Best Colleges in Connecticut

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Updated on July 6, 2023
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Despite its small size, Connecticut is home to nearly 50 higher education institutions, including a network of 17 public state colleges and universities. According to the Lumina Foundation, more than 57% of the state's adults over the age of 25 have a college education, which is higher than the 2019 national average of around 52%.

To help students narrow down their choices and make the right decision for their unique circumstances, we've ranked the best colleges in Connecticut by quality and affordability. Browse our list to find the program that's right for you.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Top 10 Colleges in Connecticut

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#1 Yale University New Haven, CT
#2 Wesleyan University Middletown, CT
#3 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
#4 Connecticut College New London, CT
#5 Trinity College Hartford, CT
#6 University of Connecticut-Stamford Stamford, CT
#7 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
#8 University of Connecticut-Waterbury Waterbury, CT
#9 University of Connecticut-Avery Point Groton, CT
#10 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT

How We Rank Schools

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At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Best Accredited Colleges in Connecticut

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Best Colleges in Connecticut

  1. Yale University

    New Haven, CT



    An Ivy League school based in New Haven, Yale University is one of the oldest schools in the country and one of the most renowned higher education institutions in the world. Established in 1701, the college educates more than 13,000 students pursuing degrees at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. Yale has one of the world's highest university endowments, and students take can advantage of top academic programs, an iconic campus, and one of the country's largest college libraries.

    Yale's undergraduate curriculum follows a liberal arts model, and students can select from dozens of academic majors, such as archaeological studies, environmental engineering, film and media studies, and neuroscience. At the graduate level, Yale offers some of the country's top programs in fields including law, business, nursing, medicine, and engineering.

  2. Wesleyan University

    Middletown, CT



    One of the country's top liberal arts colleges, Wesleyan University serves approximately 3,200 students from its campus in Middletown. As a baccalaureate college, Wesleyan focuses on undergraduate education in the arts and sciences, though the school does host a selection of master's and doctoral programs. The college ranks among the most selective in the country and boasts many successful alumni, including Pulitzer Prize winners, Rhodes scholars, and MacArthur fellows.

    Students at Wesleyan can select from a variety of liberal arts majors and minors, including American studies, earth and environmental sciences, gender and sexuality studies, philosophy, and theater. The school's graduate programs primarily focus on math and sciences, including options in chemistry, biology, astronomy, and computer science. Wesleyan also offers a graduate-level liberal studies program with concentration options that include history, writing, and fine arts.

  3. University of Connecticut

    Storrs, CT



    Based in Storrs -- about 30 miles outside of Hartford -- the University of Connecticut ranks as the largest college in the state, enrolling more than 32,000 students annually through campus-based and online courses. As the state's flagship public university, UConn offers more than 110 majors in its 14 schools and colleges, with degrees available at all academic levels. The school hosts many top-ranked professional and academic programs, including education, primary care medicine, pharmacy, social work, and speech-language pathology.

    As a major public research university, UConn offers substantial opportunities for undergraduates to participate in faculty research. The school's Office of Undergraduate Research connects students to mentorships, research seminars, workshops, funding opportunities, and other resources for independent and collaborative research.

    In 2018, UConn received over $250 million in support for research, training, and public service and provided nearly $200 million in scholarships and grants to its students.

  4. Connecticut College

    New London, CT



    A small liberal arts college founded in 1911, Connecticut College provides undergraduate instruction to approximately 1,800 students annually. The school's small size allows for a highly individualized student experience; Conn boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1 and an average class size of just 18 learners. Students can choose from majors in over 50 areas of study, including anthropology, art history, film studies, and Hispanic studies.

    Conn emphasizes a global approach to education, with more than half of all students participating in study abroad experiences. During their junior or senior year, students have the opportunity to examine a community issue in a foreign country, completing a college-funded internship as part of their experience. Candidates who choose not to study abroad complete a funded internship in the U.S., either in New London or another location.

    A selective institution, Conn admits only 10% of all applicants. Ninety-two percent of incoming first-year students ranked in the top 20% of their high school graduating class.

  5. Trinity College

    Hartford, CT



    Among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Trinity College serves about 2,300 students on its campus in Hartford. The school focuses on undergraduate studies and offers more than 40 majors, including art history, engineering, Jewish studies, public policy and law, and studio arts. A student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1 helps learners receive personalized instruction and provides opportunities for engagement with classmates.

    Trinity also hosts a small selection of master's programs, including tracks in American studies, English, and public policy. The school also oversees accelerated, five-year bachelor's/master's programs in neuroscience and history.

