Ranking Methodology and Sources: 30 Best, Most Beautiful Small College Campuses

Ranking Factors

This ranking has been created to highlight the 30 Best and Most Beautiful Small Colleges in America. We define a small college as one with 3000 students or fewer. The mix of aesthetic, academic, and value aspects we considered are as follows.


1: Aesthetics

The following lists were consulted.

  • Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America
  • Christian University Online: 25 Most Beautiful Christian Universities
  • Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses
  • Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015
  • Thrillist: 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses
  • Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

Points: 

Appearance in 1 list: 1 point
2 lists: 2 points
3 lists: 3 points
4 or more lists: 5 points


2: College Ranking

Points: 

US News Best National University Ranking: 2 points
Best Regional University Ranking: 1 point

US News and World Report National Liberal Arts College Ranking:

Top 100: 1 point
Top 50: 2 points
Top 25: 3 points
Top 10: 5 points


3: Cost of Attendance

Points: 

Under $20,000: 3 points
$20,001 – $39,999: 2 points
$40,000 and above: 1 point


4: Accreditation

To be included in this list, schools must bear regional accreditation. Schools with AACSB accreditation earned 1 point.


5: Ties

In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools that appeared on the highest number of national lists, followed by higher ranking on the US News and World Report Best National Liberal Arts College, and finally tuition rates.

Sources:

Forbes: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses 

Travel and Leisure: America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses 

Thrillist; 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses 

Business Insider: The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America 

Princeton Review: The Most Beautiful Campuses of 2015 

Christian University Online: 25 Most Beautiful Christian Universities 

US News and World Report 2015 Best Colleges List 

AACSB Accredited Programs List 

Forbes College Ranking Lists