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Best Colleges in Connecticut in 2024

College
by Annika World
February 9, 2024
16 min read
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Connecticut is home to some of the most prestigious and highly regarded higher education institutions in the United States. From Ivy League universities to renowned research powerhouses, the state offers a diverse range of options for students seeking a top-quality education. In this article, we will explore some criteria for ranking the top colleges, delve into the thriving higher education landscape of Connecticut, and provide a detailed overview of some of the best institutions the state has to offer.

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Connecticut's Higher Education Landscape

Connecticut's higher education landscape is rich with history and tradition. The state is home to some of the oldest colleges and universities in the country, with institutions like Yale University and Trinity College dating back to the 18th century. These institutions have a long-standing reputation for producing some of the brightest minds in various fields, contributing to the intellectual and cultural fabric of the state.

public colleges in connecticut

Best Public Colleges in Connecticut

University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,983

Acceptance rate: 56%

The University of Connecticut, or UConn, is a prominent public institution originally founded in 1881 as the Storrs Agricultural School. Renowned for its strong programs in areas such as engineering, business, and agriculture, UConn has earned its reputation as a research powerhouse.

UConn is now known as one of the best colleges in Connecticut and one of the top public universities in the New England region. UConn's commitment to cutting-edge research is evident in its state-of-the-art research facilities and institutes.

The university actively encourages students to engage in research projects, providing them with valuable hands-on experience and the opportunity to contribute to advancements in their respective fields.

The large research school boasts seven campuses across the state of Connecticut, with different specialties by field of study. CT tuition is $17,010, while out-of-state tuition is $39,678, with additional costs for room and board.

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University of Connecticut – Avery Point

Location: Groton, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 493

Acceptance rate: 80.5%

UConn Avery Point offers all the benefits of a prestigious public research institution in a small college setting. The university offers dozens of specialized programs that take advantage of the Connecticut coast location along the Long Island Sound, like degrees in marine sciences, maritime studies, marine biology, and related programs.

The school also delivers an exceptional education in more traditional areas of study and offers more than 135 experiential learning programs around the globe. The student body at this campus is small compared to UConn's main campus, so this is one of the best colleges in Connecticut for tight-knit student life.

Western Connecticut State University

Location: Danbury, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,799

Acceptance rate: 85%

Western Connecticut State University is a small public institution in the small city of Danbury. WCSU offers more than 50 majors and 100 scholarship programs to support students' educational goals.

According to a World Report, this school ranks among the top 35 public schools nationwide. Its Connecticut ranking places it as a top performer in social mobility with career-oriented academic programs, so this is the best school for students looking to excel professionally.

The small student body and low student-to-faculty ratio ensure a tight-knit college experience. CT tuition is $12,673, and the same in-state tuition rate applies to tri-state students from New York and New Jersey. Tuition for all other states is $16,095, while international tuition is $26,039.

Eastern Connecticut State University

Location: Willimantic, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,926

Acceptance rate: 74%

Eastern Connecticut State University is a small public school in the large suburb of Willimantic, CT. The university offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs in 40 majors, 65 minors, and 60+ concentration tracks for different majors.

Hands-on learning experiences include internships and global study away programs, so this is one of the best colleges for students seeking to maximize professional experiences before post-university life.

The university ranks among the top 25 public schools and best-value schools in America, making it one of the best colleges in Connecticut for students looking to save on their education.

This school is also ranked in the top 35 for best colleges for veterans. The small student body ensures a tight-knit college experience. CT tuition and fees are $13,928, while out-of-state tuition and fees are $17,428, with additional costs for room and board.

central connecticut state university

Central Connecticut State University

Location: New Britain, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,665

Acceptance rate: 77%

Central Connecticut State University is a mid-sized public university located in the small city of New Britain. This school is known as one of the best public universities, ranking among the top 25 public schools nationally.

This university offers a range of study away experiences at immersive sites like rainforests in Costa Rica and wildlife preserves in Africa, making it one of the best colleges for students who love nature. CT tuition is $6,190 for in-state students, $7,856 for New England, NJ, and NY residents, and $12,828 for non-residents.