    Trinity offers many educational experiences for students, including its first-year Gateway Programs. Available to qualified students, these one- or two-year programs provide specialized instruction in certain fields. For example, the InterArts Program brings together art students of various disciplines for collaboration and discussion, while the Community Action program focuses on social justice and community organizing.

  6. University of Connecticut-Stamford

    Stamford, CT



    Founded in 1952 as an extension center for the main University of Connecticut campus at Storrs, the University of Connecticut - Stamford now enrolls more than 2,000 students annually. The school primarily serves undergraduate learners, offering majors in fields like business, computer science, digital media and design, human development and family studies, and political science. UConn Stamford also awards a selection of graduate business degrees, including an MBA, an MS in financial risk management, and an MS in business analytics and project management.

    Though UConn Stamford's campus is small, the school offers several academic and counseling resources to help students navigate college life and increase retention rates. For example, the Center for Academic Programs assists first-generation college students and those from underrepresented populations through degree planning and career counseling. Additionally, the Source for Active Learning offers tutoring in subjects including writing, math, science, ESL, and even financial literacy, with campus-based and online assistance available.

  7. Fairfield University

    Fairfield, CT



    A private Jesuit college, Fairfield University provides higher education to more than 5,000 students through bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Fairfield is home to five schools and colleges, including business, arts and sciences, nursing and health studies, education and allied professions, and engineering. Students can choose from more than 60 undergraduate majors and minors and more than 40 graduate programs. The school also offers three online/hybrid graduate degrees: creative writing, education technology, and social work.

    Fairfield emphasizes the value of experiential learning, and most undergraduates participate in internships, service learning, or similar activities and projects. The school's Career Planning office assists students at all levels with placement opportunities; Fairfield students have interned with major organizations such as Disney, NBC, Yale New Haven Health, Ralph Lauren, and the NFL.

    For professionals wishing to gain new skills or fulfill continuing education requirements, the Executive and Professional Education Center offers noncredit certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

  8. University of Connecticut-Waterbury

    Waterbury, CT



    A regional campus of the UConn system, the University of Connecticut - Waterbury provides bachelor's, master's, and transfer degree programs to a population of approximately 850 students. The school primarily serves undergraduates through bachelor's programs in subjects like American studies, business data analytics, English, human development and sciences, and urban and community studies. UConn Waterbury also offers two graduate degrees: a master of business administration and a master of engineering.

    UConn Waterbury's transfer programs allow students to complete the first half of their undergraduate studies (typically 54 credits) locally before transferring to UConn's main campus to finish their remaining coursework. Candidates can select from nearly all of UConn's 100-plus undergraduate majors. However, some degrees -- such as maritime science and digital marketing -- require additional studies on other campuses.

    The school also maintains a secondary-level teacher certification program and a nursing program for professionals with a non-nursing bachelor's who wish to enter the field and qualify to take the National Council Licensure Examination.

  9. University of Connecticut-Avery Point

    Groton, CT



    Located in Groton and surrounded on three sides by the Connecticut coast, the University of Connecticut - Avery Point is a small school with an enrollment of approximately 500 students. Like its regional counterparts, UConn Avery Point primarily serves as a transfer institution, enabling undergraduates to complete the first half of a bachelor's degree locally before transferring to the main UConn campus in Storrs.

    The college's coastal location offers unique opportunities for study and research, and the school features notable undergraduate programs in maritime sciences and maritime studies, as well as a graduate program in oceanography. These three programs benefit from several campus facilities, including the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption and the Mystic Aquarium Research Labs.

    UConn Avery Point also offers bachelor's programs in American studies, English, and general studies, as well as graduate tracks in engineering, nursing, and teaching.

  10. Charter Oak State College

    New Britain, CT



    A public and primarily online school based in New Britain, Charter Oak State College serves around 2,300 students each year through classroom-based and distance learning programs at the certificate, associate, bachelor's, and master's levels.

    The school caters mainly to working students, offering fully online and degree completion programs in areas such as business administration, cybersecurity, healthcare information management, and public safety administration. Charter Oak also hosts two graduate programs in healthcare administration and organizational leadership.

    With a focus on working students, Charter Oak offers several alternative pathways to earn academic credit. For example, learners with professional experience relevant to their field of study can receive academic credit based on their work history. They can also submit portfolios detailing their experience and training, complete exams testing their knowledge, and receive credit for recognized professional certifications.

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