Hidden Gem Colleges You Need to Know About


As a college-bound student, it’s natural to focus on big-name universities like Harvard, Yale, and MIT. However, there’s a world of lesser-known colleges that offer exceptional educational opportunities, unique programs, and vibrant campus life without the high levels of competition seen at top-tier schools. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top hidden gem colleges that might just be the perfect fit for you. In addition, some of these colleges are also recognized as top green colleges, emphasizing sustainability in their campus initiatives and educational programs.

1) Harvey Mudd College

Located in Claremont, CA, Harvey Mudd College specializes in engineering, science, and mathematics education, providing a strong foundation for students interested in these fields. Offering a hands-on learning experience, the college encourages undergraduate research and practical applications of concepts to attain real-world experience.

2) Grinnell College

Grinnell College is a small liberal arts college in Grinnell, IA, famous for its personalized approach to education. With a low student-to-faculty ratio, Grinnell offers interdisciplinary studies, strong faculty support, and ample opportunity for research and internships, including access to a renowned First-Year Experience program.

3) Berea College

Berea College in Berea, KY, offers a unique tuition-free education to students. Stressing the importance of learning, labor, and service, each student at Berea holds a hands-on job that contributes to their education and the betterment of the campus community. The college is particularly known for its strong programs in liberal arts and sciences.

4) Lewis & Clark College

Portland, OR, is home to Lewis & Clark College, a liberal arts college with a strong focus on environmental and global issues. Offering a wide range of undergraduate programs, students here benefit from the college’s location, enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and engaging with the community through internships and service.

5) Kalamazoo College

With a focus on experiential learning, Kalamazoo College in Michigan offers students the opportunity to complete academics, internships, and study abroad programs, making it a standout choice. Kalamazoo’s distinctive K-Plan enables students to customize their college experience to suit their unique interests and passions.

6) Olin College of Engineering

Olin College in Needham, MA, is a small engineering college that offers personalized, project-based learning. With a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, Olin is known for its collaborative environment that encourages students to work together and develop effective problem-solving skills.

7) Reed College

Based in Portland, OR, Reed College is a liberal arts institution that values intellectual curiosity, creative thinking, and rigorous academic standards. Reed’s emphasis on conference-style classes and opportunities for undergraduate research fosters strong collaboration between students and professors.

8) St. Olaf College

Located in Northfield, MN, St. Olaf College is a small liberal arts college offering students a sense of community as they pursue their academic goals. The college is particularly strong in music education and ensembles, as well as providing extensive opportunities for study abroad programs and research.

9) St. John’s College

With campuses in Annapolis, MD, and Santa Fe, NM, St. John’s College provides a unique education focused on the great books of Western civilization. This approach to education creates a strong foundation in critical and analytical thinking, making St. John’s an excellent choice for students seeking a rigorous intellectual experience.

10) College of the Atlantic

College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME, offers students a unique interdisciplinary curriculum focused on human ecology, exploring the relationships between people and their environments. Students can design their individualized majors, taking advantage of the college’s innovative and flexible learning opportunities.

How to Choose

Deciding on which college to attend is a big choice that can often be quite daunting. Where you receive your degree can set you up for your future career and adult life. That’s why it’s so important to do thorough research into any college you’re considering and start looking early so can take your time rather than making it a rushed decision. Consider factors such as housing, financial aid, extracurriculars, academic programs, and campus culture to see which institution would be the best fit for you.


There are exceptional colleges out there beyond the Ivy League that provide students with remarkable educational experiences, unique curricula, and specialized programs. So, while you’re researching and applying to colleges, don’t overlook the hidden gems that may offer the perfect blend of academics, campus life, and affordability for you.

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I am Jessica Moretti, mother of 1 boy and 2 beautiful twin angels, and live in on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. I started this blog to discuss issues on parenting, motherhood and to explore my own experiences as a parent. I hope to help you and inspire you through simple ideas for happier family life!


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