmosphere while being a 45-minute drive to the Twin Cities and Minneapolis/ St. Paul (MSP) international airport. The Downtown area of Northfield is a short walk from campus, and has been restored to 19th-century glory with coffeehouses, sandwich shops, restaurants, gift stores, and local art galleries. The campus itself is known simply as “The Hill.” The College is set on a picturesque 300-acre campus and is home to 16 academic and administrative buildings, 30 student residences, and 10 athletic facilities. Ninety-three percent of students live in one of the 11 residence halls and 19 academic and special interest honor houses. Next to the campus are 325 acres of restored wetlands, woodlands, and native tall grass prairie, which are owned and cared for by St. Olaf. One of the green features of the school is a utility-grade wind turbine that supplies one-third of the college’s daily electrical needs.

Average Annual Tuition: $41,700
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #54 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #33 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Aesthetics:
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses

#24 – Bard College – Annandale on Hudson, New York

Bard College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 4

Current Enrollment: 2,022

College Website 

Bard College was originally founded as St. Stephen’s College in 1860, during a time of national crisis. Since that time, Bard has evolved into a thriving liberal arts college. Student life in Annandale is vibrant, with world-class performing arts venues, a plethora of student activities and various cultural and recreational opportunities in the surrounding historic Hudson River Valley and in New York City. The college offers more than 100 student clubs on campus, with new clubs beginning every semester. The beautiful rural setting is home to Bard’s undergraduate program and many of Bard institutes. Bard is considered a residential college, providing students with a world-class campus setting where students can pursue their academic interests and weave a meaningful social life. The campus was created out of a combination of two historic estates creating a park-like campus covering over 500 acres of fields and forested land bordering the Hudson River. The Catskill Mountains can be viewed to the west from many student residences and from the grounds and gardens of Blithewood. Students can also enjoy walking trails that cover the campus grounds through wooded areas, along the Saw Kill stream, and down to the river.

Average Annual Tuition: $48,240
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #48 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSACSC)
Aesthetics:
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#23 – Sewanee: The University of the South – Sewanee, Tennessee

Sewanee The University of the South Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 4

Current Enrollment: 1,620

College Website 

Students know Sewanee: The University of the South as simply “Sewanee.” The University offers a top-notch educational experience, remaining intentionally small with a dedication to creating a strong sense of community. Classes are taught by professors rather than graduate teaching assistants. Students enjoy close interaction with faculty members to ensure students a rich and personalized experience. The result of this customized education can be seen in the academic success of Sewanee students and alumni. The university has had 26 Rhodes Scholars, placing the school in the top four among American liberal arts colleges. There have also been 30 NCAA Postgraduate Fellows, 45 Watson Fellows, and dozens of Fulbright Scholars. The acceptance rate to graduate and professional schools far overreaches other Liberal Arts Colleges. The Sewanee campus overlooks the striking Tennessee Valley, which occupies 13,000 acres on the Cumberland Plateau. The campus includes several historic buildings constructed of materials faced with local stone, many in the traditional Gothic style.

Average Annual Tuition: $37,100
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #45 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#22 – Furman University – Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina

Furman University Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 4

Current Enrollment: 2,798

College Website 

Furman University is a private coeducational liberal arts college located in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, just north of Greenville. Founded in 1826, Furman is South Carolina’s oldest private university. The school enrolls approximately 2,700 undergraduate students. The campus is complete with sophisticated modern architecture seen in the many academic buildings and recreational and social facilities throughout the campus. The student housing options range from traditional dormitory style residences to more luxurious apartments. The 750-acre campus boasts a number of attractions including an Asian garden, a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin, the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, a historic Florentine bell tower, a spring-fed lake, 13 miles of paved trails through the woodlands for hiking and biking, and an 18-hole golf course. In recent years, Greenville has experienced a cultural and economic revival, leading to its placement on various lists of the nation’s best places to live. The downtown area is a major center of business and tourism, and businesses in the greater Greenville area provide a variety of internship, research, volunteer, and career opportunities for students at Furman. The University is located in close proximity to the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic beaches. The greater area of Travelers Rest and Greenville are home to many recreational and outdoor activities.

