The 10 Best “Hidden Gem” Universities In Texas

Texas is home to some of the best universities in the country. No matter what you want to study, there’s likely a great program for you in Texas. Texas’s warm weather, excellent education opportunities, and friendly Southern attitude make it a very desirable place for many students. 

You’ve likely already heard of the biggest universities in Texas, like Texas A&M and University of Texas at Austin. This is just the tip of the iceberg – there are plenty of incredible smaller universities in Texas too. Going to a smaller university has its perks for many students – more personalized attention, specialized programs, and a tighter-knit community. 

Many colleges in Texas are what we call “hidden gems” – excellent schools with highly-rated programs preparing students for employment in the real world after graduation.

Here are our picks for the 10 best hidden gem universities in Texas. 

10. Angelo State University (San Angelo, TX)

photo by NativeTexan55 via Wikimedia Commons

This west Texas university is known for its affordable prices and welcoming atmosphere. They offer reliable financial aid packages, and a large percentage of students receive scholarships as well. 

Most notably, they offer the Carr Scholarship to a large percentage of their students just based on having a strong GPA and ACT/SAT score. Students here can get a good education without the student debt that comes with attending a private school or a larger university. 

Class sizes here are small, so students can really get to know their professors. These smaller classes provide more hands-on and interactive learning experiences, instead of just lectures. Their versatile business and marketing majors are some of the most popular, but there are plenty of other excellent programs, including strong nursing and health majors. 

There is also a ranch on campus for agriculture classes!

The atmosphere here is friendly and welcoming, with plenty of activities to help new students get to know each other. At the center of campus social life is the strong athletic programs, with several teams that frequently make conference finals. San Angelo is a charming and safe town known for its beautiful parks along the river, which is great for students looking for true Texas charm. 


9. West Texas A&M (Canyon, TX)

photo via Wikimedia Commons

This university is part of the broader Texas A&M system, which is one of the most renowned educational institutions in the state.

If you want the caliber of a large university, but the atmosphere of a smaller school, this may be a good option for you. It’s located in the small town of Canyon, which is just outside of Amarillo. 

West Texas A&M is very well-rounded, with plenty of excellent programs to choose from. Their business, health, and liberal arts programs are the most popular, but you’ll find a wide range of majors to explore here. The school is moderately selective, so you’ll need a strong academic background to be admitted.

This school has a very friendly atmosphere with a beautiful and well-maintained campus. The town of Canyon is very walkable, with plenty of restaurants and necessities within walking distance of the school. 

There are plenty of resources for students to help them tackle the challenges that come with campus life. Classes are small, with an average student-teacher ratio of 18:1. The classes are well-reviewed, and professors here are often described as caring and helpful. 


8. Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX)

photo by Michael Barera via Wikimedia Commons

TSU is a school that really focuses on personal attention, with a small campus where you can really get to know everyone. 

It is part of the larger Texas A&M system, so students can expect classes that meet the high standards of a big university. Their campus culture includes plenty of fun traditions, including Duck Camp, which welcomes new freshmen and helps them feel welcome. 

Homecoming week at Tarleton also includes a number of fun traditions, including a large bonfire, campus scavenger hunt, and midnight breakfast. 

The town of Stephenville has true Texan charm, and is known as the ‘cowboy capital of the world’ due to the high concentration of professional rodeo cowboys that live there. However, it’s still only an hour away from the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area for students that crave the excitement of a large city. 

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