50 Best Colleges on the East Coast

Considering the United States was birthed from a revolution waged along the Eastern Seaboard, it makes sense that the roots of the country's higher education system were planted there as well. Harvard University came first, founded in 1636, predating the Declaration of Independence by 140 years. The nation's oldest institution of higher learning was followed by a slew of state and public universities throughout the 13 colonies.

The East Coast remains home to a number of private and public colleges that consistently top "best of" lists, highlighted by the prestigious Ivy League eight. Stacker combed through Niche's 2021 Best Colleges in America list (current as of February 2021) in order to discover which 50 East Coast schools, old and new, are the cream of the crop.

50 best colleges on the East Coast
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Niche ranks colleges by analyzing student and alumni reviews, as well as data on academic, admissions, and student life culled from the U.S. Department of Education. Stacker filtered its list to include schools in the District of Columbia and states that border the Atlantic Ocean within 100 miles of their eastern borders: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Click through the list to find the best schools on the East Coast, and if any of them could beat out the Ivies for the top spot.

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#50. Lafayette College
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50. Lafayette College

- Location: Easton, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,603
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 31%
- Graduation rate: 88%
- Six-year median earnings: $68,600
- Two-year employment rate: 93%
- Overall rank: #72

Smith College
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49. Smith College

- Location: Northampton, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,490
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 32%
- Graduation rate: 89%
- Six-year median earnings: $46,200
- Two-year employment rate: 88%
- Overall rank: #71

#48. University of Miami
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48. University of Miami

- Location: Coral Gables, FL
- Undergraduate enrollment: 10,484
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 27%
- Graduation rate: 83%
- Six-year median earnings: $60,100
- Two-year employment rate: 90%
- Overall rank: #70

#47. Bates College
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47. Bates College

- Location: Lewiston, ME
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,832
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 12%
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Six-year median earnings: $59,200
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #69

#46. Vassar College
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46. Vassar College

- Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,442
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 24%
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Six-year median earnings: $54,600
- Two-year employment rate: 93%
- Overall rank: #67

Villanova
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45. Villanova University

- Location: Villanova, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,565
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 28%
- Graduation rate: 90%
- Six-year median earnings: $77,900
- Two-year employment rate: 95%
- Overall rank: #64

Lehigh
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44. Lehigh University

- Location: Bethlehem, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,982
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 32%
- Graduation rate: 90%
- Six-year median earnings: $81,900
- Two-year employment rate: 95%
- Overall rank: #63

University of Richmond
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43. University of Richmond

- Location: Richmond, VA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 3,040
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 28%
- Graduation rate: 89%
- Six-year median earnings: $64,500
- Two-year employment rate: 95%
- Overall rank: #62

Virginia Tech
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42. Virginia Tech

- Location: Blacksburg, VA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 27,180
- Student to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Acceptance rate: 70%
- Graduation rate: 86%
- Six-year median earnings: $62,500
- Two-year employment rate: 96%
- Overall rank: #60

#41. University of Georgia
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41. University of Georgia

- Location: Athens, GA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 27,947
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 45%
- Graduation rate: 87%
- Six-year median earnings: $50,500
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #59

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UF Gainesville
Fans during a game between the Florida Gators and the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

40. University of Florida

- Location: Gainesville, FL
- Undergraduate enrollment: 32,209
- Student to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Acceptance rate: 37%
- Graduation rate: 88%
- Six-year median earnings: $56,000
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #56

#39. Boston University
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39. Boston University

- Location: Boston, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 17,396
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 19%
- Graduation rate: 88%
- Six-year median earnings: $65,300
- Two-year employment rate: 93%
- Overall rank: #55

#38. William & Mary
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38. William & Mary

- Location: Williamsburg, VA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,300
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 38%
- Graduation rate: 90%
- Six-year median earnings: $58,500
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #54

Hamilton College
Google Maps

37. Hamilton College

- Location: Clinton, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,991
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 93%
- Six-year median earnings: $60,200
- Two-year employment rate: 91%
- Overall rank: #53

#36. Wesleyan University
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36. Wesleyan University

- Location: Middletown, CT
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,928
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 92%
- Six-year median earnings: $54,700
- Two-year employment rate: 90%
- Overall rank: #52

#35. New York University
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35. New York University

- Location: New York, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 25,725
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 85%
- Six-year median earnings: $61,900
- Two-year employment rate: 91%
- Overall rank: #51

#34. Northeastern University
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34. Northeastern University

- Location: Boston, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 13,864
- Student to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Acceptance rate: 18%
- Graduation rate: 89%
- Six-year median earnings: $67,400
- Two-year employment rate: 95%
- Overall rank: #50

Boston College
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33. Boston College

- Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 9,696
- Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Acceptance rate: 27%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Six-year median earnings: $72,500
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #49

UNC Chapel Hill
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32. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

- Location: Chapel Hill, NC
- Undergraduate enrollment: 18,526
- Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Acceptance rate: 23%
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Six-year median earnings: $55,600
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #48

Davidson College
Google Maps

31. Davidson College

- Location: Davidson, NC
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,843
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 18%
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Six-year median earnings: $58,900
- Two-year employment rate: 88%
- Overall rank: #47

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Colgate
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30. Colgate University

- Location: Hamilton, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,936
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 23%
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Six-year median earnings: $63,600
- Two-year employment rate: 93%
- Overall rank: #45

