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175 Small Private Colleges For The A/B/C High School Student To Check Out

By V. Peter Pitts, M.A. 9/17/2023


Does this sound familiar? “My son has a 2.9 and less than 1,100 on the SAT. We can afford no more than mid to upper 20’s per year for his college. He wants a small private college. Are there options? Where should he look?”


Here is an updated list of colleges for these parents to check out. These 175 colleges all (on average after merit aid) cost most families upper $20K’s or less (average is about $26K). These colleges admit (on average) 81% of their applicants. Most of these admit 10-20% of their freshmen with less than a 3.0. They are all test optional (but, for those who do submit test scores, 25% of their freshmen have less than 1100 SAT/22 ACT).



Don’t give up on small private colleges. Why? Because these small private college will not give up on you! They can give your student just the boost they need at a price that you can afford. In my 42 year admissions career at Monmouth College in Illinois, some of my favorite students had lower GPA’s or test scores from high school, but then blossomed in college. They are now lawyers, teachers. doctors, business managers, social workers, or successful in any of a myriad of successful careers. True confession: I had less than a 2.9 in high school and, with the help of some awesome professors, eventually figured things out. I graduated with my Masters and a 3.6 GPA. With the exception of my Masters (U of Iowa), all my education was small colleges. Mount Saint Clare A.A. (200 students), Wartburg College B.A. (1,800 students). Small colleges rock!


Here is the list of 175 colleges to check out:


Birmingham-Southern AL

Spring Hill College AL

University of Mobile AL

Lyon College AR

University of the Ozarks AR

Fresno Pacific University CA

University of La Verne CA

Vanguard U of Southern California CA

University of Saint Joseph CT

Trinity Washington University DC

Stetson University FL

Brenau University GA

Wesleyan College GA

Chaminade University Honolulu HI

Buena Vista University IA

Central College IA

Clarke University IA

Coe College IA

Graceland University IA

Loras College IA

Luther College IA

Morningside University IA

Mount Mercy University IA

Northwestern College IA

Saint Ambrose University IA

Simpson College IA

Wartburg College IA

Northwest Nazarene University ID

Augustana College IL

Blackburn College IL

Concordia-River Forest IL

Dominican University IL

Elmhurst University IL

Eureka College IL

Illinois College IL

Lewis University IL

McKendree University IL

Millikin University IL

Monmouth College IL

Moody Bible Institute IL

North Park University IL

Quincy University IL

St. Xavier University IL

Trinity Christian College IL

University of St. Francis IL

Earlham College IN

Franklin College IN

Goshen College IN

Indiana Tech IN

Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion IN

Manchester University IN

Marian University IN

University of St. Francis IN

Valparaiso University IN

Baker University KS

Friends University KS

Kansas Wesleyan University KS

Newman University KS

University of Saint Mary KS

Brescia University KY

Georgetown College KY

Midway University KY

Spalding University KY

Thomas More University KY

Loyola University New Orleans LA

University of Holy Cross LA

Xavier University of Louisiana LA

McDaniel College MD

Husson University ME

Albion College MI

Alma College MI

Andrews University MI

Aquinas College MI

Cleary University MI

Madonna University MI

Northwood University MI

Spring Arbor University MI

Concordia College--Moorhead MN

Concordia University--St. Paul MN

Hamline University MN

Saint Catherine University MN

Saint Mary's University MN MN

Avila University MO

Cottey College MO

Culver-Stockton College MO

Drury University MO

Fontbonne University MO

Rockhurst University MO

Stephens College MO

Webster University MO

Belhaven University MS

Rocky Mountain College MT

University of Providence MT

Catawba College NC

Lees-McRae College NC

Mars Hill University NC

Salem College NC

University of Mary ND

Clarkson College NE

College of Saint Mary NE

Concordia University -Nebraska NE

Doane University NE

Hastings College NE

Midland University NE

Nebraska Methodist College NE

Union College Nebraska NE

Canisius College NY

D'Youville University NY

Le Moyne College NY

Niagara University NY

St. Bonaventure University NY

Utica University NY

Antioch College OH

Capital University OH

Franklin University OH

Heidelberg University OH

Marietta College OH

Mount Saint Joseph University OH

Muskingum University OH

Ohio Dominican University OH

Otterbein University OH

University of Mount Union OH

Ursuline College OH

Walsh University OH

Wittenberg University OH

Mid-America Christian University OK

Cedar Crest College PA

Elizabethtown College PA

Gannon University PA

Gwynedd Mercy University PA

Holy Family University PA

King's College - Pennsylvania PA

Lycoming College PA

Misericordia University PA

Saint Vincent College PA

Seton Hill University PA

Westminster College PA

York College of Pennsylvania PA

Charleston Southern University SC

Columbia International University SC

Presbyterian College SC

Southern Wesleyan University SC

Augustana University SD

Dakota Wesleyan University SD

University of Sioux Falls SD

Christian Brothers University TN

King University - Tennessee TN

Maryville College TN

Southern Adventist University TN

Trevecca Nazarene University TN

Southwestern Adventist University TX

Texas Lutheran University TX

Texas Wesleyan University TX

University of St. Thomas - TX TX

Emory and Henry College VA

Randolph-Macon College VA

Sweet Briar College VA

University of Lynchburg VA

Northwest University WA

Saint Martin's University WA

Walla Walla University WA

Alverno College WI

Beloit College WI

Carroll University WI

Carthage College WI

Concordia University-Wisconsin WI

Edgewood College WI

Marian University WI

Mount Mary University WI

Northland College WI

Ripon College WI

Viterbo University WI

Wisconsin Lutheran College WI

Davis and Elkins College WV

West Virginia Wesleyan College WV


Note: About 2/3 of these colleges are listed in my new book (click image for additional information):



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