Southern Connecticut State University

Location: New Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,920

Acceptance rate: 83%

Southern Connecticut State University is a mid-sized public university in the city of New Haven. This school ranks among the top 25 public schools in the nation and among the top 35 best-value schools. This university also ranks among the top 30 best colleges for veterans. The most popular majors are business studies, psychology, and nursing.

This university has a low student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1, and 53% of its classes have less than 20 students, so it is a great school for those seeking a tight-knit student body. CT tuition is $13,483, while New England regional tuition is $16,938, and non-resident tuition is $27,378.

Charter Oak State College

Location: online

Undergraduate enrollment: not reported

Acceptance rate: 100%

Charter Oak State College is a public online college serving students in Connecticut and beyond. The school offers career-focused degrees online in popular fields like Nursing, Business Administration, and Psychology, as well as programs for transfer or returning students to finish their degrees online.

Their online courses are a great option for working professionals looking to pursue education without pausing their careers. Tuition, regardless of residence, is $329 per credit.

best private colleges in connecticut

Best Private Colleges in Connecticut

Trinity College – Connecticut

Location: Hartford, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,167

Acceptance rate: 36%

As the second oldest college in the state, Trinity College is one of the best colleges in Connecticut for liberal arts and undergraduate engineering. The average class size at Trinity College is small, with a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, ensuring a tight-knit student body.

This college ranks among the top 40 liberal arts schools in the nation, so it is a great choice for liberal arts majors. The college also ranks among the top 30 best-value schools in the nation and among the top 60 undergraduate engineering programs.

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,590

Acceptance rate: 5.3%

Yale University, located in New Haven, is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious universities in the world and one of the best colleges in Connecticut. Known for its Ivy League status and exceptional academic programs, Yale offers a wide range of disciplines, including humanities, sciences, social sciences, and professional schools like medicine and law.

With a history spanning centuries, the university has fostered a tradition of academic rigor, innovation, and scholarly excellence. Yale University's campus is a blend of historic architecture and modern facilities, providing students with a vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment. The school also offers great undergraduate research opportunities.

Quinnipiac University

Location: Hamden, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,073

Acceptance rate: 84%

Quinnipiac University is a mid-sized private institution located in the suburb of Hamden. Quinnipiac University is known for its undergraduate engineering program, which ranks among the top 60 in the nation and offers a plethora of research opportunities.

The most popular fields of study at this Connecticut college include health professions and related programs, business and management majors, and communications and journalism programs.

university of new haven

University of New Haven

Location: West Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 4,817

Acceptance rate: 91%

The University of New Haven is a small private school located in a large suburb. Popular fields of study include homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting, business and management, engineering, and psychology. This school ranks among the top 100 best regional universities of the North.

Fairfield University

Location: Fairfield, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 4,757

Acceptance rate: 52%

Fairfield University is a small and competitive private Jesuit university. The school is known for its strong undergraduate teaching, ranking among the top 30 by this metric.

Fairfield University also has an undergraduate engineering program ranking among the top 90 and a nursing program among the top 125 in the nation. Popular fields of study at Fairfield University include business and management, health professions, and social sciences.

University of Hartford

Location: West Hartford, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,969

Acceptance rate: 83%

The University of Hartford is a small private university located in the large suburb of West Hartford. This school offers a wide range of majors and is known for its undergraduate engineering program, which ranks among the top 60 nationwide. This school also has a strong music program.

Best Community Colleges in Connecticut

CT State Community College

Location: multiple locations

CT State is known for its 2-year academic and workforce development programs. This school has a number of campuses throughout the state of Connecticut, in a system serving the entire Connecticut population.

Nearly all community colleges in the state of Connecticut are a part of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system. A number of 4-year public institutions are also a part of this system, which you can attend to complete your bachelor's degree after spending two years at a CT State school.

best small colleges in connecticut

Best Small Colleges in Connecticut

Trinity College – Connecticut

Location: Hartford, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,167

Acceptance rate: 36%

As the second oldest college in the state, Trinity College is one of the best colleges in Connecticut for liberal arts and undergraduate engineering. The average class size at Trinity College is small, with a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, ensuring a tight-knit student body.