#29. Wake Forest University
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29. Wake Forest University

- Location: Winston-Salem, NC
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,171
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 30%
- Graduation rate: 88%
- Six-year median earnings: $63,800
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #44

#28. Wellesley College
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28. Wellesley College

- Location: Wellesley, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,391
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 22%
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Six-year median earnings: $60,800
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #43

#27. Swarthmore College
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27. Swarthmore College

- Location: Swarthmore, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,554
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Six-year median earnings: $56,700
- Two-year employment rate: 85%
- Overall rank: #42

#26. Barnard College
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26. Barnard College

- Location: New York, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,519
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 12%
- Graduation rate: 92%
- Six-year median earnings: $57,900
- Two-year employment rate: 90%
- Overall rank: #41

#25. Emory University
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25. Emory University

- Location: Atlanta, GA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,985
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 90%
- Six-year median earnings: $66,000
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #40

#24. Middlebury College
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24. Middlebury College

- Location: Middlebury, VT
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,551
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 15%
- Graduation rate: 93%
- Six-year median earnings: $58,200
- Two-year employment rate: 87%
- Overall rank: #38

Amherst
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23. Amherst College

- Location: Amherst, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,855
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $65,000
- Two-year employment rate: 90%
- Overall rank: #37

#22. Washington & Lee University
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22. Washington & Lee University

- Location: Lexington, VA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,825
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 19%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Six-year median earnings: $76,100
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #36

#21. Colby College
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21. Colby College

- Location: Waterville, ME
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,000
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 10%
- Graduation rate: 89%
- Six-year median earnings: $58,100
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #35

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Haverford College
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20. Haverford College

- Location: Haverford, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,308
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 90%
- Six-year median earnings: $60,700
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #34

#19. Williams College
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19. Williams College

- Location: Williamstown, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,042
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 13%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $59,000
- Two-year employment rate: 90%
- Overall rank: #33

#18. United States Military Academy at West Point
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18. United States Military Academy at West Point

- Location: West Point, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,589
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 12%
- Graduation rate: 85%
- Six-year median earnings: null
- Two-year employment rate: null
- Overall rank: #32

#17. Tufts University
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17. Tufts University

- Location: Medford, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,508
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 15%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Six-year median earnings: $75,800
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #31

#16. University of Virginia
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16. University of Virginia

- Location: Charlottesville, VA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 15,990
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 24%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $61,200
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #29

#15. Georgia Institute of Technology
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15. Georgia Institute of Technology

- Location: Atlanta, GA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 14,318
- Student to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Acceptance rate: 21%
- Graduation rate: 90%
- Six-year median earnings: $79,100
- Two-year employment rate: 95%
- Overall rank: #27

#14. Bowdoin College
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14. Bowdoin College

- Location: Brunswick, ME
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,825
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $65,500
- Two-year employment rate: 93%
- Overall rank: #26

Georgetown University
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13. Georgetown University

- Location: Washington, DC
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,990
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 14%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $93,500
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #25

#12. Carnegie Mellon University
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12. Carnegie Mellon University

- Location: Pittsburgh, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,343
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 15%
- Graduation rate: 90%
- Six-year median earnings: $83,600
- Two-year employment rate: 91%
- Overall rank: #22

#11. Johns Hopkins University
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11. Johns Hopkins University

- Location: Baltimore, MD
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,595
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Graduation rate: 93%
- Six-year median earnings: $73,200
- Two-year employment rate: 91%
- Overall rank: #21

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Cornell University
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10. Cornell University

- Location: Ithaca, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 15,175
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $77,200
- Two-year employment rate: 93%
- Overall rank: #18

Dartmouth College
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9. Dartmouth College

- Location: Hanover, NH
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,357
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 8%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $75,500
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #13

Columbia University
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8. Columbia University

- Location: New York, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 7,666
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 5%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $83,300
- Two-year employment rate: 89%
- Overall rank: #12

#7. University of Pennsylvania
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7. University of Pennsylvania

- Location: Philadelphia, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 10,605
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 8%
- Graduation rate: 96%
- Six-year median earnings: $85,900
- Two-year employment rate: 91%
- Overall rank: #10

#6. Brown University
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6. Brown University

- Location: Providence, RI
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,735
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Graduation rate: 96%
- Six-year median earnings: $67,500
- Two-year employment rate: 91%
- Overall rank: #9

#5. Princeton University
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5. Princeton University

- Location: Princeton, NJ
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,321
- Student to faculty ratio: 5:1
- Acceptance rate: 6%
- Graduation rate: 98%
- Six-year median earnings: $74,700
- Two-year employment rate: 87%
- Overall rank: #6

Duke University Building
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4. Duke University

- Location: Durham, NC
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,659
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 8%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $84,400
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #5

Yale University
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3. Yale University

- Location: New Haven, CT
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,939
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 6%
- Graduation rate: 97%
- Six-year median earnings: $83,200
- Two-year employment rate: 92%
- Overall rank: #4

#2. Harvard University
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2. Harvard University

- Location: Cambridge, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 7,210
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 5%
- Graduation rate: 97%
- Six-year median earnings: $89,700
- Two-year employment rate: 89%
- Overall rank: #2

#1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

- Location: Cambridge, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,557
- Student to faculty ratio: 3:1
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Six-year median earnings: $104,700
- Two-year employment rate: 94%
- Overall rank: #1

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