10 Best Colleges in Arkansas
From the Ozarks to Little Rock, along the Delta and through the Timberlands, Arkansas is a state filled with nature and Southern culture. The history, scenery, and people of Arkansas combine to make it a unique place to pursue an undergraduate education. Here are the top ten best colleges and universities in the state.
Our Ranking Methodology
We placed a focus on school quality, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI) when making this list of the best ten schools in Arkansas. We analyzed data ranging from retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earnings, cost of attendance, and more. Learn how CollegeVine has ranked thousands of schools across the US.
Best Colleges in Arkansas
1. Ouachita Baptist University
Location: Arkadelphia, AR
Acceptance Rate: 64%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1060-1250/21-28
Undergrad Enrollment: 1,600
Located in the serene Ouachita mountains, Ouachita Baptist University offers some of the top degree programs in the state. Ouachita has a wide array of majors to choose from, both in traditional fields and ministry-related tracks. It stands out with its DISCOVER mentorship program for undeclared majors as well as its Christ-centered community. Beyond the classroom, students can enjoy university-run outdoor recreational activities.
2. University of Arkansas
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1120-1300/23-30
Undergrad Enrollment: 23,300
Razorbacks conduct top-notch research, study over 200 majors, and enjoy a vibrant campus life at Arkansas’ flagship public university. Arkansas stands out for its commitment to build a better Arkansas and world. From research focused on encouraging economic development to concerts featuring Snoop Dogg, the university’s large student body is afforded a large array of opportunities for academic and personal growth.
3. Hendrix College
Location: Conway, AR
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1150-1360/27-32
Undergrad Enrollment: 1,200
Hendrix College seeks to challenge its students to constantly make discoveries. A Hendrix liberal arts education is engaging — the Hendrix Odyssey program provides hands-on learning experiences, while customized interdisciplinary studies majors let students explore their passions. Hendrix also has an active club scene and a fun-loving, tight-knit, free spirited campus community. Birthdays are even celebrated with special school traditions!
4. Harding University
Location: Searcy, AR
Acceptance Rate: 75%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1060-1270/21-29
Undergrad Enrollment: 3,900
Christian ideals, generous financial aid, and strong support for veterans define Harding. The university is home to 100 academic majors, devotional groups, and national conferences like the Annual Bible Lectureship. Through all of the experiences that make up their time in Searcy, Harding students learn how to be leaders with character, Christians with conviction, and lifelong learners.
5. John Brown University
Location: Siloam Springs, AR
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1060-1260/23-29
Undergrad Enrollment: 1,900
Named after evangelist and educator John E. Brown, JBU follows his values by providing students with a pragmatic, Christ-centered liberal arts education. JBU’s location in northwest Arkansas provides the best of both city and small-town living. Its chapel and student ministries nurture students’ faith through community. All of this is combined with a transformative education which teaches lifelong learning skills — skills that prepare students to excel in current fields and adapt to jobs which do not exist yet.
6. University of the Ozarks
Location: Clarksville, AR
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 870-1050/18-23
Undergrad Enrollment: 800
University of the Ozarks empowers students to embark on a journey of intellectual, social, and spiritual growth. Through a multidisciplinary approach, students can take the road less traveled with their education — one example path is the LENS program, which challenges students to study the humanities, social sciences, and STEM to become “a well-rounded force to be reckoned with.” Outside of class, students enjoy outdoor activities in the picturesque Ozarks region, faith exploration activities, and service projects.
7. Lyon College
Location: Batesville, AR
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1040-1200 /21-26
Undergrad Enrollment: 600
Lyon is a small liberal arts college which prepares students to make the most of life with a holistic education. With 18 majors as well as a wide selection of pre-professional programs and concentrations, Lyon allows students to follow their intellectual passions and career goals at the same time. Lyon values integrity in academics and encourages adventure, especially in the vibrant town of Batesville.
8. Arkansas State University – Main Campus
Location: Jonesboro, AR
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1013-1220/21-27
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,300
A-State turns incoming freshmen into adaptable innovators. The university has particularly strong academic programs which explore emerging technologies and new sciences. A-State is also adept at connecting students with learning opportunities outside the classroom — laboratories, galleries, theaters, internships, co-ops and more are some of the places where students can enrich their learning. Learning is fostered more through international programs and cheering for the Red Wolves.
9. Southern Arkansas University – Main Campus
Location: Magnolia, AR
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 966-1168/18-24
Undergrad Enrollment: 3,900
Over 100 undergraduate degree programs are on offer at a university which is centrally located in the Mississippi Delta region. SAU combines affordable academics with unique campus activities, such as SAB’s Fall Fest Chili Cook Off and Leadership Academy. Active Greek life and a strong alumni network fortify SAU’s focus on the values of Love and Loyalty.
10. University of Arkansas at Little Rock | UA Little Rock
Location: Little Rock, AR
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 960-1150/19-25
Undergrad Enrollment: 7,700
Flexible learning and 60 majors. Unmatched internship opportunities. A metropolitan location. These are just some of the resources that set UA Little Rock apart. Others include the university’s commitment to community service in the local area, where students can serve anywhere from a public radio station to a technology development center. UA Little Rock also has exceptional research centers studying integrative nanotechnology sciences and emerging analytics.
What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
Want to discover your odds of admission at one of the top schools in Arkansas? CollegeVine is here to help. Our free chancing engine utilizes data about your whole application profile to predict your chances of acceptance at thousands of colleges and universities across the country. Though all of these schools are selective, your personal chances may be higher or lower depending on your profile.
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