This college ranks among the top 40 liberal arts schools in the nation, so it is a great choice for liberal arts majors. The college also ranks among the top 30 best-value schools in the nation and among the top 60 undergraduate engineering programs.

University of Saint Joseph

Location: West Hartford, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 835

Acceptance rate: 75%

The University of Saint Joseph is a small, private Roman Catholic university. It is known as a best-value school, ranking among the top 35 in the nation and among the top 85 performers on social mobility. The most popular major at this school is nursing, while biology and psychology are also popular. Due to its small size, the University of Saint Joseph is best for those looking for a close-knit student body.

Connecticut College

Location: New London, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,948

Acceptance rate: 40%

Connecticut College is a small and competitive private college located in the suburb of New London, CT. Connecticut College is a high-ranking liberal arts school, ranked among the top 50 liberal arts schools nationwide. Connecticut College is known for its career outcomes, ranking among the top 65 in social mobility and among the top 80 in best-value schools.

Popular fields of study include economics, psychology, and political science. The Connecticut College location is a perfect fit for those who prefer a sprawling campus and suburban atmosphere.

Wesleyan University

Location: Middletown, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,609

Acceptance rate: 14%

Wesleyan University is widely recognized for its outstanding liberal arts education. With a focus on interdisciplinary learning, Wesleyan encourages students to explore a broad range of subjects before specializing. The university offers a wide range of majors and interdisciplinary programs, ensuring that students have the flexibility to tailor their education to their individual goals.

Wesleyan's commitment to nurturing creativity, critical thinking, and civic engagement sets it apart. Through community service, internships, and research opportunities, students develop a deep sense of social responsibility and a desire to make a positive impact.

Wesleyan's small class sizes and close faculty-student relationships contribute to a personalized and enriching educational experience. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors who provide guidance and support, fostering a strong sense of community and intellectual growth.

Mitchell College

Location: New London, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 526

Acceptance rate: 78%

Mitchell College is a small private college located in New London, CT. The school is known for its career outcomes, ranking among the top 20 performers for social mobility and among the top 35 regional institutions in the north. Mitchell College offers a range of professionally oriented academic programs, including business management, health sciences, marine and environmental science, and hospitality and management.

faith based institutions

Best Faith-Based Colleges in Connecticut

University of Saint Joseph

Location: West Hartford, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 835

Acceptance rate: 75%

The University of Saint Joseph is a small, private Roman Catholic university. It is known as a best-value school, ranking among the top 35 in the nation and among the top 85 performers on social mobility. The most popular major at this school is nursing, while biology and psychology are also popular. Due to its small size, the University of Saint Joseph is best for those looking for a close-knit student body.

Sacred Heart University

Location: Fairfield, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,782

Acceptance rate: 66%

Sacred Heart University is a mid-sized Roman Catholic university in the suburban setting of Fairfield, CT. The most popular majors at Sacred Heart University include business and management, health professions, biological and biomedical sciences, and psychology.

Albertus Magnus College

Location: New Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 987

Acceptance rate: 82%

Albertus Magnus College is a small private Roman Catholic college best known for ranking among the top 35 performers on social mobility and among the top 35 for undergraduate teaching. The most popular majors at this school include business and management, psychology, and social sciences.

best colleges in connecticut for nursing

Best Colleges in Connecticut for Nursing

University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,983

Acceptance rate: 56%

The University of Connecticut, or UConn, has top programs in Nursing at both the bachelor's degree and master's degree levels. The UConn School of Nursing also offers an online program in Nursing, among other distance learning programs, for students who wish to achieve their nursing degree through online courses.

UConn is one of the best colleges in Connecticut for research programs, with state-of-the-art research facilities and institutes. The university encourages students to participate in research programs throughout their studies.

Best Colleges in Connecticut for Business

University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,983

Acceptance rate: 56%

The University of Connecticut, or UConn, ranks in the top 15 schools for real estate and among the top 30 public schools in the nation. The UConn School of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of concentrations, including accounting, finance, healthcare management, marketing, data analytics, and analytics and information management.