Average Annual Tuition: $44,668
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #51 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#21 – Point Loma Nazarene University – San Diego, California

Point Loma Nazarene University Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,556

College Website 

Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is a private Christian liberal arts college located on the Point Loma oceanfront in San Diego. The Church of the Nazarene founded the school in 1902 as a Bible college. PLNU is now better known for its “forward-thinking” philosophy in academics, faith, and community. Students at PLNU are benefit from this interdisciplinary approach to education; when graduating, they are “prepared to think, act, and contribute to the world.” The University offers more than 60 undergraduate areas of study and graduate training programs at regional centers throughout Southern California. Before serving as the home to Point Loma Nazarene University campus, the oceanfront location was home to a Theosophical commune known as “Lomaland.” In the early 1900s, the campus began to dominate with its Academy Building and the adjoining Temple of Peace of the Theosophical Society. The buildings throughout the college were mindfully designed and topped with beautiful amethyst domes, which are lighted at night and can be seen offshore. Two massive carved doors symbolizing the Theosophical Principles of “spiritual enlightenment and human potential” dominated the entrance to the Academy Building.

Average Annual Tuition: $31,406
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #16 Best College or University in the Western Region of the United States
US News and World Report #15 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Aesthetics:
Christian University Online: 25 Most Beautiful Christian Universities

#20 – Flagler College – Saint Augustine, Florida

Flagler College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,893

College Website 

Flagler College is a small private liberal arts college located in historic Saint Augustine, Florida. The highlight of the campus is the former Hotel Ponce de León, a beautiful hotel built in 1888 by Henry M. Flagler, industrialist, philanthropist, railroad pioneer, and land developer along the east coast of Florida. The presence of the Hotel Ponce de León is a reminder of the founder’s enterprise, effort and commitment to excellence. The college is committed to maintaining the splendor of the hotel as well as other historic structures found on its campus. The mission of Flagler College is to “educate and prepare students for productive careers, graduate and professional studies, and informed, responsible citizenship.” Students enrolled in the many majors are given a top-notch education in a supportive academic environment all while being surrounded in a historic, oceanside location and beautiful campus. The city of historic St. Augustine attracts explorers, vacationers, business innovators, and entrepreneurs to its shores.

Average Annual Tuition: $16,180
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #8 Best College or University in the Southern Region of the United States
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses

#19 – Agnes Scott College – Decatur, Georgia

Agnes Scott College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 915

College Website 

Agnes Scott College was founded in 1889 as an independent liberal arts college for women. The school is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of the United States and enrolls 915 women. The mission of the school is to educate women to “think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.” The school is located in Decatur, GA, which is just outside of the metropolitan city of Atlanta. Atlanta is home to a large number of colleges, which allows students the ability to access “cross registration” and social events with affiliate Atlanta and Georgia colleges such as Emory University, Georgia Tech and Georgia State. As a southern urban center, Atlanta offers Agnes Scott students top-notch arts and cultural events in its museums and theatres. Being so close to Atlanta also allows students the benefit of experiential, hands-on opportunities through internships while living on campuses, as well as the ability to begin a job search before graduating. Decatur itself is an historic city of “homes, schools and places of worship,” and is only minutes by car from Atlanta. The quaint college town offers eclectic shops and restaurants within easy walking distance. Just a few minutes’ walk and students have access to famous and up-and-coming singer/songwriters at Eddie’s Attic or have a picnic at one of Decatur’s concerts on the square.

Average Annual Tuition: $35,982
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #73 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #21 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#18 – Mount Holyoke College – South Hadley, Massachusetts

Mount Holyoke College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,183

College Website 

Mount Holyoke College is a private, selective, nondenominational, residential, research liberal arts college for women. The school is widely recognized for training women leaders, from medical pioneers to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights. The college is considered by many ranking bodies to be one of the country’s best institutions for undergraduate education. In the 2011 Princeton Review Guide, The Best 373 Colleges, Mount Holyoke ranked first in the category of “best classroom experience,” and boasted the #3 Most Politically Active Students, #7 Most Beautiful Campus and #9 in the eclectic category School Runs Like Butter. Mount Holyoke offers 50 departmental and interdepartmental majors with the option design your own major. Thirty-three percent of all majors are interdisciplinary. The campus includes a botanic garden, multiple lakes, waterfalls, tennis courts, stables and woodland riding trails, and Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. A unique independent bookstore, The Odyssey Bookshop, is located directly across from the campus in the college-owned Village Commons. Mount Holyoke has begun the “The Big Turn Off” energy conservation initiative and promotes green buildings with five LEED certified buildings on campus. The college has reduced its environmental impact by recycling 40 percent of waste and composting as well as using produce grown in the student-run organic garden in dining halls.

