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Brooke Elkjer
6 School Rankings

10 Best Colleges in New Hampshire

What’s Covered:

 

If you have always loved frosty winters and want to attend a college where an escape into the natural world is just steps away, New Hampshire might be the place for you.

 

New Hampshire is a state with a wide variety of colleges. From Dartmouth College—a prominent Ivy League school with rigorous academics—to Magdalen College and Thomas More College—two of the most religious schools in the nation, there’s a school for everyone. In general, New Hampshire schools are known for their emphasis on community and growth.

 

Read along to learn about the 10 best colleges in New Hampshire.

 

Our Ranking Methodology

 

As we rank schools, we mainly focused on school quality, student outcomes, and ROI (return on investment). A number of data points, including retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earning, and cost of attendance, factor into the ranking methodology. Students can find the rankings for 1,500+ schools (and calculate chances of admissions) on our combined rankings list.

 

Best Colleges in New Hampshire

 

1. Dartmouth College

 

Location: Hanover, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 9.2% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1430-1550

Middle 50% ACT: 32-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 4,400

 

As one of the nation’s prestigious Ivy League colleges, Dartmouth is the most academically challenging school in New Hampshire. It is the ninth-oldest school in the country. Dartmouth runs on a ten-week quarter system and is known for all-around outstanding programs, but particularly for excellence in Business, Engineering, and Medicine. Social life at Dartmouth aims to be inclusive; for example, attending Greek life events does not involve meeting any gender requirements, membership requirements, or fees. Everyone is included! Dartmouth also boasts many school traditions like an annual snowball fight and trips for first-year students that contribute to a positive campus culture.  

 

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

 

2. Saint Anselm College

 

Location: Manchester, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 76% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1150-1280

Middle 50% ACT: 25-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,000

 

Saint Anselm College is a small Catholic liberal arts school known for its emphasis on Benedictine hospitality and community. In fact, there is a monastery on campus at the Abbey Church and it is not uncommon to see monks on campus. Saint A’s has a challenging academic curriculum that heavily emphasizes the liberal arts and religious studies. Students are required to take multiple liberal arts seminars, multiple semesters of philosophy, and multiple semesters of theology. The Saint Anselm nursing school is one of the college’s most prestigious programs, ranking in the top 10% nationally and having a lower admission rate than that of the university as a whole.

 

Learn more about Saint Anselm and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. University of New Hampshire (UNH) 

 

Location: Durham, NH

Acceptance Rate: 84.8% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1100-1270

Middle 50% ACT: 24-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 12,800

 

UNH is known for school spirit and camaraderie amongst students. One unifying factor on campus is support for the Wildcats D1 Ice Hockey Team. When attending a hockey game, you will always find abundant school spirit and friendship that is emblematic of the spirit of UNH. This same spirit can be found on the Main Street strip, which is bustling day-in and day-out as students meet at coffee shops, stores, and restaurants to enjoy each other’s company. Academically, UNH has a promising business school and a high-ranking kinesiology program. The UNH Army ROTC program is also one of the top 8 in the nation.

 

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

 

4. Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts

 

Location: Warner, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Middle 50% SAT: N/A

Middle 50% ACT: N/A 

Undergrad Enrollment: < 100

 

With an undergraduate enrollment of under 100 students, Magdalen College of the Arts is the pinnacle of a close-knit community. The college’s small cohort of students is bound together by their common academic curriculum, as well as social events like bonfires, meals, and dances, and faith-related events like daily morning prayers, evening prayers, and Compline singing. The Magdalen education focuses on the “great books” of Western civilization, with a full list of the Sequence of Readings available on their website. The college has limited degree programs, with options including philosophy, literature, and theology. 

 

Learn more about Magdalen College and what it takes to get accepted.

 

5. Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

 

Location: Merrimack, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 89.6% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1100-1310

Middle 50% ACT: 21-24

Undergrad Enrollment: < 100

 

Thomas More College provides a similar classical Catholic education to that of Magdalen College and was actually founded by the co-founder and former president of Magdalen College. Unlike Magdalen College, however, at Thomas More there is only one major offered: the BA in Liberal Arts and the Humanities. Students at Thomas More are required to participate in is a semester abroad in Rome during the second semester of sophomore year. Additionally, about half of the undergraduate student body participates in the Auriesville Pilgrimage for Restoration annually.

