1. Elon University
Elon, N.C.; www.elon.edu; 800-334-84480
This campus of 4,160 undergraduates gets enthusiastic reviews. Alice T. Ledford works as a college placement counselor at the American International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but she once was an administrator at Elon and thinks its standards of student service are remarkable. "It is an ideal place for students who want a supportive environment," she said. "The student services staff provide many extracurricular activities and opportunities for service learning. It is the most amazing place with regard to dealing with student crises." Sally O'Rourke, a counselor at Andover (Mass.) High School, said students who went to Elon thrived on its "emphasis on leadership, service, hands-on learning, and study abroad." Mary Ann Willis, a college counselor at Bayside Academy in Daphne, Ala., complimented Elon's "forward-looking" leadership that provides "a great setting and realistic notions about adolescents and education."
2. Earlham College
Richmond, Ind.; www.earlham.edu; 800-327-5426
This small school of slightly more than 1,000 undergraduates is on Pope's list and has many admirers. Becky Handel, a counselor at Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., said the college "is Quaker founded and adheres to the beliefs of the Quaker tradition. If you have a student who is bright, has perhaps underachieved in high school, and is not afraid to walk to the beat of a different drummer, from the heart, this is a wonderful jewel."
3. Clark University
Worcester, Mass.; www.clarku.edu; 508-793-77110
This institution of about 1,900 undergraduates has high quality, but still admits B students. Dory Streett, a high school counselor at the American School of Milan, said Clark is "one of the few small liberal arts colleges where a truly socially diverse student body co-exists harmoniously." She said the school has "outstanding programs in geography and psychology."
4. College of Wooster
Wooster, Ohio; www.wooster.edu; 330-263-2000
The Presbyterian-affiliated school has 1,750 undergraduates and is known for its independent study program. The student-faculty ratio is very low, 11.5 to one. The 240-acre campus has a nine-hole golf course. Bruce Vinik, formerly director of college counseling at the Georgetown Day School, said this is "a very good liberal arts college that has a surprisingly eclectic and interesting student body."
5. Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, Mich.; www.kzoo.edu; 800-253-3602
The college has an unusual "K Plan" that combines classroom study, overseas travel, internships, and a senior thesis. Dory Streett, a high school counselor at the American School of Milan, said she was impressed that more than 85 percent of Kalamazoo students study abroad. The school also has an exceptional physics department, she said.
6. Rhodes College
Memphis, Tenn.; www.rhodes.edu; 901-843-3000
Also on Pope's list, the college is described by the Princeton Review's The Best 345 Colleges as "one of the best kept secrets in higher education." Richard James, education professor and coordinator of school counseling at the University of Memphis, described Rhodes as "a private college which costs a lot of money to go to" but "will give you a twenty megaton liberal education."
7. Guilford College
Greensboro, N.C.; www.guilford.edu; 336-316-2000
Located on a beautiful campus in central North Carolina, Guilford is distinguished by its very loose course requirements, although the faculty watches closely to make sure each student is moving toward a sound academic goal. Carol West, a college counselor at the American International School in Egypt, said, "It is a favorite of mine for a solid B student or higher who is liberal arts oriented."
8. Occidental College
Los Angeles; www.oxy.edu; 323-259-2500
I spent my freshman year at this school and have visited several times since. I admire its evolution into a campus deeply engaged in the southern California community. I no longer think it is underappreciated. In fact, Oxy has become very hot. But many guidance counselors still insist that it isn't getting the attention it deserves.
9. Washington College
Chestertown, Md.; www.washcoll.edu; 800-422-1782
Under John S. Toll, former chancellor of the University of Maryland, this small school has begun to develop a national reputation and win the hearts of many high school staffers. Cathy Henderson Stein, who works in the career information center at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., said the school does "a great job of getting their kids into med schools."
10. Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington, Ill.; www.iwu.edu; 309-556-1000
An ambitious building program has helped give this school of 2,100 undergraduates a national reputation. Mary Juraska, college consultant at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Ill., said it has "strong fine arts, liberal arts and sciences" and "an excellent success rate for students applying to medical school."
11. Trinity University
San Antonio; www.trinity.edu; 210-999-7011
This institution of 2,300 undergraduates has had success offering generous scholarships to top students, while building first-class business administration and computer science programs. Natalie Root, an International Baccalaureate teacher at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, recalled a family that had "nothing but high praise" for the school.
