7 months ago
Admissions Advice

STEM oriented smaller colleges?

Hi, I have recently been looking at smaller colleges (like liberal arts) but am wondering which ones focus on STEM fields since many have areas of focus. I would like to go into a science field like chemistry or astronomy but also look at engineering and am hoping for more connection with professors and exploration of interests. Also, what is the community like at these colleges? I would prefer a college with a more collaborative and slightly laid back feel with social life instead of a hardcore competitive academic community.

@alohomora7 months ago

I have the same question. I'm thinking maybe Harvey Mudd? It's definitely an elite college but has a reputation for being a solid STEM school with a liberal arts foundation.

7 months ago

Harvey Mudd is a good choice!

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Accepted Answer
7 months ago

I tried to think of a few by region so here you go.

So in terms of LACs the Harvard of STEM LACs is undoubtedly Harvey Mudd. Some of the Ivy+ (Stanford Rice WUStL MIT) LACs version with great STEM include Lehigh Swathmore. Some of the Little Ivies in Maine lack specific engineering programs but they partner with Dartmouth among others for a 4+1 or 3+1+1 or some other variation for degrees in Maths. Additionally maybe Odin College but I know nothing about it besides its being a well-regarded school. There's also RPI and IIT which isn't as competitive. MOST is kinda a knock-off of a rural Harvey Mudd but it has the same out-of-state tuition as an elite private school with minimal aid (one of my first seriously considered schools). This is pure guesswork but Manhattan college is apparently like a discount Columbia. As for schools in the great plains only one I know of is WUStL but its large. Theres also Col School of Mines which is essentially if MOST was great but also has the out of state tuition issue. As for the texas area, I'm completely lost besides Trinity college. There's also Maclaster in Minn.

Hope this helps.

PS: I'm not very familiar with the Californian schools but I have heard fairly good things about Pepperdine. As for deep south, Emory is a phenomenal school but it's large. Ditto for GA Tech and VA Tech. I also live in the midwest and thus I'm more familiar with schools nearby.

7 months ago[edited]

Hey @sa123m, I think you might find this list pretty useful. Let me know what you think! https://blog.collegevine.com/top-liberal-arts-colleges-with-engineering-programs/.

I can't speak to the community of these colleges and I think you'll find the communities of each school can be fairly unique. If some of these colleges on the list I provided interest you I would look into trying to connect with a current student to get their opinion on what it's like going there. I did go to a fairly small LAC (around 2,500 students) and found my experience to be more of the laid back feel with a social life compared to being super competitive. Having said that, I didn't attend one of the "top" LACs and I would imagine your experience will vary significantly by school and who you surround yourself with. Some of my friends from my college definitely needed to spend more time studying and working to do well in their programs than others. If you're looking at engineering I would be prepared to be one of these people who will have to work and study hard to do well.

7 months ago

Well, it depends on what state you are in, because being in-state could be beneficial. My twocents would be Missouri Institute of Technology in Rolla, but I'm sure that somebody will know of many more.

Hope this helps!


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