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Duke University
Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

10 Best Colleges in Maryland

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Crab cakes. Lacrosse. A rich history. Maryland, also known as “America in miniature,” has many claims to fame. One of them is an impressive higher education scene. The state boasts some of the most impressive research universities and liberal arts colleges in the country, including top-ranking schools. Considering attending college in Maryland? Take a look at the best schools it has to offer.


Our Ranking Methodology


In formulating our rankings, we mainly focused on school quality, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI). Additionally, we examined data such as retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earnings, and cost of attendance, among many others. You can also check out our full national rankings.


Best Colleges in Maryland


1. Johns Hopkins University


Location: Baltimore

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Middle 50% SAT: 1450-1560

Middle 50% ACT: 33-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,000


Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins holds the distinction of being the first research university in the U.S. Known widely for its medical school, JHU offers high-ranking programs in a variety of fields in addition to science—including engineering, international studies, and creative writing. The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering comprise the undergraduate Homewood campus (along with graduate programs), and the nearby Peabody Conservatory is one of the top music conservatories in the country.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Virginia Apgar, Wolf Blitzer, Michael R. Bloomberg, Rachel Carson, and Wes Craven are just some of the many notable graduates of this top-10 institution. Today, thousands of students vie for a spot at JHU.


Learn more about JHU and what it takes to get accepted.


2. University of Maryland, College Park


Location: College Park

Acceptance Rate: 47%

Middle 50% SAT: 1290-1470

Middle 50% ACT: 29-33

Undergrad Enrollment: 30,700


Maryland’s flagship campus is also one of the most highly regarded public universities in the country. It’s also home to the nation’s first “Do Good” campus, as a leader in social entrepreneurship. Across 12 schools and colleges, 102 undergraduate majors, and 29 living-learning programs, students engage in research and innovation in just about every topic imaginable.


Students can take advantage of more than 300 study-abroad destinations, as well as access 9 million titles across its eight libraries and online resources. These are just a few reasons why Maryland ranks no. 15 among U.S. News’ Best Global Schools and no. 14 among Forbes’ Top Public Colleges.


Learn more about Maryland and what it takes to get accepted.


3. St. John’s College


Location: Annapolis

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Middle 50% SAT: 1200-1460

Middle 50% ACT: 24-33

Undergrad Enrollment: 400


Comprised of dual campuses in Annapolis and Santa Fe, St. John’s is a liberal arts school whose core is in reading and seminar-style discussion classes. Student engage in language, mathematics, science, and music, but St. John’s is well-known for its Great Books curriculum. Through works of literature chosen from periods across Western civilization, students gain a comprehensive education in every core subject.


One of the oldest institutions of higher education in the nation, St. John’s encourages students to “push themselves to think deeply, discuss intensely, and live boldly.” Faculty are regarded as guides and mentors, helping students develop as independent thinkers and critical thinkers through its discussion-based curriculum. 


Learn more about SJC and what it takes to get accepted.


4. Washington College


Location: Chestertown

Acceptance Rate: 64%

Middle 50% SAT: 1070-1280

Middle 50% ACT: 23-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,300


Washington was the first college chartered in the sovereign U.S., with its founding dating back to 1782. Collaborating closely with faculty, students are able to participate in hands-on learning experiences, from research to internships to study abroad programs. Interdisciplinary programs, a diverse student population, small class sizes, and other features support Washington’s five pillars:


  1. Learning Without Limits
  2. The Written Word
  3. Environmental Action
  4. History Informing the Future
  5. Meaningful Connections


Learn more about Washington and what it takes to get accepted.


5. University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Location: Baltimore

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Middle 50% SAT: 1190-1360

Middle 50% ACT: 24-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 11,200


UMDC is an Honors University that seeks to combine liberal arts learning opportunities with the rigor of a leading research university. Comprised of seven colleges and schools, the university emphasizes STEM programs, as well as public policy and human services, while offering a strong liberal arts foundation. 


In U.S. News, UMBC is ranked the no. 6 most innovative university and the no. 6 top university for undergraduate teaching in the nation. Additionally, Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Forbes, Money, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges have named UMBC a “Best Value” university, while Times Higher Education recognizes UMBC as one of the top universities in the U.S. and a leader in global social and economic impact.