12. Kenyon College
Gambier, Ohio; www.kenyon.edu; 800-848-2468
The college has long had a reputation for intellectual quality and close faculty-student relationships. Connie Decker, counselor at John W. North High School in Riverside, Calif., said "very bright students who are not necessarily interested in the 'name game' love it."
13. Whitman College
Walla Walla, Wash.; www.whitman.edu; 877-462-9448
The college of about 1,400 students has an admissions policy emphasizing essays and extracurricular activities over SATs. "The college cares much more about who you are and what you have to offer," the Princeton Review said. Dorothy Hay, a counselor at Liberty High School in the Issaquah school district east of Seattle, said students like Whitman's rural setting and a great city park "with lovely white swans."
14. Grinnell College
Grinnell, Iowa; www.grinnell.edu; 641-269-4000
The college, established in 1846 by a group of transplanted New Englanders with close ties to the Congregational Church, has long committed itself to social reform. It has about 1,350 students in a rural part of the country. There are relatively few minorities, but there is a strong academic emphasis and lots of volunteer opportunities.
15. Wheaton College
Wheaton, Ill.; www.wheaton.edu; 630-752-5000
Christian moral principals are important at this campus of 2,400 undergraduates. Kaplan's Unofficial, Biased Insider's Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges said it "may truly be the Harvard of Christian higher education.... The scriptures are the core of the education, and biblical studies are required."
16. Dickinson College
Carlisle, Pa.; www.dickinson.edu; 717-243-5121
The school has 2,200 undergraduates and is losing its reputation as a refuge for rich kids, with its academic standards higher-than-ever and opportunities for study abroad increasing. Cathy Henderson Stein, who works in the career information center at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., said Dickinson has a "really great foreign language department and is good for pre-law."
17. Christopher Newport University
Newport News, Va.; www.cnu.edu; 757-594-7000
The school, the youngest comprehensive university in Virginia, is developing a regional reputation as part of the rapid growth of the Tidewater area. Sunny Greene, recently retired as a college adviser at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Va., called Christopher Newport an "up and coming small state university with a caring faculty."
18. Truman State University
Kirksville, Mo.; www.truman.edu; 800-892-7792
With about 5,700 undergraduates, the university is one of a handful of tax-supported schools that have gained national reputations by focusing on small classes and high academic standards. Barbara Harris Lord, a counselor at Plattsburg (Mo.) Accelerated High School, said Truman State has an excellent teacher education department. It is known for its intimate, small-campus atmosphere, and low teacher-student ratio.
19. Westminster College
Fulton, Mo.; www.westminster-mo.edu; 573-642-3361
Famous as the site of Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946, the tiny school-only 700 students-has fashioned a program based on the values of integrity, fairness, respect, and responsibility.
20. Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles; www.lmu.edu; 310-338-2700
The school is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the United States. It emphasizes its close ties to the culture and economy of Southern California, and it recruits heavily in Hispanic neighborhoods.
21. Macalester College
St. Paul, Minn.; www.macalester.edu; 651-696-6000
The school has acquired a very favorable reputation in recent years among private schools and very competitive public high schools for possessing Ivy qualities and yet having room for more than just students with stellar SAT scores.
22. Hartwick College
Oneonta, N.Y.; www.hartwick.edu; 607-431-4000
Howard Uhrlass, a counselor at West Genesee High School in Camillus, N.Y., called Hartwick a "strong liberal arts school with a staff that interacts closely with students." He also praised the quality of the admissions and financial aid staff.
23. Goucher College
Baltimore; www.goucher.edu; 410-337-6000
I put it on the list because so many guidance counselors mentioned it, not because I have known the college's new president, Sanford J. Ungar, since we were on the same college newspaper together more than a third of a century ago. Its proximity to the many cultural attractions of Baltimore is a plus, and its strong science and writing programs have added to its reputation.
24. Hendrix College
Conway, Ark.; www.hendrix.edu; 800-277-9017
This is one of the schools on Pope's list. The Princeton Review's The Best 345 Colleges said it is "an especially good bet for students with strong grades who lack the test scores usually necessary for admission to colleges on a higher level of selectivity." There are slightly more than 1,000 undergraduates, making it easy for professors to get to know students.