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,590

Acceptance rate: 5.3%

Yale has a top-ranking economics program, and the school overall ranks among the top in the nation. Known for its Ivy League status, the Yale School of Management offers a cutting-edge MBA program with a variety of concentration options.

Undergraduate students interested in business may major in the renowned economics program at the Yale Department of Economics. Additionally, the Yale University location in New Haven offers proximity to networking and business opportunities in New York.

Wesleyan University

Location: Middletown, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,609

Acceptance rate: 14%

Wesleyan University offers a highly-ranked economics program. The Wesleyan Economics Department delivers a well-rounded education, preparing students for careers in academics, business, consulting, law, and government. The small student body and student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 ensures a personalized education.

best colleges in connecticut for stem

Best Colleges in Connecticut for STEM

University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,983

Acceptance rate: 56%

The University of Connecticut, or UConn, ranks among the top 75 schools for engineering and among the top 30 public schools in the nation. UConn has earned its reputation as a research powerhouse, and the UConn College of Engineering offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs as well as advanced education opportunities.

UConn's commitment to cutting-edge research is evident in its state-of-the-art research facilities and institutes. The university actively encourages students to engage in research projects, providing them with valuable hands-on experience and the opportunity to contribute to advancements in their respective fields.

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,590

Acceptance rate: 5.3%

Yale University is highly ranked for its biocomputing and biotechnology programs as well as its engineering programs. The Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science offers a range of bachelor's degree and master's degree programs, as well as interdisciplinary communities applying engineering principles to solve problems in other disciplines.

Students participating in these STEM programs have access to top-notch undergraduate research opportunities as well as state-of-the-art facilities. The student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1.

University of Connecticut – Avery Point

Location: Groton, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 493

Acceptance rate: 80.5%

UConn Avery Point offers all the benefits of a prestigious public research institution in a small college setting. The university offers dozens of specialized programs that take advantage of the coastal location along the Long Island Sound, like degrees in marine sciences, maritime studies, marine biology, and related programs.

The school is one of the best colleges for students wishing to pursue a bachelor's degree in specialized fields of STEM. Students interested in other majors can begin their bachelor's degree at Avery Point and transition to Storr for the second half of their degree. The student body at this campus is small compared to UConn's main campus, so this is one of the best colleges in Connecticut for tight-knit student life.

Trinity College – Connecticut

Location: Hartford, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,167

Acceptance rate: 36%

As the second oldest college in the state, Trinity is one of the best colleges in Connecticut for liberal arts and undergraduate engineering. The college ranks among the top 30 best-value schools in the nation and among the top 60 undergraduate engineering programs.

The Engineering Department offers both BA and BS degree programs in Engineering, with a liberal arts core. Tuition is $64,430 before additional fees, room, and board.

Best Colleges in Connecticut for Psychology

Best Colleges in Connecticut for Psychology

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,590

Acceptance rate: 5.3%

Yale University ranks among the top 3 psychology programs in the nation, and the school overall ranks among the top 10 private institutions nationally. The Yale Department of Psychology offers both bachelor's degree and master's degree programs, with an emphasis on research and career preparation.

The private school admits only 15 students annually for doctoral degrees in psychology, so this program is ideal for graduate students seeking a small school experience. The student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1.

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Criteria for Ranking the Top Colleges in Connecticut

When evaluating colleges, it is important to consider not only their academic excellence and reputation but also student satisfaction and retention rates, as well as affordability and financial aid opportunities. One of the primary indicators of a top college is its academic reputation.

This includes factors such as research output, faculty experience, and undergraduate program rankings. Colleges that excel in these areas typically offer rigorous academic programs, innovative research opportunities, and a strong emphasis on intellectual growth.

Faculty credentials play a crucial role in determining ranking. Highly qualified professors with advanced degrees and extensive research experience bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the classroom. They not only impart knowledge but also inspire and challenge students to think critically and pursue intellectual curiosity.

Research output is another important indicator of excellence. Colleges that actively engage in research contribute to the advancement of knowledge in various fields. This research not only benefits the faculty and students involved but also enhances the institution's reputation and attracts top-notch faculty and students.

