What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)
Timothy Peck
6 School Rankings

9 Best Colleges in West Virginia

What’s Covered:


West Virginia might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about where to go to college, but approximately 75% of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive of the state. Thanks in part to being within easy reach of such a large swath of the population, the Mountain State is home to a variety of excellent institutions ranging from large public institutions like West Virginia University to smaller liberal arts schools like West Virginia Wesleyan College. 


Interested in seeing the world? You don’t even need to study abroad if attending college in West Virginia. The state is known for its towns named after global cities, including Athens, Berlin, Cairo, Calcutta, Geneva, Ghent, Glasgow, Killarney, Lima, London, Moscow, Odessa, Ottawa, Palermo, Rangoon, Santiago, Shanghai, Vienna, and Wellington 


Our Ranking Methodology


Our list of the 10 best colleges in West Virginia was mainly constructed with a focus on school quality, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI). It also considers a host of other factors such as retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earnings, and cost of attendance. You can find CollegeVine’s rankings in their entirety here.


Best Colleges in West Virginia


1. West Virginia University | WVU


Location: Morgantown, WV   

Acceptance Rate: 82%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1050-1240

Middle 50% ACT: 21-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 21,155 


Founded as a land grant university in 1867, West Virginia University was originally known as the Agricultural College of West Virginia. WVU opened as an all-male, all-white institution—the first woman wasn’t admitted until 1889 (she finished first in her class) and it took until 1954 for the first African American to earn an undergraduate degree from WVU. Before the Supreme Court’s decision on the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, segregation was common in public schools and universities. Today, WVU is taking steps to create a more inclusive campus, although it’s worth noting that the undergraduate student body is largely monoethnic—17,023 out of 20,495 students identify as white. 


Learn more about West Virginia University and what it takes to get accepted.


2. University of Charleston


Location: Charleston, WV   

Acceptance Rate: 50%   

Middle 50% SAT: 940-1140

Middle 50% ACT: 19-24

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,172 


The University of Charleston was founded in 1888 as the Barboursville Seminary, became Morris Harvey College in 1901, and took its current name in 1978. The University of Charleston is divided into four colleges:


  • The School of Arts and Sciences
  • The Bert Bradford School of Health Sciences
  • The School of Business and Leadership
  • The UC School of Pharmacy


The school is located on a beautiful riverfront campus within close proximity to the state capital and downtown Charleston, providing a wealth of internship, career, and recreational opportunities. 


Learn more about the University of Charleston and what it takes to get accepted.


3. Davis & Elkins College


Location: Elkins, WV   

Acceptance Rate: 40%   

Middle 50% SAT: 920-1140

Middle 50% ACT: 18-23

Undergrad Enrollment: 751 


Davis & Elkins college can trace itself to two U.S. Senators: Henry Gassaway Davis and his son-in-law, Stephen Benton Elkins. The college honors its congressional history with its nickname, the Senators. Davis & Elkins is a small school (just over 700 students) and is set in the quaint college town of Elkins (approximately 7,000 residents). It’s common for students to say that the town of Elkins feels like an extension of the college. On campus, students will find a tight-knit community—the college has a low 12:1, student-to-faculty ratio and the median class size is just 25 students. 


Learn more about Davis & Elkins College and what it takes to get accepted.


4. West Virginia Wesleyan College


Location: Buckhannon, WV

Acceptance Rate: 64%   

Middle 50% SAT: 940-1120

Middle 50% ACT: 18-24

Undergrad Enrollment: 979


West Virginia Wesleyan College was founded in 1890 by the United Methodist Church and the school remains closely tied to the church today. A West Virginia Wesleyan College education is firmly rooted in liberal arts; the school offers over 50 majors covering fields ranging from biology and environmental science to theater and dance. West Virginia Wesleyan College instills the principles formed at the intersection of Christian faith and liberal education and graduates students who are:


  • Critical thinkers
  • Effective communicators
  • Responsible
  • Committed to serving local and global communities 


Learn more about West Virginia Wesleyan College and what it takes to get accepted.