25. Austin College
Sherman, Tex.; www.austincollege.edu; 800-526-4276
Having been praised by Pope, the school has experienced a jump in applications that may soon take it off of anyone's underappreciated list. It was founded in 1849 and is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Approximately two thirds of its students pursue advanced degrees within five years of graduating from Austin.
26. Berry College
Mount Berry, Ga.; www.berry.edu; 706-232-5374
For students who do not need a bustling big city to keep them happy, this college is a rare treat. Tere Goodwin, a high school counselor in Fayette County, Ga., said Berry's "overall program is phenomenal." Laura Herd, a teaching consultant in Greenville, S.C., who has advised students on colleges for years, said the school is "private and non-denominational but Christian in philosophy and practice."
27. St. Olaf College
Northfield, Minn.; www.stolaf.edu; 507-646-2222
Fans of the situation comedy The Golden Girls may smile at the name St. Olaf, the trigger to many Betty White jokes, but there is the college in chilly Minnesota, setting a standard for academic excellence and sobriety that has won it many admirers, particularly among high school counselors. Peg Glasgow, a counselor for the Boyertown (Pa.) Area School District, called it "a jewel with a reputation that has not spread as far as its strengths warrant."
28. Bates College
Lewiston, Maine; www.bates.edu; 207-786-6255
This is another small school-about 1,800 undergraduates-with a well-earned reputation for high academic standards and easy faculty-student communication. It does not require that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores, but students who have not applied themselves to their high school courses or shown intellectual merit in some way will not get in.
29. Allegheny College
Meadville, Pa.; www.allegheny.edu; 814-332-3100
Allegheny has 1,900 undergraduates and a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church. Pope said it "has a long and distinguished record of producing not only future scientists and scholars, but business leaders as well."
30. Davidson College
Davidson, N.C.; www.davidson.edu; 704-894-2000
This is another school that I would say is no longer underappreciated. It accepts only about 35 percent of applicants, making it tougher to get into than Wellesley or Carleton or any of a number of brand-name colleges. The academic demands on its 1,600 undergraduates are unusually intense, but that has only added to its reputation.
31. Colorado College
Colorado Springs; www.coloradocollege.edu; 800-542-7214
Students who choose to spend their high school years in extraordinarily difficult Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses are eagerly recruited by Colorado College. It has become fashionable among families that look for Ivy-like colleges.
32. Gettysburg College
Gettysburg, Pa.; www.gettysburg.edu; 717-337-6000
Many students love the charming campus in rural Pennsylvania. The student body, about 2,200 undergraduates, is academically motivated, if too wedded to the fraternity and sorority scene for some tastes. The history, political science, and business administration programs are good, as are the sciences.
33. Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Conn.; www.quinnipiac.edu; 800-462-1944
The school began in 1929 as the Connecticut College of Commerce. It still has a strong commitment to preparing students for the business world, as well as the health science and communication fields.
34. Millsaps College
Jackson, Miss.; www.millsaps.edu; 800-352-1050
"Jackson has a thriving arts community and Millsaps is located to take advantage of the political, business, and arts opportunities surrounding it," said Mary Ann Willis of Bayside Academy. "The size of the place lends it to smaller, more discussion-oriented classes. Scholarship money is available and internships are a plus."
35. Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.; www.bard.edu; 845-758-7472
The college's president, Leon Botstein, is one of the few higher education leaders anyone has ever heard of. He is a violinist, conductor, and music scholar, and an advocate for reform whose acidic sense of humor has made him a popular speaker and government advisor.
36. York College of Pennsylvania
York, Pa.; www.ycp.edu; 717-846-7788
Louis J. Bamonte, guidance chairperson at Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School in Copiague, N.Y., said York "has a good selection of programs" and because of strong alumni support, tuition "is very inexpensive as far as private schools are concerned." Marilee Kessler, counselor at Central York High School, said this college in her town "does everything first class!"
37. Muhlenberg College
Allentown, Pa.; www.muhlenberg.edu; 484-664-3100
The college has aggressively promoted its no-SAT, no-ACT admissions policy and has in the process become very selective, admitting only 35 percent of applicants. The campus is beautiful and the faculty very lively.
