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Wisconsin's Finest Small Colleges and Universities

Marian University, Ripon College, Beloit College, Alverno College

A mixture of worlds, Wisconsin is both incredibly midwestern and surprisingly rustic in a northern sort of temperament. Located on the edge of two of the great lakes, Wisconsin offers nature lovers more than enough opportunities to truly get away from it all. With various different woods, a few skiing areas, and endless stretches of lakeside beaches, Wisconsin is a great place for those who long to get away from it all. With the hustle and bustle of Milwaukee a short drive from a number of the state’s popular towns and smaller cities, those who are in need of some big-city fun will find themselves with something to do when the mood strikes. Likewise, with Illinois to the south, college students attending Wisconsin’s numerous small colleges and universities find that a drive to Chicago is always possible if a particularly great concert happens to to be coming.

Marian University

Located in Fond du Lac, Marian University provides an excellent opportunity for those students who are equally interested in a liberal arts education and a strong Catholic emphasis on their learning experience. Founded in 1936, the college has steadily grown since its inception, progressing beyond the days when there were less than 50 students and a handful of faculty members. Today, Marian University boasts almost 3,000 students and an acclaimed faculty. Students can choose between the university’s seven different schools. Among them are the School of Criminal Justice, the School of Education, the School of Mathematics and Natural Science, and the School of Social and Behavioral Science. Those more focused on arts can opt for courses through the School of Arts, Humanities, and Letters, while students interested in business tend to gravitate to the School of Business. Graduate and doctorate students are also enrolled at Marian University, and out of the classroom, students are most likely to be seen participating in the athletics program, which boasts NCAA Division III standing.

Ripon College

Those interested in serious one-on-one attention find the mentoring program at Ripon College one of the school’s most appealing assets. Founded in 1851, Ripon College is known for its vigorous academic program, as well as for the personalized attention and large amounts of guidance that students receive. With an incredibly high rate of graduates heading to prestigious master’s and doctorate programs after completing their time at Ripon, the college is one of the highest ranked liberal arts colleges in the midwest. A large number of students find time to give back to the community in terms of volunteer hours and community service, and the school boasts one of the most prestigious honor societies in the country. With just over a thousand undergraduate students, the community of Ripon College is close-knit and welcoming, with a majority of attendees choosing to live on campus. With 32 different majors to choose from, students are able to pursue a number of academic programs. Popular courses of study on campus include those in the sciences and pre-law and pre-med studies. Artists will also find themselves right at home on campus at Ripon College, where there are two separate gallery spaces as well as a thriving number of musical groups.

Beloit College

The oldest college in the entire state, Beloit College offers a comprehensive liberal arts education to its 1,300 students, many of whom come from other states and nations alike. Known for its incredible anthropology program, Beloit College attracts aspiring geologists and anthropologists alike. For those interested in the modern world of today, the college is known for its extensive study abroad offerings, one of the reasons that so many decide to enroll there in the first place. Consistently ranked as one of the best liberal arts colleges for those who want a friendly and academically challenging first year, as well as a great budget buy, Beloit College is an excellent choice for those who seek academic excellence with a price tag that anyone can manage to afford. With an incredibly content student body, Beloit also holds the distinction of making students feel happy and accomplished not just in the classroom, but on campus in general. Cross-cultural studies are a major component of the curriculum at Beloit, and the campus is known for its extensive and contemporary science building.

Alverno College

For women who are seeking a space to learn that does not involve the distraction of male classmates, Alverno College is an excellent choice. Founded in 1887, Alverno has been offering women-only undergraduate courses of study since its inception, though its Master of Arts program is actually coeducational. Students can choose between a number of different majors, all of which are focused on a core liberal arts curriculum. Located in Milwaukee, the college is known nation-wide for its unique approach to focusing its courses and structure on feedback from students, who largely run the organizational show as far as choosing classes and majors are concerned. The college itself was awarded the MacArthur Genius Award during the 1990s, and is known for its efforts to change the structure of a traditional college education to better accommodate the lives of students and to enhance the effectiveness of learning. With just over 2,500 undergraduate students, Alverno is a tight-knit community that focuses just as much on its student life as it does on its acclaimed academics.

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Best Colleges by State