These Are The 10 Best Small Colleges In Maryland

by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 3 years ago

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You know there are a ton of great reasons to go to a small college — the opportunity to work with a smaller number of people, a chance to get a great education while remaining close to home, and of course, cost. After all, who wants to rack up huge student loans to get a degree that’s just about as valuable as one from a large institution?

But what small college in Maryland is the best of all?

We at Zippia decided to take a look at the data on the 12 institutions of higher learning in the Old Line State to determine which programs offer the best all around experience for students. After analyzing the numbers, we sorted the schools by enrollment, limiting our report to institutions with under 2,000 students.

After the dust settled, we’re left with this set of the top small colleges or universities in Maryland:

  1. St Mary’s College of Maryland
  2. Notre Dame of Maryland University
  3. Capitol Technology University
  4. Mount St Mary’s University
  5. Washington Adventist University
  6. Goucher College
  7. McDaniel College
  8. Washington College
  9. Hood College
  10. Maryland Institute College of Art

If you go to one of these schools, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you — keep reading and we’ll get to just why these schools have some of the best experiences Maryland has to offer.

For more MD reading, check out:

How We Determined The Best Small Colleges In Maryland

At its core, economics is the study of choices made under constraints. When it came to identifying the best small schools we wanted to approach the ranking like an economics major would — that is, by looking at data on how individual schools performed and comparing them to one another.

What better way to optimize your choice?

So with that mind, we looked at the following data from the NCES (National Center For Education Statistics) and College Scorecard data from to understand what small schools offer the best career opportunities:

  • Career Results
    • Mean Earnings After 6 Years
    • Mean Earnings After 10 Years
    • Ratio of people working to not working after 10 years
  • School Performance
    • Admissions Rate (More selective the better)
    • Graduation Rate
    • Average Cost Of Attendance (Lower is better)
    • Average amount of debt

It’s hard to argue with a selective school that produces strong earning potential for your career.

After we had this data, we looked at the 12 institutions of higher learning in Maryland which had populations under 2,000 students. We then ranked each of these schools from 1 to 12 for each of the criteria above with 1 being the best in any given criteria.

Next, we averaged the ranks for each school to create an “Quality Index”. The school with the best score on the “Quality Index”, St Mary’s College of Maryland, earned the distinction of being the ‘Best Small College’ in Maryland.

Any ties went to the larger school.

1. St Mary’S College Of Maryland

St Mary
Enrollment: 1,547

This small institution in St. Mary’s City, MD is the best small college in the state, when you look at the unbiased data.

St Mary’s College of Maryland graduates earn the 7th highest salaries in the state for all small colleges — even a decade after graduation. Its 78% admission rate means the college is exclusive (a good sign), and the cost is the 2nd lowest, meaning you get a big bang for your buck.

2. Notre Dame Of Maryland University

Notre Dame Of Maryland University, Maryland
Enrollment: 1,930

Located in Baltimore, Notre Dame of Maryland University is one of many private colleges to make this list. What makes it so great here?

For starters, is the 5th lowest cost small college in the state. The admission rate is very low, and its graduation rate is the 9th highest in the state of all small colleges we measured.

3. Capitol Technology University

Capitol Technology University, Maryland
Enrollment: 684

Most people in the state know Capitol Technology University as being a top-notch program. But this small, private college in Laurel isn’t just a great place for current students, but former students too.

Capitol Technology University’s graduation rate of 41% is the 10th highest in Maryland, which is certainly something to brag about. So is an admission rate of 70%, also one of the best in the state.

4. Mount St Mary’S University

Mount St Mary
Enrollment: 1,500

Mount St Mary’s University in Emmitsburg gets high marks for a low admission rate and a high graduation rate. Additionally, for those lucky enough to get in, this is the 8th lowest cost place to learn in the state.

5. Washington Adventist University

Washington Adventist University, Maryland
Enrollment: 1,030

If you want up-close personal attention at a private institution, than it’d be hard to beat Washington Adventist University, located in Takoma Park.

Besides high marks in several categories, what really stands out is the annual salaries that its graduates command.

6. Goucher College

Goucher College, Maryland
Enrollment: 1,193

This private college in Baltimore gets high marks for cost (it’s the 9th lowest least expensive small college in MD), and for post-graduation earnings, where former students command the 9th highest incomes in the state.

7. Mcdaniel College

Mcdaniel College, Maryland
Enrollment: 1,610

Only 76% of the young minds who apply to McDaniel College are accepted, which is a sign of greatness. After all, when you turn so many students away, that means there’s high demand. In addition, graduates earn the 5th highest salaries.

McDaniel College also has the 6th highest graduation rate of all small colleges in Maryland.

This private school is located in Westminster.

8. Washington College

Washington College, Maryland
Enrollment: 1,165

Not only is Washington College in one of the prettiest parts of Maryland, its students get the benefit of several leading categories. For instance, if you’re lucky enough to be accepted here, you’ll have the 12th lowest debt of all small college graduates in the state.

And the whole reason you go to college is to earn the big bucks, right? Washington College grads command the 6th highest salaries in the state.

9. Hood College

Hood College, Maryland
Enrollment: 855

It’s hard to do better than little Hood College, located in Frederick. Students will appreciate the high graduation rate, lower-than-average costs and high salaries that graduates earn.

10. Maryland Institute College Of Art

Maryland Institute College Of Art, Maryland
Enrollment: 1,588

Maryland Institute College of Art is one of the private schools to make this list. Only 54% students are admitted, but this is the 11th lowest expensive small college at which to learn in the state.

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