Average Annual Tuition: $42,656
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #41 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #28 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Aesthetics:
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses

#17 – Union College – Schenectady, New York

Union College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,246

College Website 

Union College was founded in 1795 as the first college chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York. The college is a small, residential, independent Liberal Arts College with a commitment to incorporating the humanities and social sciences with science and engineering in unique and creative ways. The college is proud to have a hospitable campus environment that supports each student’s personal and academic growth. Each student is given a variety of opportunities to find and pursue their passions, with the inspiration and support to participate in the local and global community through meaningful projects and volunteer work. The Union College campus sits upon 130 acres in downtown Schenectady, New York. Schenectady has a population of 60,000 and was founded by the Dutch in 1661. A French architect and landscape expert named Joseph Ramée designed the Union College campus plans in 1813, making it the first integrated campus plan in the country. The college is designed with a great central court with three sides lined with beautiful buildings and open space to the west. There is a beautiful historic pantheon that takes center stage. At the very center of the campus grounds stands Union’s most unique building, the distinctive Nott Memorial. The building was started in the 1850s and was not completed until 1875. “The Nott” is a cherished figure on the campus as well as a National Historic Landmark.

Average Annual Tuition: $48,384
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #41 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Aesthetics:
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#16 – University of Richmond – Richmond, Virginia

University of Richmond Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,983

College Website 

The University of Richmond is a private, nonsectarian liberal arts university located in Richmond, Virginia. The University of Richmond (UR) is a primarily undergraduate, residential university with five schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, the University of Richmond School of Law and the School of Professional & Continuing Studies. The university offers an interdisciplinary learning and research environment that allows collaboration between the liberal arts and law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. UR is characterized by a uniquely integrated student experience with an exciting academic experience for students inside and outside the classroom. The university is located on a 350-acre suburban campus located six miles from downtown Richmond and 90 miles from Washington, D.C. Most of the campus lies within Richmond city limits. The university maintains the tradition of the original architectural plans for the campus including red brick buildings in the collegiate gothic style centered around open courtyards and lawns. Many of the original buildings, including Jeter Hall and North Court, the residence halls, Ryland Hall, the original administration building and the library for Richmond College, were designed by Ralph Adams Cram in 1910 as part of a movement toward planned college campuses.

Average Annual Tuition: $46,680
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #30 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #23 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#15 – Bryn Mawr College – Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 1,328

College Website 

Bryn Mawr College is a private women’s liberal arts college in a suburban community, four miles west of downtown Philadelphia. The college is one of the Seven Sisters colleges, and is a member of the Tri-College Consortium along with two other colleges founded by Quakers, Swarthmore College and Haverford College. The phrase bryn mawr means “big hill” in Welsh, and the campus is situated amidst beautiful hilly terrain. The setting is a historic and lush suburban campus, and the school boasts a world-class faculty that works closely with the 1,300 undergraduate women and more than 400 graduate women and men. Bryn Mawr is an intentionally small college where each student feels valued and students and faculty members form close bonds. There are many opportunities for students to participate in independent and faculty-sponsored research, core seminars, and interdisciplinary courses. There are 36 undergraduate majors and 41 minors with the opportunity for undergraduate students to design her own academic major. Bryn Mawr was proud to be the first women’s college to offer a terminal Doctor of Philosophy, a further sign of the founders’ desire to enable women’s intellectual achievements to meet those of their male counterparts. The graduate programs at Bryn Mawr are offered to both men and women. The picturesque campus landscape and plan was created by renowned landscape designers Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, and has been named an arboretum (the Bryn Mawr Campus Arboretum).

