The 10 Best “Hidden Gem” Private Universities in the US

7. Adelphi University (Garden City, NY)

The oldest higher education institution in Long Island, Adelphi is a prestigious Doctoral university home to nearly 8,000 total students. Founded as Adelphi College in 1863, the school gained official recognition as a university over 55 years ago in 1963.

One interesting offering at Adelphi is the Levermore Global Scholars program, a distinct academic initiative promoting diversity and enriching students’ global perspectives. Through this program, students can participate in internships, study abroad programs, seminars, and even activities with the United Nations. In fact, this program is sponsored by United Nations Academic Impact, an initiative aligning colleges closer to the UN’s mission.

Adelphi is home to many prestigious programs, with dedicated schools for psychology, education, public health, and more. 

One extraordinary program at Adelphi is in business, presented through the school’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business. In 2020, Adelphi’s business school was ranked by the Princeton Review among the Best Business Schools in the entire country. Several of Adelphi’s School of Business faculty members are regularly quoted in major publications, including Newsweek and US News

According to PrepScholar, the average GPA for admission into Adelphi is 3.52, which is an “A” average, making Adelphi an academically competitive school for admission.


6. Bellarmine University (Louisville, KY)

Bellarmine University
photo via Wikimedia Commons

A prestigious, private Roman Catholic university based in Kentucky, Bellarmine is designated by the Carnegie Classification as a “Doctoral/Professional University.” 

Bellarmine is known for its continued devotion to campus and curricular expansion. Within the last 15 years, Bellarmine has added several schools to its university, including its School for Communication as well as its School of Environmental Studies. Interestingly enough, Bellarmine is the only school to have an undergraduate environmental studies program in all of Louisville.

Alumni of Bellarmine have found success in every major field. They include the former CEO of Sirius XM Joseph P. Clayton Jr., Kentucky Secretary of State John Young Brown III, and former NBA coach John MacLeod.


5. Mercer University (Macon, GA)

Mercer University
photo via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1833, Mercer is a top-tier university consistently ranked by US News among the top two private universities in Georgia alongside Emory. Additionally, because of Mercer’s outstanding commitment to research, this school is ranked by the Carnegie Classification as an “R2: Doctoral University – High Research Activity,” a distinction given to just a small number of universities nationwide.

Mercer is widely recognized for its commitment to the community. The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement in Teaching recognized Mercer in 2015 with the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, an award given to less than 5% of all US-based higher education institutions.

In 2018, Mercer undertook one of the most ambitious campaigns for expansion in all of higher education. Named Inspire: Mercer’s Vision for the Decade Ahead, this initiative includes a $200 million commitment to new facilities, a growth in undergraduate enrollment, and raising significant funds for the school’s endowment. Mercer’s significant efforts have created the campus’s most ambitious facility, the Spearman C. Godsey Science Center, a remarkable 143,000 square foot facility complete with over 65 labs and lecture rooms.

Mercer’s students have won many of academia’s most prestigious awards. These include Fulbright and Goldwater Scholarships, appointments to the Peace Corps, and more. 

Because of Mercer’s excellent education relative to its competitive cost, Mercer is ranked among the best value schools in the country by US News. 

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