38. Keene State College
Keene, N.H.; www.keene.edu; 603-352-1909
This is one of the state schools which, like Truman State in Missouri, have developed an intellectual reputation and caught the attention of counselors throughout their regions. Sally O'Rourke of Andover (Mass.) High said students from her community have found Keene State to be a "great campus in a small town."
39. Ursinus College
Collegeville, Pa.; www.ursinus.edu; 610-409-3200
This college of not much more than 1,300 undergraduates has built a strong reputation for biology and chemistry courses that prepare students for medical school. Cigus Vanni, counselor facilitator at Cherry Hill High School West in New Jersey, said when he brought a group of high school students to the college "we received extraordinary personal attention, a warm welcome in admissions and a true sense of caring."
40. University of Puget Sound
Tacoma, Wash.; www.ups.edu; 253-879-3100
Tacoma, like nearby Seattle, is rainy, but that has not affected the warm feelings many counselors have for this school. Connie Decker at John W. North High in Riverside, Calif., said UPS is "really nurturing, individual attention abounds-lots of opportunities for students to become involved."
41. Spelman College
Atlanta; www.spelman.edu; 404-681-3643
This historically black women's college is another place mentioned by guidance counselors that I think no longer belongs on any underappreciated list. It has a national reputation and a sense of tradition that few schools ever hope to achieve. "There is great mentoring here and the best of their students could have, in many cases, gone to an Ivy League school," said Mary Ann Willis, of Bayside Academy in Daphne, Ala.
42. St. Lawrence University
Canton, N.Y.; www.stlawu.edu; 315-229-5011
St. Lawrence, with about 2,000 students, is one of many schools on this list that has created a vibrant liberal arts tradition with excellent faculty and good character values, but cannot get the attention it deserves because it is in such a remote location.
43. St. John's College
Annapolis and Santa Fe; www.sjca.edu and www.sjcsf.edu; 800-727-9238 and 505-984-6000
Here are the ultimate intellectual experiences-two schools on two lovely campuses at opposite ends of the country, joined by their commitment to the most ancient traditions of higher education. The students read the Great Books. The tutors guide their discussions. There is nothing else like them in America.
44. Savannah College of Art and Design
Savannah, Ga.; www.scad.edu; 912-525-5100
The school has 5,500 students engaged in a range of artistic pursuits, from architecture to jewelry to video and film. Its allure is enhanced by its location in one of the loveliest and most intriguing old Southern cities. Ten percent of the students come from abroad.
45. Wabash College
Crawfordsville, Ind.; www.wabash.edu; 800-345-5385
One of the last bastions of single-sex education for men, Wabash extols its "Gentleman's Rule,", a promise to behave as a gentleman and responsible citizen on and off campus. It seems to work. Like the women's colleges, applicants are very much self-selected, and the rejection rates are not so high. But the academic demands require energy and attention.
46. University of Tampa
Tampa, Fla.; www.utampa.edu; 813-253-6211
This is one of the schools that I was surprised to find on the list. The private university of 3,200 undergraduates has only the beginnings of a strong regional reputation, but counselors like what they have been hearing from students. There is a $110 million building program underway.
47. Hope College
Holland, Mich.; www.hope.edu; 800-968-7850
The school has 3,000 undergraduates enrolled in a liberal arts program buttressed with an emphasis on Christian values. Sarah Bast, a school counselor in Knoxville, Tenn., and a Hope graduate, complimented the school's strong pre-med and pre-engineering programs.
48. Evergreen State College
Olympia, Wash.; www.evergreen.edu; 877-787-9721
In keeping with the individualistic traditions of the Pacific Northwest, the 4,000 undergraduates are required to create their own course of study on this lovely campus. Dorothy Hay, a counselor at Liberty High School in Issaquah, near Seattle, said Evergreen State is famous for its refusal to give standard grades.
49. Centre College
Danville, Ky.; www.centre.edu; 800-423-6236
The college of 1,000 students is considered one of the premier intellectual gathering points in its region. It draws undergraduates who were very successful in their high school courses and professors trained at many of the brand name schools. Pope put it on his list of 40.
50. Mary Washington College
Fredericksburg, Va.; www.mwc.edu; 540-654-1000
Its strong academic reputation and low price tag as a state school have made Mary Washington a rising star. Natalie Root, a teacher at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va., said, "Parents, former students, and other teachers I have spoken to about this school all have the same basic response, 'What a great place!'"