Average Annual Tuition: $45,540
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #27 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #27 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSACSC)
Aesthetics:
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#14 – Rollins College – Winter Park, Florida

Rollins College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 1,890

College Website 

Rollins College was originally chartered in 1885 by New England Congregationalists as a coeducational liberal arts college, making Rollins the oldest recognized college in the state of Florida. In the World War I era, Rollins established a naval unit that allowed students to take basic and advanced courses in naval training. The campus at Rollins is located in Winter Park, Florida, a charming and historic residential community near the larger city of Orlando. The award-winning campus is settled on the shores of Lake Virginia and very close to world class dining, shopping and entertainment at Winter Park’s famous Park Avenue. The 80-acre campus is designed in the Spanish-Mediterranean style of architecture and was named one of the 50 Most Amazing College Campuses by The Best Colleges and the No. 6 Most Beautiful College Campus by The Princeton Review, 2014-2015. The College is gone to a unique “Walk of Fame,” which houses over 500 stones gathered from the birthplaces of influential cultural and historical figures and engraved with their names. On campus, students can find an art museum with six display galleries, a print study room, an educational gallery, and a collection of more than 6,000 works.

Average Annual Tuition: $43,080
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #2 Best College or University in the Southern Region of the United States
US News and World Report #8 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#13 – Berry College – Mount Berry, Georgia

Berry College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,141

College Website 

Berry College is a private coeducational Christian school founded in 1902. The college emphasizes an academic program with exceptionally high academic standards, based in the values of Christian principles. Students have an opportunity to add to their classroom experience by participating in practical work experience and community service. Berry has the world’s largest contiguous college campus, covering more than 27,000 acres of woodlands, meadows and streams. There are 47 beautiful buildings spread across the campus, including 15 classroom facilities and 10 residence halls. The 131,000 square-foot Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center provides students with a cutting-edge home for the college’s blossoming intercollegiate and intramural sports programs. There are beautiful common areas for students to enjoy, adjacent to the campus dining center.

Average Annual Tuition: $30,530
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #121 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses

#12 – Sweet Briar College – Sweet Briar, Virginia

Sweet Briar College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 703

College Website 

Sweet Briar College is a private liberal arts college whose mission is to “prepare women (and at the graduate level, men as well) to be productive, responsible members of a world community. It focuses on personal and professional achievement through a customized educational program that combines the liberal arts, preparation for careers, and individual development. The faculty and staff guide students to become active learners, to reason clearly, to speak and write persuasively, and to lead with integrity.” The College is located in Central Virginia on 3,250 beautiful acres. Sweet Briar is the fourth largest campus in the country, with all 3,250 acres located in the foothills of the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. It boasts 30 historic buildings, six nature sanctuaries, and two lakes.

Average Annual Tuition: $34,935
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #116 Best National Liberal Arts College
2010 Princeton Review #3 for “Most Accessible Professors”
2010 Princeton Review #6 for “Most Beautiful Campus”
2010 Princeton Review #8 for “Best Career/Job Placement Services”
2010 Princeton Review #4 for “Professors Get High Marks”
2010 Princeton Review #8 for “Best Classroom Experience”
2010 Princeton Review #11 for “Class Discussions Encouraged”
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#11 – Lewis and Clark College – Portland, Oregon

Lewis and Clark Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,126

College Website 

Lewis and Clark College is a private liberal arts college located in Portland, Oregon. The school comprises an undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, a School of Law, and a Graduate School of Education and Counseling. The mission of Lewis and Clark is to “know the traditions of the liberal arts, to test their boundaries through ongoing exploration, and to hand on to successive generations the tools and discoveries of this quest. By these means the institution pursues the aims of all liberal learning: to seek knowledge for its own sake and to prepare for civic leadership.” The college is nestled in a scenic natural setting, spread across 137 wooded acres in Portland’s southwest hills. The rich history and tradition of this diverse, multicultural school can be seen throughout the campus. The school is home to beautiful libraries, nationally recognized green buildings, and athletic facilities. Lewis and Clark College has worked to combine technology and innovative research to further the education of its students. The school has also committed to becoming part of the vibrant sustainability movement across campuses nationwide. There are opportunities for learning, innovation, and action on various issues relating to sustainability. The research at Lewis and Clark extends outside of the campus into the community at large.