Student Satisfaction and Retention Rates

Another key aspect of evaluating colleges is the satisfaction and retention rates of their students. This includes factors such as graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and student feedback. Colleges that prioritize student support services, foster a sense of community, and provide a positive learning environment tend to have higher student satisfaction and retention rates.

Graduation rates reflect the ability of a college to support and guide students toward the successful completion of their degree programs. High graduation rates indicate that students are receiving the necessary resources and support to overcome challenges and achieve their academic goals.

Student-to-faculty ratios also play a significant role in student satisfaction. Smaller class sizes allow for more personalized attention from professors, fostering meaningful interactions and promoting active learning. This close-knit environment often leads to stronger relationships between students and faculty, creating a supportive academic community.

Student feedback is an invaluable resource for evaluating colleges. It provides insights into the overall student experience, highlighting areas of strength and areas that may need improvement. Colleges that actively seek and respond to student feedback demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement and ensuring a positive learning environment for all students.

Affordability and Financial Aid Opportunities

Access to affordable education is crucial for many students. Colleges that offer robust financial aid packages, scholarships, and grants are often highly regarded. Institutional commitment to keeping tuition costs reasonable and accessible to all students plays a significant role in the overall ranking of a college.

Scholarships and grants, in particular, can help alleviate the financial burden and make higher education more accessible. Colleges that prioritize financial aid opportunities demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that talented students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue their educational goals.

Tuition costs, along with other college expenses such as housing, textbooks, and living expenses, can add up quickly. Colleges that actively work to keep these costs reasonable and offer resources to help students manage their finances are often highly regarded.

best colleges in connecticut to apply for

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Colleges in Connecticut

How much is tuition for colleges in Connecticut?

CT tuition averages $14,487 for residents at public institutions and $58,707 for private institutions. Applying for scholarships is an easy way to lower the cost of attending college. You can hone your scholarship research to those most relevant to your goals and background by searching for scholarships by major or searching by state, age, and demographic information. To begin your scholarship search, check out these top Connecticut scholarships!

Is community college free in Connecticut?

No, community college is not free in Connecticut. However, the state of Connecticut has a funding program called the Pledge to Advance CT (PACT), which covers the gap between any federal and state grants you receive and community college tuition and mandatory fees. To receive PACT funding, apply to a community college, register for classes (6+ credits), and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How do I establish residency for college in Connecticut?

General requirements include:

  • Proof you have maintained a physical presence in Connecticut for at least one year.
  • Proof you have the intent to live in Connecticut beyond the circumstance of being a student.

Requirements may differ between universities, so check with your specific university.

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Annika World

About Annika

Annika is a talented and versatile writer and researcher. She has extensive expertise in researching and applying for scholarships and grants, as well as the process of navigating financial aid. 

As a senior at NYU, Annika is pursuing an interdisciplinary degree at the intersection of film, psychology, philosophy, writing, and visual arts, with a minor in film production. During her time at NYU, she completed a number of interdisciplinary research projects and is currently working on her thesis film.

Experience

Through Annika’s coursework, she has engaged in a number of writing workshops and intensive seminars, honing her writing craft under the guidance of acclaimed authors and poets. Within the entertainment industry, she has fulfilled a range of diverse roles, working in film and TV development, production and distribution, sustainability consulting, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She also has experience working in educational services, tutoring, and libraries.

Since joining the Bold.org team in 2023 as a Content Writer, Annika has utilized her extensive background as a scholarship recipient to guide others through the complexities of financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Her expertise also extends to securing internships in the creative arts and entertainment fields.

Motivated by a desire to make a meaningful impact, Annika's work at Bold.org is driven by her passion for assisting fellow students and combatting the student debt crisis. Through her compelling writing and advocacy for educational and financial empowerment, Annika is dedicated to uncovering funding opportunities and providing students with the resources they need.

Annika is no longer with the Bold.org Writing Team, but we continue to value and appreciate her contributions.

Quote from Annika

“Knowledge is power.”

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