 

Learn more about Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. University of New Hampshire at Manchester 

 

Location: Manchester, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 73.2% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1000-1210

Middle 50% ACT: 22-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 700

 

UNH Manchester is the urban location of UNH. It is primarily a commuter campus, though there is one residence hall downtown that partners with New England College so that residents have access to a dining facility. The UNH Manchester campus consists of one building, which facilitates a cohesive community. This satellite campus places a heavy emphasis on STEM programs and is heavily associated with the Manchester STEM community. Additionally, UNH is home to the first accredited ASL/English translation program in the nation which is currently one of only 14 accredited ASL/English programs nationwide.

 

Learn more about University of New Hampshire at Manchester and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. Rivier University

 

Location: Nashua, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 75% 

Middle 50% SAT: 970-1110

Middle 50% ACT: 19-22

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,400

 

Like many New Hampshire colleges, Rivier is a Catholic college that places a heavy emphasis on training the young person’s entire self, rather than simply training a student academically. That said, Rivier differs from colleges like Magdalen and Thomas More due to its larger enrollment. With a larger student body, the university boasts numerous resources, including a spread of extracurricular activities including Model UN, a Gay-Straight Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, and intramural and club sports. Rivier is known for maintaining its traditional roots while simultaneously adjusting to modern trends regarding world views. 

 

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

 

8. Southern New Hampshire University 

 

Location: Manchester, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 94% 

Middle 50% SAT: 960-1160

Middle 50% ACT: 19-25

Undergrad Enrollment: 82,600

 

SNHU is a university with a small on-campus student body and a large (and growing) online student body, known for its staff and advisors who are knowledgeable and provide a good support system for all university students. One unique feature of the SNHU experience is the school’s academic calendar, which includes six eight-week terms per year. Many students say that this calendar gives them the flexibility they need to spread out their course load, allowing greater success in courses. The school offers numerous programs for students to choose from, with 48 on-campus degree programs and 200+ online degree programs.

 

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

 

9. Keene State College 

 

Location: Keene, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 91% 

Middle 50% SAT: 990-1160

Middle 50% ACT: 21-25

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,400

 

KSC is a small college in the small town of Keene. The school embraces its small-town roots and the students typically report feeling like one big family. Additionally, the school’s location facilitates a serene campus where students feel connected to the surrounding natural world. Keene is home to the Keene Pumpkin Festival, which has served as a local tradition and a KSC Owl tradition for decades. The university’s most popular (as well as most renowned) program is the education program.

 

Learn more about Keene State College and what it takes to get accepted.

 

10. Colby-Sawyer College 

 

Location: New London, NH 

Acceptance Rate: 91% 

Middle 50% SAT: 1010-1190

Middle 50% ACT: 19-25

Undergrad Enrollment: 800

 

Colby-Sawyer is a small college where the students and faculty put energy into creating a tight-knit community. For example, on one day during the first few weeks of school each year, the president cancels classes and students take shuttles up to Mt. Kearsarge to have a fun cookout. In addition to the mountain cookout, students get free season passes to Mt. Sunapee for skiing and snowboarding. Academically, CSC boasts small classes, with a 25 student cap. The college also has a book loaning system with Dartmouth so students can access just about any book they want. Finally, CSC has a large percentage of students on financial aid and can serve as a great option for lower-income students interested in a New Hampshire education. 

 

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

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

Each of these schools has a different average acceptance rate, but your personal chances of acceptance at these schools may be higher or lower than the average acceptance rate.

 

To find out your personal chances of acceptance at each of these top schools in New Hampshire (along with any other schools you are interested in) use CollegeVine’s chancing engine. By taking into account your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance at different schools and give you tips on improving your profile. 

 

It is important to remember to create a balanced college list with safety, target, and reach schools. These categories are determined by your chances of acceptance at the schools you are applying to. The CollegeVine chancing engine helps students find the perfect balance for their school list.

Brooke Elkjer
Blog Writer

Short Bio
Brooke is a senior at the University of Southern California and is originally from Dallas, Texas. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. Brooke is the senior advisor for the intersectional feminist production company on campus, ART/EMIS. She also is a Resident Assistant (RA) and a student worker for the Thematic Option Honors GE Program. In her free time, Brooke enjoys reading, writing, and watching Gilmore Girls.