51. Beloit College
Beloit, Wis.; www.beloit.edu; 608-363-2000
The town isn't much, but the campus of about 1,300 undergraduates has unusually good food, small classes, and an innovative faculty that have given it a solid reputation. Dory Streett of the American School of Milan, said it has an "exceptional anthropology department and very good fine arts department."
52. Bucknell University
Lewisburg, Pa.; www.bucknell.edu; 570-577-1101
The university has about 3,500 undergraduates and a solid reputation for preparing students for business, engineering and science. Mary Ann Willis, of Bayside Academy in Daphne, Ala., summed up Bucknell this way: "Sleepy town, beautiful campus, first rate teachers, good athletics, engineers have to learn how to write and think in a liberal arts way."
53. Depauw University
Greencastle, Ind.; www.depauw.edu; 800-447-2495
The beautiful campus and long tradition of excellence draw families to the school. It has a Winter Term, a month between semesters for students to get experience they can't get in the classroom.
54. Flagler College
St. Augustine, Fla.; www.flagler.edu; 904-829-6481
This is another school whose reputation is rising rapidly. Tracy L. Weaver, a guidance counselor at Fair Haven (Vt.) Union High School, said she often recommends Flagler to her students, and not just because it is her alma mater. "The classes are small, the campus is a historical landmark (the former Ponce de Leon Hotel), and the cost per year including tuition and room and board is around $10,000," she said.
55. Ithaca College
Ithaca, N.Y.; www.ithaca.edu; 800-429-4274
Overshadowed by sharing the same town with Ivy giant Cornell University, Ithaca is gaining a reputation for excellent programs in music, theater, communication and physical therapy. It has about 6,100 undergraduates, only about half of whom are from New York.
56. Johnson & Wales University
Providence, R.I.; www.jwu.edu; 401-598-1000
Here is a school with a very well defined goal-to prepare students for careers in business, technology, or culinary arts. It was established in Providence in 1914, but now has campuses in Denver, Norfolk, Charleston, S.C., and North Miami, Fla., as well as opportunity for study in Goteborg, Sweden.
57. Nazareth College of Rochester
Rochester, N.Y.; www.naz.edu; 585-389-2860
The institution was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Nazareth, in 1924, but has been an independent private college for more than 30 years. It has about 1,600 full time undergraduates, but is in the midst of a major expansion, including the purchase of a 73-acre tract next door, that will raise enrollment to about 2,000 in 2005.
58. Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, N.C.; www.wcu.edu; 877-928-4968
Counselors have remarked on the 265-acre campus, nestled between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. Annual expenses are about $6,500 for in-state students and $15,500 for out of state. It was the first university in the North Carolina system to require all students to own their own computers. It has an Honors College and a wide range of majors.
59. University of Redlands
Redlands, Calif.; www.redlands.edu; 909-335-4074
The 2,000-undergraduate, private school has long had a good reputation in California, and that is spreading. Students may design their own majors. The classes are small. The campus covers 140-acres in a lovely, hilly suburban community, close to Interstate 10 and all the pleasant distractions of Southern California.
60. Paul Smith's College
Paul Smiths, N.Y.; www.paulsmiths.edu; 800-421-2605
I suspect guidance counselors recommend this college, at least in part, because they want an excuse to visit a place that looks much more like a mountain resort than an institution of higher learning. Paul Smith's (no one has explained to me why the school gets an apostrophe and the town doesn't) began as an Adirondacks vacation stop, Paul Smith's Hotel, which attracted Teddy Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, Irving Berlin and Henry Ford. It now offers degrees in biology and natural resources as well as business, travel and tourism, and culinary arts and service management.
61. Saint Louis University
St. Louis, Mo.; www.slu.edu; 314-977-2500
The Jesuit university emphasizes career programs, as well as solid academic work. Mary Juraska at Marian Catholic High in Chicago Heights said the school of 7,200 undergraduates is "highly regarded by Illinois counselors, especially for physical therapy, business, and accounting."
62. Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, Calif.; www.scu.edu; 408-554-4700
Brian Aguilar, academic coordinator of the Upward Board Program at UC-Davis, said this private college in Silicon Valley has "an excellent pre-med reputation." The undergraduate program includes liberal arts, business and engineering.