Average Annual Tuition: $43,382
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #77 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #2 Best College for Veterans
Accreditations: 
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Aesthetics:
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses

#10 – Rhodes College – Memphis, Tennessee

Rhodes College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 5

Current Enrollment: 2,027

College Website 

Rhodes College is a private, coeducational, residential college committed to the liberal arts and sciences tradition. The highest priorities found in all majors at Rhodes are intellectual engagement, service to others, and honor within. At Rhodes, students will experience a multidisciplinary approach which combines classroom learning with experiential learning such as internships, service, research, and other opportunities in Memphis and far beyond. The school is honored with various national rankings, titles and accolades for their academics, faculty, campus and student experience. The college is set upon one of the country’s most beautiful campuses, in the heart of Memphis, TN, an economic, political and cultural center. Rhodes is modeled in the Collegiate-Gothic style and sits on 100 acres in the heart of historic Midtown Memphis. No attention to detail was spared as walkways, courtyards, residence halls, common areas and classrooms were all created to encourage conversation, further the exchange of ideas, and help students make important connections with their peers.

Average Annual Tuition: $41,572
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #54 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#9 – Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago, Illinois

Illinois Institute of Technology Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 6

Current Enrollment: 2,926

College Website 

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is a private, technology-driven, research university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, science, architecture, business, design, human sciences, applied technology, and law. IIT is among the 22 institutions that make up the Association of Independent Technological Universities (AITU). The institute offers cutting edge training for careers, which may require technological advancement, a pioneering mindset, and an entrepreneurial attitude. The main campus is settled on 120-acres in the city of Chicago. A parcel of this main campus was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The campus, often referred to as the Mies Campus, was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was considered one of the most influential architects of his time. He was also the director of the architecture program at Illinois Tech from 1938 to 1958. In 1976, the American Institute of Architects recognized the main campus as one of the 200 most significant works of architecture in the nation. The four other campuses include:

  1. The Downtown Campus, which is a ten-story high-rise designed by Gerald Horn of Holabird & Root and built by IIT in 1992. It is home to Illinois Tech’s Chicago-Kent College of Law.
  2. The Institute of Design (ID) is located on LaSalle Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
  3. The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice 19-acre campus in west suburban Wheaton and offers graduate programs, upper-level undergraduate courses, and continuing professional education.
  4. The Moffett Campus is a five-acre campus in southwest suburban Bedford Park. It is home to the Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH), which includes the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, a unique consortium of government, industry, and academic partners.

Average Annual Tuition: $41,335
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #116 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #42 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Aesthetics:
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#8 – Hamilton College – Clinton, New York

Hamilton College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 6

Current Enrollment: 1,926

College Website 

Hamilton College is a private coeducational liberal arts college located outside of Utica, New York. The College was founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy and was later chartered as Hamilton College, making it the third oldest college established in New York State. The mission at Hamilton is to “provide an educational experience that emphasizes academic excellence and the development of students as human beings, as we prepare them to make choices and accept the responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic world of intellect and diversity.” Hamilton sits on a scenic 1,350-acre campus that is nestled on a hilltop overlooking the picturesque village of Clinton. The college is located eight miles southwest of Utica, 45 minutes east of Syracuse, and an hour from the Adirondack Park to the northeast. The campus itself is found in a quaint, New England-style village, near opportunity for shopping, dining and fun. The Adirondack Park is a exceptional place for students to hike, ski, camp, and enjoy many outdoor activities.

Average Annual Tuition: $47,820
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #15 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #20 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Aesthetics:
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses

#7 – Vassar College – Poughkeepsie, New York

Vassar College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 6

Current Enrollment: 2,477

College Website 

Vassar College is a highly selective private coeducational Liberal Arts College that is typically ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Vassar is known for groundbreaking achievements in academics and for its history in innovation. The mission of Vassar College is to make accessible “the means of a thorough, well-proportioned and liberal education that inspires each individual to lead a purposeful life.” The school was founded in 1861 to offer female students an academic offering equal to that of a man’s; however, today the school admits both males and females. Vassar is located in a residential area three miles from the city center of Poughkeepsie, New York, 75 miles north of New York City. The sprawling 1000-acre campus features manicured lawns, formal gardens, and meadows and woodlands of the Vassar Farm. The campus boasts more than 100 academic and residential buildings ranging in style from collegiate gothic to modernist, including two National Historic Landmarks.

