Announces the Top Small Colleges & Universities in the U.S. for 2021

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — From tiny houses to pandemic pods, small is in. It’s the age of introversion, personal projects, and little pleasures.

This is good news for prospective college students who prefer the small school experience. Today, many higher education institutions cater to the need for a more intimate learning environment. To that end, ranks the leading American colleges and universities with a student body of 5,000 students and fewer:

50 Best Small Colleges and Universities of 2021

“Small schools with fewer students and faculty can still be highly influential in academics and thought leadership,” says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University. “The schools in our ranking are powerhouses in their own right. They offer a tremendous opportunity to students looking to benefit from a college or university that packs a lot into an undergrad education without packing students into classes in enormous lecture halls.”

Criteria for the schools in this ranking include the 5,000-student upper limit, full accreditation, and operation as a nonprofit organization. The following schools feature in the ranking:

  • Amherst College
  • Bard College
  • Barnard College
  • Bates College
  • Bennington College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carleton College
  • The Catholic University of America
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Clark University
  • Clarke University
  • Colgate University
  • College of the Atlantic
  • Connecticut College
  • Cooper Union
  • DePauw University
  • Earlham College
  • Fisk University
  • Goddard College
  • Grinnell College
  • Hamilton College
  • Hampshire College
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Haverford College
  • Kenyon College
  • Middlebury College
  • Morehouse College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Naropa University
  • New College of Florida
  • Oberlin College
  • Occidental College
  • Pitzer College
  • Pomona College
  • Reed College
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Scripps College
  • Smith College
  • Spelman College
  • Swarthmore College
  • Trinity College (Connecticut)
  • Vassar College
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Wheaton College (Illinois)
  • Williams College
  • Yeshiva University

Visit the link above to view the final ranking order, find top schools by state, and see additional schools outside the top 50.

“A tighter-knit college community, personalized studies, better student-to-faculty ratios, and greater access to professors and staff—these are just a few of the advantages of a smaller school,” adds Macosko. “Students looking for colleges and universities that offer those elements, along with superior scholarship and influential academics, will find them in our ranking.”

Founded in October 2016, with funding assistance from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Influence Networks developed the InfluenceRanking Engine, the machine-learning technology behind’s advanced rankings. The InfluenceRanking Engine scans and analyzes the web, mapping the impact of a school’s thought leadership across a variety of disciplines. For further details on the unique capabilities and advantages of this high-tech ranking system, see the About page.

“Whether it’s a small college, bustling megacampus, or online university, can help you find a higher ed option that suits you,” says Macosko. “In addition, our College Strategist, Desirability Score, and Custom College Rankings tools can focus your search and introduce you to schools you might otherwise have overlooked but which align with your specific wants and needs.” is the preeminent technology-driven rankings site dedicated to students, researchers, and inquirers from high school through college and beyond, offering resources that connect learners to leaders. is a part of the EducationAccess group, a family of sites dedicated to lifelong learning and personal growth, including Influence Networks, (nonfiction publishing and publishers of Bright Notes), (instructional video library), (free, online library and reader), and soon, Success Portraits (personalized strengths inventory for college and career).


Jed Macosko, Ph.D.
Academic Director

(682) 302-4945