63. Western New England College
Springfield, Mass.; www.wnec.edu; 800-325-1122
The college of 2,000 undergraduates on a lovely campus in western Massachusetts began in 1919 as a few college courses at the Springfield Central YMCA. It now offers a broad range of majors in the arts and sciences, plus business and engineering, and part-time programs at 20 locations throughout the state.
64. University of Tulsa
Tulsa; www.utulsa.edu; 918-631-2307
The oldest private university in Oklahoma, TU was founded in Muskogee as the Presbyterian School for Indian Girls. It now has 2,769 undergraduates of every ethnic background and a student/faculty ratio of 11 to one. The strong science program is augmented by well-organized opportunities for undergraduate research.
65. Lewis & Clark College
Portland, Ore.; www.lclark.edu; 503-768-7040
Portland has become one of the great college towns, and Lewis & Clark students enjoy the ambiance. There are about 1,700 undergraduates on a campus with a long tradition of liberal political activism and popular majors in psychology, English and biology.
66. Manhattanville College
Purchase, N.Y.; www.mville.edu; 914-694-2200
The beautiful 100-acre campus in Westchester County has 1,400 undergraduates pursuing liberal arts studies, with a strong emphasis on training teachers and providing internships with a variety of businesses.
67. Willamette University
Salem, Ore.; www.willamette.edu; 503-370-6303
State capitals often have attractive colleges and universities, and Salem is no exception. Willamette's political science program benefits from its proximity to Oregon's seat of government and an internship program in the District.
68. Texas Christian University
Fort Worth; www.tcu.edu; 817-257-7000
This was another guidance counselor recommendation that surprised me. I thought of TCU as a big sports school with very strong fraternities and sororities, and it is that. But high school staffers say it also has excellent programs in business, journalism, health science and education, and a beautiful campus.
69. Birmingham-Southern College
Birmingham; www.bsc.edu; 205-226-4600
It calls itself "Southern Ivy." Mary Ann Willis, college counselor at Bayside Academy in Daphne, Ala., said, "The president knows the students by name and remembers them for years. They have strong pre-professional programs and solid support for the arts. Their GALA program recognizing outstanding women draws the big names as recipients."
70. College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, Minn., www.css.edu, 800-447-5444
Linnea Velsvaag, a guidance counselor in Minnesota, said the four-year college "has the best anatomy and physiology (cadaver lab) I know of in the state. The chemistry department is incredible also."
71. University of the Pacific
Stockton, Calif.; www.uop.edu; 800-959-2867
The university has about 3,200 undergraduates on a lovely campus close enough-if you have a car-for regular visits to San Francisco and Sacramento or the Sierra Nevada mountains. "This is one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen, modeled after Yale's campus," said Lori Patton, a counselor at Casa Roble Fundamental High School in Orangevale, Calif.
72. Lawrence University
Appleton, Wis.; www.lawrence.edu; 800-227-0982
The school has only about 1,350 undergraduates who say the campus is socially slow but comfortable, and full of academic challenges. Andrew McNeill, director of college counseling at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., called Lawrence "long on intellectualism and diversity of thinking."
73. Agnes Scott College
Decatur, Ga.; www.agnesscott.edu; 800-868-8602
This is one of the smallest schools on this list, and one of the few that admits only women. There are less than 900 undergraduates, who gravitate toward a tradition of liberal arts in a Southern atmosphere with a strong connection between faculty and students. It also has one of the largest portions of African American students of any non-historically black school on this list–23 percent.
74. Berea College
Berea, Ky.; www.berea.edu; 859-985-3000 x3500
This Appalachian college was founded in 1855 by John G. Fee, an ardent abolitionist. It was dedicated from its beginning to interracial education and to the betterment of the poverty-stricken region. It pioneered a work program so that poor students could afford a private liberal arts education. Today, 80 percent of its students come from Kentucky and the Appalachian region.
75. Augustana College
Sioux Falls, S.D.; www.augie.edu; 605-274-0770
The 100-acre campus is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has about 1,650 undergraduates. In recent years nearly $20 million has been invested in new centers for social science, Western studies and humanities.
76. Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio; www.bgsu.edu; 419-372-2531
From its beginnings as a teacher-training college, Bowling Green has grown into a major institution with 260 different major degree programs and more than 16,000 undergraduates. About 65 percent of students receive financial aid.
