Top 21 National Liberal Arts Colleges in The USA

Top 21 National Liberal Arts Colleges in The USA
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The National Liberal Arts Colleges, including schools like Wellesley College and Bowdoin College, emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study.

These are the highest-ranked national liberal arts colleges in the USA:

21. Grinnell College

Grinnell College is a private institution that was founded in 1846. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,734, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 120 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Its tuition and fees are $46,990 (2015-16).

Grinnell College is located in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, halfway between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

From the G-Tones a cappella group for music lovers to the environmental group Free the Plant for tree huggers, Grinnell’s 100-plus student organizations appeal to a variety of interests. Grinnell’s busy social scene makes up for its lack of Greek life with an array of cultural activities and concerts occurring weekly on campus, from big-name acts to small student groups. A well-known, annual event is the Titular Head Film Festival, which showcases student films.

The Grinnell Pioneers compete in the NCAA Division III Midwest Conference. In fact, the Pioneers played some of the first intercollegiate football and baseball games west of the Mississippi. All students are required to live on campus in residence halls located on South, North or East campuses.

The school is known for its strong social activism, ranking top among schools of its size in sending volunteers to the Peace Corps. Grinnell’s social consciousness stems back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, when several Grinnell graduates became influential New Deal administrators. Between 55 and 60 percent of students participate in study abroad programs during their time at Grinnell.

Notable alumni include jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock and Intel co-founder Robert Noyce, nicknamed “Mayor of Silicon Valley.”


When applying to Grinnell College, it’s important to note the application deadline is January 15, and the early decision deadline is November 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due January 15. It is most selective, with an acceptance rate of 28 percent.

Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Grinnell College is 9:1, and the school has 64.9 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students.

The most popular majors at Grinnell College include: Social Sciences, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Psychology, General; Foreign Languages and Literatures, General; and History, General.

The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 93.8 percent.

Student Life

Grinnell College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,734, with a gender distribution of 45.4 percent male students and 54.6 percent female students. At this school, 88 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 12 percent of students live off campus.

Grinnell College is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Campus Services

Grinnell College offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, health service, and health insurance.

Grinnell College also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, student patrols, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc).

Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Grinnell College.