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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

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

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

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 90%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Princeton make an average of $74,700 a year.

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#2

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend University of Pennsylvania. The school came in at #2 in the Middle Atlantic Region on this year’s overall quality ranking. UPenn is a large private not-for-profit school situated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It awarded 3,632 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 98%. During the early years of their career, graduates from UPenn make an average of $85,900 a year.

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#3

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Out of the 328 schools in the Middle Atlantic Region that were part of this year’s ranking, Cornell University landed the #3 spot on the list. Located in Ithaca, New York, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 4,145 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students 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. During the early years of their career, graduates from Cornell make an average of $77,200 a year.

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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. Johns Hopkins University is a large private not-for-profit school located in Baltimore, Maryland that handed out 1,747 bachelor’s degrees 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%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $73,200 during the early years of their career..

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#5

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Swarthmore College. The school came in at #5 in the Middle Atlantic Region on this year’s overall quality ranking. Swarthmore is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. It awarded 545 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 1.3% 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% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore make an average of $56,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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#6

Hamilton College

Clinton, New York

With a ranking of #6, Hamilton College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list.Clinton, New York is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 603 students 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. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making 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 ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Colgate University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Hamilton, New York that handed out 894 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Colgate is $63,600 during the early years of their career.

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Columbia University in the City of New York landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. Located in New York, New York, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 2,702 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 6 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making 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 came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. 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 school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 0.1%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Carnegie Mellon make an average of $83,600 a year.

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#10

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, New York

With a ranking of #10, Vassar College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Located in Poughkeepsie, New York, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 761 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. During the early years of their career, graduates from Vassar make an average of $54,600 a year.

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#11

Union College New York

Schenectady, New York

Union College New York came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. Union College New York is a small private not-for-profit school located in Schenectady, New York that handed out 571 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 0.8%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from Union College Schenectady make an average of $65,400 a year.

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#12

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Lehigh University landed the #12 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. Lehigh is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,379 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

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%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh go into careers with an average salary of $81,900 during the early years of their career.

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#13

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Bucknell University came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 1,034 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 2.1% 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% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell make an average of $70,800 per year during the early years of their career.

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#14

Haverford College

Haverford, Pennsylvania

Haverford College ranked #14 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Haverford College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Haverford, Pennsylvania that handed out 343 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. 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 ranked #15 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Located in Easton, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 804 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school boasts an average 4-year graduation rate of 87%, which is excellent when compared to the national rate of 33%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Lafayette make an average of $68,600 a year.

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#16

Franklin and Marshall College

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #16, Franklin and Marshall College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 614 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall make an average of $58,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#17

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia

With a ranking of #17, Georgetown 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 Washington, District of Columbia, and it awarded 2,169 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 90%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown make an average of $93,500 per year during the early years of their career.

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#18

University of Rochester

Rochester, New York

University of Rochester did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking, coming in at #18. University of Rochester is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Rochester, New York. It awarded 1,921 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%. 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 did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking, coming in at #19. Located in Troy, New York, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 1,359 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, 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 RPI is $82,000 during the early years of their career.

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#20

Barnard College

New York, New York

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

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 95%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Barnard go into careers with an average salary of $57,900 during the early years of their career.

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#21

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Villanova University ranked #21 on this year’s 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.

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%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $77,900 during the early years of their career..

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#22

Dickinson College

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #22, Dickinson College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Dickinson is a private not-for-profit institution located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 752 bachelor’s degrees 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 did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking, coming in at #23. Gettysburg is a private not-for-profit institution located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 722 bachelor’s degrees 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. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg make an average of $56,100 per year during the early years of their career.

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#24

University of Delaware

Newark, Delaware

University of Delaware landed the #24 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region ranking. U of Delaware is a large public school situated in Newark, Delaware. It awarded 4,849 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 91%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $57,000 during the early years of their career..

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#25

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

With a ranking of #25, Bryn Mawr College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region list. Bryn Mawr is a private not-for-profit institution located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The school has a small population, and it awarded 406 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr make an average of $54,600 per year during the early years of their career.

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Rest of the Top 15% Best Colleges in the Middle Atlantic Region

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

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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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