77. Adelphi University
Garden City, N.Y.; www.adelphi.edu; 516-877-3000
Adelphi was founded in 1896, the first co-educational college in New York state. The emphasis in on liberal arts, as well as pre-professional programs in medicine, law, business, government, scientific research and media. An Honors College recruits advanced students interested in interdisciplinary work.
78. University of Denver
Denver; www.du.edu; 303-871-2036
This campus in a large and vibrant city has attracted many students with business careers in mind, but it is also working to strengthen its liberal arts courses. There are 3,900 undergraduates.
79. Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Geneva, N.Y.; www.hws.edu; 315-781-3000
These schools, a men's college and a women's college joined together, have 1,900 undergraduates on a verdant campus alongside Seneca Lake. There are small classes and a strong commitment to a liberal arts education for all. Suzy Hallock-Bannigan, director of counseling services at Woodstock (Vt.) Union High School, said that for many low-income applicants "they come up with remarkable funding opportunities and they seem to have that old Avis we-try-harder attitude."
80. University of the South
Sewanee, Tenn.; www.sewanee.edu; 931-598-1238
This school has long been popular among academically ambitious students in its region. "Students and families either instantly love this place or automatically rule its remote location out," said Mary Ann Willis, college counselor at Bayside Academy in Daphne, Ala. "The campus is lovingly referred to as The Mountain."
81. Xavier University of Louisiana
New Orleans; www.xula.edu; 504-483-7388
This is one of the premier historically black universities in the country and the only one that is Catholic. It has an impressive list of professional alumni. There are about 3,500 undergraduates, and the school offers one of the strongest health science programs anywhere. "It has produced a ton of doctors and pharmacists, and has great summer programs for high school students, especially in sciences, math, and computers," said Mary Ann Willis of Bayside Academy.
82. St. Andrews Presbyterian University
Laurinburg, N.C.; www.sapc.edu; 910-277-5555
"These people are alchemists," said Suzy Hallock-Bannigan of Woodstock (Vt.) Union High School. "It seems they develop students to the max and love them forever. It's a small and intimate sort of place." Alice T. Ledford of the American International School in Riyadh called St. Andrews "a jewel hidden away in southern North Carolina."
83. Saint Joseph's College of Maine
Standish, Maine.; www.sjcme.edu; 800-338-7057
This is a very small, co-educational college of 870 undergraduates, with plans to grow to 1,020 by 2004. It was founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy and occupies 331 beautifully forested acres along the shore of Sebago Lake, 18 miles northwest of Portland. It focuses on liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing, and business, with a very active service learning program.
84. Seattle Pacific University
Seattle; www.spu.edu; 206-281-2000
This is a private university with about 2,800 undergraduates. It is located on 45 acres in the fashionable Queen Anne Hill area of Seattle and is very serious about its evangelical Christian orientation. Ruth Bigback, a counselor at Pacific Middle School in Vancouver, Wash., praised Seattle Pacific's "high standards, both academically and ethically."
85. Western Washington University
Bellingham, Wash.; www.wwu.edu; 360-650-3000
Western, as it is called, was rated one of 31 universities nationally for a high level of individual academic attention to students by the Kaplan/Newsweek College Catalog. Dorothy Hay, a counselor at Liberty High School in Issaquah, Wash., said the school is at a scenic spot on the coast and specializes in international studies, orchestral music, foreign languages, art, education, English, geography, pre-law and sociology.
86. Eckerd College
St. Petersburg, Fla.; www.eckerd.edu; 800-456-9009
The college has about 1,600 undergraduates, many of them marine biology majors making use of the school's splendid science faculty and convenient location on Florida's Gulf Coast.
87. Drew University
Madison, N.J.; www.drew.edu; 973-408-3000
The 1,500 undergraduates are drawn to a number of internships and special programs that take advantage of the campus's proximity to New York City. Students interested in Wall Street or art or international affairs have much to choose from.
88. Chapman University
Orange, Calif.; www.chapman.edu; 714-997-6711
Chapman has 3,141 undergraduates on its campus in the middle of Orange County. Connie Decker at John W. North High in Riverside, Calif., said, "This is a tier one school, in my estimation, in music, film/TV, and economics."
