These 10 Colleges Are Higher Education’s Best Kept Secrets

5. Beloit College (Beloit, WI)

photo by Chicfriend88 via Wikimedia Commons

Beloit, one of America’s best kept secrets in higher education, is actually the oldest continuously operating college in the state of Wisconsin.

It has also landed itself a spot on former New York Times editor Loren Pope’s list of “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Pope noted the college’s ability to produce graduates who continue to grow and make significant contributions to society.

The college was founded by Yale graduates back in 1846. Their goal was to ensure students graduate well equipped for the changing times. Back then, it was the mid-19th century, but the sentiment remains the same today.

The school wants to prepare you to network across industries, manage teams with diverse backgrounds, and think critically and creatively — tools you’ll need to thrive in your post-graduate career.

Beloit College is all about bringing outside experiences into the classroom. It emphasizes the importance of getting outside the classroom, with internships (it’s not too far from Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee) and study abroad programs. It also has a center for entrepreneurship, which is a dedicated space that features students’ ventures in art, digital media, music, and start-ups.

Here’s a fun historical fact: You’ll find animal-shaped mounds across campus — about 20 of them. These date back to between 400 and 1200 AD and were built by Native Americans. One is in the shape of a turtle, Beloit College’s unofficial mascot.

4. Elizabethtown College (Elizabethtown, PA)

Elizabethtown College, located about 20 minutes from Hershey, Pennsylvania, commits to “educate for service” (that’s the school’s motto). That means many facets of the school center upon community service.

In fact, Elizabethtown College offers a unique Community-Based Learning program. This combines your traditional classroom experience with community experiences. Courses in the program run the gamut. There’s a volunteer income tax assistance program for business students, a music therapy professional seminar for art students, and a psychology of stress course for psychology majors.

Elizabethtown College gives students the opportunity to focus on sustainability projects as well. The school’s Green Fund helps cover the cost of these sustainable student-led projects. These have included the installation of solar panels, the implementation of a bike-sharing program, and the creation of an on-campus organic garden.

In addition to its service efforts, the school also offers students opportunities to get involved in clubs (hide-and-seek, anyone?) and sports (go Blue Jays!).


  1. My daughter graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington several years ago. She is now working on her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Washington in Seattle. She receives a stipend and does not pay tuition. She loved her college years at UPS!

  2. I am delighted that Drew University has made your list! However, as Drew’s University Archivist, I also have to point out that _Thomas_ Gibbons, William Gibbons’s father, was the winning party in Gibbons v. Ogden.

  3. There are hundreds of colleges all over the United states that are also just as good as the 10 above. For example…New Jersey City University in Jersey City NJ, excellent education at an affordaable price tag. I was able to get my BA and then my Masters degree while NEVER having to take out student loans. I’m at the top of my field in the educational system and never felt better about the employment opportunities affored to me by excellent teachers in both programs. Part of what made this school so affordable is that I was able to commute from home and not have to pay for room and board, a win for anyone that wants to graduate without student loan debt over their head!


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