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2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region

328 Colleges
$68,676 Avg Salary*
82% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

When pursuing a degree in today's world, there are many different options to choose from. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can - such as our Top in the Middle Atlantic Region Colleges and Universities ranking - to help you make that decision.

We analyzed 328 colleges and universities across the Middle Atlantic Region to determine which were the best in terms of overall quality. Our ranking is based on over 20 objective factors, including post graduate earnings, freshman retention, and graduation rate. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

Custom Rankings

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those who value diversity and value for your money.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region of the U.S.

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University tops this year’s ranking as the best school in the Middle Atlantic Region for overall quality. Located in Princeton, New Jersey, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 1,297 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 98%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Princeton make an average of $74,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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#2

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Out of the 328 schools in the Middle Atlantic Region that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Pennsylvania landed the #2 spot on the list. This large private not-for-profit school is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 3,632 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 87%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $85,900 during the early years of their career..

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#3

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Cornell University. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list.Ithaca, New York is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 4,145 students in 2018-2019.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $77,200 during the early years of their career..

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#4

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Johns Hopkins University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list.Baltimore, Maryland is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,747 students in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 87%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins go into careers with an average salary of $73,200 during the early years of their career.

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#5

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Out of the 328 schools in the Middle Atlantic Region that were part of this year’s ranking, Swarthmore College landed the #5 spot on the list. Swarthmore is located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 545 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. During the early years of their career, graduates from Swarthmore make an average of $56,700 a year.

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#6

Hamilton College

Clinton, New York

Hamilton College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking, coming in at #6. Hamilton is a private not-for-profit institution located in Clinton, New York. The school has a small population, and it awarded 603 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton go into careers with an average salary of $60,200 during the early years of their career.

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#7

Colgate University

Hamilton, New York

Colgate University landed the #7 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking.Hamilton, New York is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 894 students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 0.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from Colgate make an average of $63,600 a year.

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Columbia University in the City of New York ranked #8 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Located in New York, New York, the large private not-for-profit school handed out 2,702 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Columbia go into careers with an average salary of $83,300 during the early years of their career.

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#9

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit institution located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 1,848 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 0.1% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon is $83,600 during the early years of their career.

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#10

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, New York

Vassar College ranked #10 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Poughkeepsie, New York, and it awarded 761 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $54,600 during the early years of their career..

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#11

Union College New York

Schenectady, New York

With a ranking of #11, Union College New York did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Union College Schenectady is located in Schenectady, New York and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 571 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school boasts an average 4-year graduation rate of 82%, which is excellent when compared to the national rate of 33%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Union College Schenectady go into careers with an average salary of $65,400 during the early years of their career.

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#12

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #12, Lehigh University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Lehigh University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that handed out 1,379 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.4%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh make an average of $81,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#13

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Bucknell University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking, coming in at #13. Bucknell is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. It awarded 1,034 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.1%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from Bucknell make an average of $70,800 a year.

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#14

Haverford College

Haverford, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #14, Haverford College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Haverford is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Haverford, Pennsylvania. It awarded 343 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 0.9% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Haverford is $60,700 during the early years of their career.

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#15

Lafayette College

Easton, Pennsylvania

Lafayette College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking, coming in at #15. Lafayette is a private not-for-profit institution located in Easton, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 804 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 95%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette make an average of $68,600 per year during the early years of their career.

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#16

Franklin and Marshall College

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Franklin and Marshall College came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. Franklin and Marshall is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It awarded 614 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 0.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall go into careers with an average salary of $58,900 during the early years of their career.

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#17

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia

Georgetown University landed the #17 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. Georgetown is located in Washington, District of Columbia and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,169 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 90%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown is $93,500 during the early years of their career.

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#18

University of Rochester

Rochester, New York

University of Rochester ranked #18 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Rochester, New York, and it awarded 1,921 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 97%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from University of Rochester is $61,200 during the early years of their career.

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute landed the #19 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. RPI is located in Troy, New York and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,359 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 93%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from RPI go into careers with an average salary of $82,000 during the early years of their career.

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#20

Barnard College

New York, New York

Barnard College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking, coming in at #20. Located in New York, New York, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 755 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 85%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Barnard make an average of $57,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#21

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #21, Villanova University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 2,240 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 95%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Villanova is $77,900 during the early years of their career.

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#22

Dickinson College

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Dickinson College landed the #22 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking.Carlisle, Pennsylvania is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 752 students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson make an average of $57,400 per year during the early years of their career.

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#23

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg College ranked #23 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 722 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 1.2% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $56,100 during the early years of their career..

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#24

University of Delaware

Newark, Delaware

University of Delaware came in at #24 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking.Newark, Delaware is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 4,849 students in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from U of Delaware make an average of $57,000 per year during the early years of their career.

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#25

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College ranked #25 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Bryn Mawr is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It awarded 406 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 78%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $54,600 during the early years of their career..

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Rest of the Best 49 Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region of the U.S.

Not only did these schools make the top 49 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, New York
#27

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Kings Point, New York
#28

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

University Park, Pennsylvania
#29

George Washington University

Washington, District of Columbia
#31

University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, Maryland
#32

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York
#33

University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
#34

New York University

New York, New York
#35

Clarkson University

Potsdam, New York
#36

St Lawrence University

Canton, New York
#37

Ithaca College

Ithaca, New York
#38

University of Scranton

Scranton, Pennsylvania
#39

American University

Washington, District of Columbia
#40

St John's College

Annapolis, Maryland
#41

Yeshiva University

New York, New York
#42

The College of New Jersey

Ewing, New Jersey
#43

Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, New Jersey
#44

Loyola University Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
#45

Binghamton University

Vestal, New York
#46

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, New York
#47

Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pennsylvania
#49

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

New Brunswick, New Jersey

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Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges ranking:

Rank College Location
50 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
51 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
52 Washington & Jefferson College Washington, PA
53 Ursinus College Collegeville, PA
54 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
55 Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown, PA
56 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
57 Allegheny College Meadville, PA
58 Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia, PA
59 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Syracuse, NY
60 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
61 Messiah University Mechanicsburg, PA
62 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
63 The Juilliard School New York, NY
64 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
Rank College Location
65 Fordham University Bronx, NY

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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