Average Annual Tuition: $49,570
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #11 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #6 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Aesthetics:
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#6 – Colgate University – Hamilton, New York

Colgate University Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 6

Current Enrollment: 2,890

College Website 

Colgate University is a private liberal arts institution located in central New York State. The school has intentionally small classes, with a strong focus on faculty-student relationships. Colgate’s mission is to “provide a demanding, expansive educational experience to a select group of diverse, talented, and intellectually sophisticated students who are capable of challenging themselves, their peers, and their teachers in a setting that brings together living and learning.” The 575-acre campus is home to 88 buildings, miles of pathways and walkways and an estimated 2,300 beautiful established trees. Many of the buildings date back to 1827 when West Hall was hand-built by faculty and students from stone taken from a campus quarry. This building is now a comfortable, modern first-year residence hall. The town of Hamilton has been named One of America’s Most Friendly Towns by Forbes magazine, as well as being listed on Zagat’s List “10 pizza joints in the U.S. that are worth some travel time.”

Average Annual Tuition: $48,175
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #22 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Aesthetics:
Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015

#5 – Kenyon College – Gambier, Ohio

Kenyon College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 6

Current Enrollment: 1,705

College Website 

Kenyon College is a private, coeducational residential Liberal Arts College located in Gambier, Ohio. The college offers a variety of excellent bachelor’s degree programs complete with opportunities to work shoulder-to-shoulder with esteemed faculty as part of small and welcoming community. There are 35 majors leading to a bachelor’s degree. The College also offers 13 concentrations; pre-professional advising for graduate or professional school in business, education, engineering, law, and medicine; and a number of cooperative programs involving other institutions. Kenyon’s beautiful campus is set on 1,000 acres just 45 miles outside the state’s capital, Columbus. The campus includes a 480-acre nature preserve. This nature preserve borders the Kokosing River and includes woodland, prairie, and wetland habitats, as well as various gardens. Biology classes and Summer Science Scholars conduct research in these various sanctuaries. Students are welcome to walk along the six miles of hiking trails or to participate in bird-watching walks, nature talks, campfires, and star-gazing sessions.

Average Annual Tuition: $47,330
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #30 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Aesthetics:
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#4 – Swarthmore College – Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Swarthmore College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 9

Current Enrollment: 1,534

College Website 

Swarthmore College is a private coeducational liberal arts institution located near Philadelphia. The school offers training in both liberal arts and engineering, and although the college is private, it is open to all students regardless of their financial need. The students, staff, and faculty at Swarthmore stand together in a commitment to “curricular breadth and rigor” in all academic endeavors. There is a student-to-faculty ratio of just 8:1 to ensure that all students develop close, meaningful relationships with their professors. The college’s honors program allows students to work in small groups of dedicated and accomplished students closely with faculty. The school embraces independent learning, ongoing exchanges amongst students and their peers, teachers, and examiners as well as examination at the end of two years’ study by outside scholars. Swarthmore’s tranquil, 425-acre arboretum campus features rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails, and is located just 11 miles outside of downtown Philadelphia. The campus has been described as “the most beautiful campus in America” by Adam Levine, in Garden Design magazine. Nearby, students can enjoy a charming village complete with coffee shops, cafes, and food co-op.