89. Alfred University
Alfred, N.Y.; www.alfred.edu; 607-871-2111
The school, with 2,100 undergraduates, is known for its majors in ceramic sciences and engineering, fine arts, and business administration. Cigus Vanni, a counselor facilitator at Cherry Hill High School West in New Jersey, joked that Alfred is so isolated in upstate New York that its zip code is E-I-E-I-O. But, he said, it has great departments in visual arts, and dance and provides a "tremendous amount of personal attention."
90. Carroll College
Helena, Mont.; www.carroll.edu; 406-447-4300
This independent Catholic liberal arts college is spread over 64 acres on a tree-covered hill in Montana's state capital. Many students are drawn to the recreational opportunities, which include hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, and skiing.
91. Loyola College in Maryland
Baltimore; www.loyola.edu; 410-617-2252
This school north of downtown Baltimore has about 3,500 undergraduates who thrive in an urban environment with shops, restaurants, bars, symphonies, and big league teams in both football and baseball. The tough core curriculum weeds out those who don't understand what it means to be educated by Jesuits.
92. Knox College
Galesburg, Ill.; www.knox.edu; 800-678-5669
Several generations back, my branch of the Mathews family settled in this very rural part of Illinois. My immediate ancestors, bored out of their skulls, headed for California, but I am still fond of the area and am pleased that Knox college is recognized by counselors as a good place for students ready to work hard.
93. Miami University
Oxford, Ohio; www.miami.muohio.edu; 513-529-1809
This is a very big state school, with more than 15,000 undergraduates. But it has built a reputation for very high academic standards and very involved faculty. Andrew McNeill, director of college counseling at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., said of the school, "You'll never, ever meet an alum who does not love the place and speak of it with flowing praise."
94. Samford University
Birmingham; www.samford.edu; 205-726-3673
Samford, with about 2,900 undergraduates, offers a range of opportunities in education, nursing, pharmacy, the performing arts, and pre-professional courses for future doctors and lawyers. "This school is nestled in a nice area of Birmingham on top of a hill overlooking Lakeshore Drive," said Mary Ann Willis of Bayside Academy in Daphne, Ala.
95. University of Scranton
Scranton, Pa.; matrix.scranton.edu; 570-941-7540
This Jesuit school has 3,500 full-time undergraduates. Kenneth G. McCurdy, Scranton alumnus and director of the graduate program in counselor education at Malone College in Canton, Ohio, said the university is distinguished by "small class sizes, high academic expectations, close community environment, a metropolis campus that maintains a community atmosphere, and faculty and staff that are actively involved with the student body."
96. Randolph-Macon College
Ashland, Va.; www.rmc.edu; 804-752-7305
This co-educational college of 1,150 undergraduates wins praise from counselors for close attention to students and small classes. The campus is lovely. Relations between students are close, and the library and computer facilities are exceptional. About 60 percent of graduates go on to professional or graduate schools within five years.
97. Siena College
Loudonville, N.Y.; www.siena.edu; 518-783-2300
The school has about 3,000 undergraduates and a strong history department, as well as popular business majors. Mike Stahl at Schenectady (N.Y.) High complimented the college's "outstanding admission staff" for being "extremely supportive and helpful." He said the school has a "caring atmosphere with strong academic programs."
98. Lambuth University
Jackson, Tenn.; www.lambuth.edu; 800-526-2884
This United Methodist Church-related school in West Tennessee has a liberal arts tradition with small classes and a fine campus. Students are required to take two courses in religion, but guidance counselors say the church influence is not oppressive. "It turns out students who can read, write, and think," said Richard James, education professor and coordinator of school counseling at the University of Memphis.
99. Ohio University
Athens, Ohio; www.ohiou.edu; 740-593-1000
About to celebrate its bicentennial in 2004, this is the oldest public institution of higher learning in Ohio and a favorite of college guides that look for best buys. It has nearly 17,000 undergraduates and a strong academic standing that makes it attractive even to out-of-state applicants. "Definitely a gem," said Mary Juraska, college consultant with Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Ill.
100. Dean College
Franklin, Mass.; www.dean.edu; 877-879-3326
This is a two-year school with four-year school features, including a bachelor's degree in dance and a collaboration with Suffolk University to offer other full degrees. It has unusual links to the mutual fund industry and a warmth and accessibility that has impressed some counselors.