Learn more about UMBC and what it takes to get accepted.


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6. Loyola University Maryland


Location: Baltimore

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Middle 50% SAT: 1170-1330

Middle 50% ACT: 26-31

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,800


Continuing in the Jesuit tradition on which it was founded, Loyola offers more than 30 majors. The university’s core curriculum is central to its programs and helps students develop “lifelong habits of curiosity, integrity, persistence, and a passion for the pursuit of knowledge.”


The university is ranked no. 2 in the nation for long-term return on investment (ROI) out of 4,500 universities, and 98% of graduates are employed, in graduate or professional school, or participating in a year of service within 6-9 months of graduation as of 2018. Natural beauty is another claim to fame—Loyola has 81 wooded acres in North Baltimore. 


Learn more about Loyola and what it takes to get accepted.


7. Salisbury University


Location: Salisbury

Acceptance Rate: 62%

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,600


“At SU, we open doors for each other,” the university says. More than 100 undergraduate majors and minors across six colleges and schools provide many opportunities, and students participate in experiential learning, such as an annual entrepreneurship competition at the Perdue School of Business.


SU has one of the highest graduation rates in the University System of Maryland. Living learning communities, enthusiasm for community service, and a beautiful campus right near plenty of beaches complement the rigorous curriculum.


Learn more about Salisbury and what it takes to get accepted.


8. McDaniel College


Location: Westminster

Acceptance Rate: 64%

Middle 50% SAT: 1050-1230

Middle 50% ACT: 21-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,600


One-on-one mentoring, diverse student backgrounds, and a close-knit student community are the foundations of McDaniel College, whose history dates back to 1867. The McDaniel Plan, created in 2006, blends general education with students’ major programs and is augmented by electives and experiential learning. This plan was developed to help students develop core skills, like critical thinking, public speaking, and more. In addition to other accolades, McDaniel is recognized as one of 45 Colleges That Change Lives.


Learn more about McDaniel and what it takes to get accepted.


9. Towson University


Location: Towson

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Middle 50% SAT: 1060-1200

Middle 50% ACT: 20-25

Undergrad Enrollment: 19,800


Towson calls itself the “best of both worlds,” combining a close-knit community and personalized approach to learning with the faculty, resources, and programs of a large university. Located just outside of Baltimore, Towson offers extensive opportunities for research and internships, thanks to a number of partnerships and connections with outside organizations.


Towson is the second-largest university in the University System of Maryland. The university offers 64 undergraduate majors, 46 master’s programs, and four doctoral degree programs, from business administration to nursing, across 7 schools and colleges, including the Honors College.


Learn more about Towson and what it takes to get accepted.


10. Goucher College


Location: Baltimore

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Middle 50% SAT: 1050-1260

Middle 50% ACT: 23-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,500


A top liberal arts college, Goucher offers programs in a wide array of fields, including Computer Science, Education Studies, French Transnational Studies, Integrative Data Analytics, and Peace Studies, along with an Individualized Interdisciplinary Major and combined degree programs with JHU and Loyola. The school also has a Community-Based Learning Program, with opportunities in areas like Animal Welfare, Criminal Justice & Prison Education, Immigrant & Refugee Programs, and many others.


In the past few years, Goucher overhauled its general education requirements and instituted the Goucher Commons curriculum, which includes a first-year seminar, a capstone course, and inquiry themes. Outside of the classroom, students enjoy numerous opportunities. For example, the college has a top-10 ranked equestrian team. 


Learn more about Goucher and what it takes to get accepted.


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


These schools are all selective, but your personal chances of acceptance depend on your unique profile. Find out your real odds of admission to schools in Maryland, along with hundreds of other colleges across the country, by using our free chancing engine. Taking into account your qualifications, including grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, we’ll estimate your true chances of acceptance — plus give you tips on how to improve your profile!


Our chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list of colleges inside and outside of Maryland. By providing your odds of acceptance, you can strategically assign safety, target, and reach schools and put yourself in the best position to get into a college that fits your needs and meets your expectations. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.