Average Annual Tuition: $46,060
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #3 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #11 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Aesthetics:
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#3 – Wellesley College – Wellesley, Massachusetts

Wellesley College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 9

Current Enrollment: 2,474

College Website 

Wellesley College is a private, nonprofit liberal arts college for women. The motto of the college is Non Ministrari sed Ministrare or “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” The school was established in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, and the first graduating class entered the school in 1875. The school is located in beautiful Wellesley, Massachusetts just 12 miles west of Boston. Wellesley offers 56 departmental and interdepartmental majors leading to a bachelor’s degree. The average class size for all majors is between 17 and 20 students. Over 80 percent of women enrolling in major programs graduate within four years of starting their academic endeavor. Wellesley is situated on 500 acres including a private lake, a golf club, groves, and winding paths through open meadows. There are historic brick and stone buildings that rise from gorgeous wooded hills. Throughout the campus, there are views to an inviting vista, through pine trees to the shores of Lake Waban. The landscape has always been an important aspect of the identity of Wellesley College and to the experience of its students. The founders of the school believed that young women should be educated in the midst of beauty. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. described Wellesley’s landscape in 1902 as “not merely beautiful, but with a marked individual character not represented so far as I know on the ground of any other college in the country.”

Average Annual Tuition: $45,078
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #4 Best National Liberal Arts College
US News and World Report #4 Best Value College
Accreditations: 
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Aesthetics:
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#2 – Florida Southern College – Lakeland, Florida

Florida Southern College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 9

Current Enrollment: 2,192

College Website 

Florida Southern College (FSC) is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Lakeland, Florida. FSC is the oldest private college in Florida and was established in Orlando as South Florida Institute. Since that time it has evolved into the blossoming institution it is today. The mission of Florida Southern College is to “prepare students through dynamic engaged learning to make a positive and consequential impact on society.” The college offers more than fifty undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs, along with graduate programs in business, nursing, and education. Florida Southern is the home of the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture adding to the charm of the 100 acre campus. The 60 campus buildings are situated within an orange grove on the north shore of Lake Hollingsworth. The campus features ivy-covered halls, cutting-edge research space, state-of-the-art classrooms, comfortable meeting areas, high-tech computer labs, a comprehensive library, performing arts complex, world-class fitness center, and more. For students who live on campus, there are 18 living options ranging from traditional residential halls to special interest living/learning communities to off-campus apartments. Nearby Lakeland is home to a booming arts community and the annual Festival of Fine Arts, which showcases world-class artists in concerts, plays, ballet, opera, art exhibits, and jazz events and is free for students to attend.

Average Annual Tuition: $29,990
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #5 Best College or University in the Southern Region of the United States
The Princeton Review Best Southeastern College
The Princeton Review Best Value College
The Princeton Review Best 366 Colleges: 2008
Accreditations: 
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Aesthetics:
Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

#1 – Scripps College – Claremont, California

Scripps College Most Beautiful Campus

Points: 9

Current Enrollment: 990

College Website 

Topping the list is Scripps College, which was established in 1926 as a liberal arts institution for women. It is a member of the Claremont Colleges System of Schools and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Ellen Browning Scripp founded the college as an “experiment in education,” desiring an educational setting with an artistic connection between buildings and garden landscape. The campus design was created by Gordon Kaufmann in 1926. Many have said that Kaufmann did more than create a campus – he “created a world.” There have been some additions to the original campus, including the buildings west of Columbia Avenue gained in the 1980s. These buildings deviated from the Mediterranean style of architecture popular in Southern California during the 1920s and ’30s. However, the newest residence hall on campus, Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Hall, built in 2000, and the Malott Commons, renovated in 2000, were designed to be in the standard of the distinctive look of the original campus. Some of the highlights of the campus include:

  • A rose garden between Toll and Browning Halls, which is designated for student cutting. Many keep fresh-cut roses in their rooms.
  • Fruit trees found throughout the campus including oranges (lining most paths near the residence halls), grapefruit (near the Claremont McKenna College campus), pomegranate (in the courtyards of Clark Hall and outside Dorsey Hall), kumquat (in Olive Court and outside the administration offices of Balch Hall) and loquat (in front of Toll Hall).
  • Olive trees are found throughout the entire campus, particularly in Humanities courtyard.
  • Strawberry plants can be found in the Rose Garden.
  • Scents of orange blossoms and wisteria perfume the campus in the early spring.
  • Elm Tree Lawn, near Revelle House has long been the site of Commencement ceremonies.

Average Annual Tuition: $47,378
College Rankings: 
US News and World Report #24 Best National Liberal Arts College
Accreditations: 
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Aesthetics:
Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America
Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015
Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

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About the Author

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen Fescoe began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Kristen began writing in college and still enjoys her work as a writer, editor, professor and mother.