10 Incredible Liberal Arts Colleges On the Rise

For some students, the best choice in an education is simple; attend a liberal arts college.

A liberal arts education, in many ways, is radically different than a traditional university experience.

In a traditional university, students are normally surrounded by well over 15,000+ peers. 

However, liberal arts colleges are small, intimate, and typically keep enrollment to less than 2,500 total students.

Many liberal arts colleges are widely known, such as those that frequent the US News top 15 liberal arts college listings.

However, there are a handful of liberal arts colleges that are on the rise, quickly gaining recognition as being equal to many schools already at the top of most college rankings lists.

So, how did we determine a school as rising?

One, the school cannot yet be placed in the top-75 of the US News liberal arts colleges list as of this year, 2019.

Secondly, the school has to have demonstrated amazing success over the past 15 years in its programs, student/alumni accomplishments, faculty accolades, or other similar metrics.

Here are College Gazette’s picks for the top 10 rising liberal arts colleges in the country.

10. Albion College (Albion, MI)

photo by kennethaw88 via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent 2018 study produced by Zippia.com, Albion College was ranked the #1 small school in the entire state of Michigan with the highest-earning graduates. 

That’s quite an impressive feat, considering that in the entire state of Michigan, there are a respectable number of other excellent, highly-ranked liberal arts colleges.

In the last decade, students at Albion have won significant academic awards; these include a prestigious Goldwater award in 2014, a National Institutes of Health Scholar in 2011, and several National Science Foundation Postdoctoral fellows.

One thing that makes Albion unique is its environment; students and parents who review their experience consistently note how close students are with their professors, forging not only an academic relationship, but a personal one as well. 

This level of attention can be difficult to access at larger universities, making Albion a great choice for the liberal college seeking student.


9. St. Norbert College (De Pere, WI)

photo by Ninaknr via Wikimedia Commons

One-hundred and eleven acres bordering a river make up the campus of this rising liberal arts college, located just outside Green Bay, Wisconsin.

When the now President Emeritus of St. Norbert, educator Thomas Kunkel, started his position in 2008, St. Norbert underwent a radical change; it instituted a plan to offer a significantly improved education and experience for their students.

Since then, numerous facilities have been built at St. Norbert, including a significant fitness center, stadium, science center, library, and several other academic constructions. Within St. Norbert’s last decade, the school has raised an amazing $150+ million in funding!

St. Norbert’s student outcome is impressive; 96% of all alumni find themselves employed – or in graduate school – within 12 months of graduating from St. Norbert.


8. Goucher College (Towson, MD)

photo by Wikieditor19920 via Wikimedia Commons

Profiled as one of the 40 institutions in Loren Pope’s classic text Colleges That Change Lives, Goucher is a phenomenal liberal arts college based in Maryland.

One hallmark of the Goucher College education is that all students must participate in a study abroad program. Goucher offers over 60 year-long study-abroad programs in 30 different countries! As of 2006, all students attending Goucher have to participate in at least one study-abroad.

Goucher is one of the few liberal arts colleges that places an emphasis on Data Analytics – one of the most important subjects for understanding 21st century technology – in its curriculum for all students. 

To this end, as part of Goucher’s recently instituted “Goucher Commons,” all students take not only take a class in data analytics, but also a capstone course in a student’s senior year.

From a community & environment perspective, Goucher is known as a great school for individuals who “march to the beat of their own drum.” Parents and students consistently cite Goucher as a haven for fostering individual, unique discourse and ideas.

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