5. Marshall University


Location: Huntington, WV   

Acceptance Rate: 89%   

Middle 50% SAT: 940-1150

Middle 50% ACT: 19-25

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,771


In addition to being one of the best colleges in West Virginia, Marshall University is also one of the oldest. The college was founded in 1837 and is named after John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. The school gained national attention in 1970 when the plane flying most of the Marshall football team crashed, killing all 75 passengers, which included 37 members of the football team, eight football coaches (including the head coach), the athletic director, 25 boosters, and five flight crew members. The Memorial Fountain is located at the heart of Marshall’s campus and serves as a constant reminder of the lives lost. The 2006 Mathew McConaughey film, We Are Marshall, is a biographical drama detailing the aftermath of the tragic event. 


Learn more about Marshall University and what it takes to get accepted.


6. West Liberty University


Location: West Liberty, WV   

Acceptance Rate: 68%   

Middle 50% SAT: 900-1120

Middle 50% ACT: 17-23

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,125


West Liberty University is a small school with an undergraduate population of just over 2,000, but it has a big history. West Liberty is the oldest public institution in West Virginia, founded in 1837—26 years before the state was even admitted to the nation. West Liberty is located in the northern panhandle of the state, and the town earned its name due to being the westernmost point of the newly independent United States following the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The university is within five miles of both Ohio and Pennsylvania, and is closer to Columbus (the capital of Ohio) and Pittsburg (Pennsylvania’s second-largest city) than it is to Charleston (West Virginia’s capital and largest city). 


Learn more about West Liberty University and what it takes to get accepted.


7. West Virginia University Institute of Technology


Location: Beckley, WV

Acceptance Rate: 61%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1020-1190

Middle 50% ACT: 21-27

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,755 


The West Virginia University Institute of Technology is part of the larger West Virginia University system. The university is home to two colleges—the College of Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences and the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences—through which it offers more than 30 academic programs, including nine ABET-accredited engineering programs. West Virginia University Institute of Technology has a reputation for positive outcomes, ranking 162nd for in-state students and 216th for out-of-state students (out of 1,978 colleges and universities) on Payscale’s list of best value colleges


Learn more about West Virginia University Institute of Technology and what it takes to get accepted.


8. Alderson Broaddus University


Location: Philippi, WV   

Acceptance Rate: 47%   

Middle 50% SAT: 860-1060

Middle 50% ACT: 16-22

Undergrad Enrollment: 790


Alderson Broaddus University is a liberal arts Christian university affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the West Virginia Baptist Convention. Although Alderson Broaddus University is religiously affiliated, it supports religious freedom and respects diverse expressions of faith. The university offers more than 30 bachelor’s degree programs—ranging from accounting to sports management—through its five academic colleges:


  • College of Business 
  • College of Health, Science, Technology, and Mathematics
  • College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences 
  • College of Medical Science
  • College of Adult and Distance Education  


Learn more about Alderson Broaddus University and what it takes to get accepted.


9. Shepherd University


Location: Shepherdstown, WV   

Acceptance Rate: 96%   

Middle 50% SAT: 970-1170

Middle 50% ACT: 19-26

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,354


Shepherd University is a public liberal arts school founded in 1871. The university is located in the oldest town in West Virginia, Shepherdstown, and is within 20 miles of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Furthermore, it’s within 90 minutes from both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, which offers students a variety of internship and career opportunities. Closer to campus, Shepherd University is known for its small average class size (14 students) and low student-to-faculty ratio (14:1). Future history majors will be interested to know that landmarks like Harpers Ferry and Antietam Battlefield are close to campus. 


Learn more about Shepherd University and what it takes to get accepted.


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Curious about your odds of acceptance at one of the 10 best colleges in West Virginia? CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing engine uses a number of factors such as grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities to predict your odds of getting into hundreds of schools in West Virginia and across the country.


Our chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list of colleges both inside and outside of the Mountain State. 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
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.