2024 Best Private Colleges in Ohio

Updated: May 7, 2024

Jump to: Denison University | Hiram College | Kenyon College | Otterbein University | The College of Wooster | University of Dayton | Walsh University | Xavier University | Frequently Asked Questions

Private colleges and universities most often embody the characteristics that make for a valuable college experience. With small class sizes led by full-time, experienced professors, students are automatically given close personal attention that sets them up for success. Professors put effort into hands-on experiences, and alumni form a strong network of professionals eager to help others from their school find long-lasting success. Discover a private college or university that prioritizes the academic achievement of its students.

Colleges of Distinction has hand-picked a selection of the best private colleges in Ohio to help you find a college that caters to its students’ interests. Take a look below to see our list of 2024 Private Colleges of Distinction and find the right college for you.

Denison University logo

Denison University

Granville, OH ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Denison’s academic mission is to educate students to become independent thinkers and active citizens of a democratic society. Students enjoy the University’s dynamic learning environment 24 hours a day.

Undergraduate Denison students are afforded countless opportunities to involve themselves in research initiatives, no matter their field of study. And, with the additional offering of the Gilpatrick House, student researchers can enhance and support their efforts with unique residential resources. Both summer-term and senior researchers are able to live in this House so that their groundbreaking work is given all the attention it deserves.

Denison embraces sustainability, aiming to protect and maintain economic, social, and environmental resources throughout the University and beyond. Through research initiatives, investments, and a campus-wide commitment, Denison’s conscious efforts are met with the utmost respect.

Acceptance rate 28%     •     Net price $39,808     •     SAT Range 1220-1430      •      Students submitting SAT scores 42%
Total Undergrad Population 2,258      •      Setting Suburb      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 80%     •     Retention rate 85%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors

Hiram College

Hiram, OH ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Hiram College prepares students to answer tough questions, solve complex problems, and communicate their ideas through a broad, interdisciplinary curriculum rooted in liberal arts. Recognizing that learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom, 100 percent of Hiram students complete an internship, research, or study-away experience as they connect classroom learning with the “real world.”

Introduced in fall 2017, Hiram’s Tech and Trek program puts an iPad Pro, Apple pencil, and keyboard bundle in the hands of every full-time traditional student. This is all part of Hiram’s New Liberal Arts: integrated study, high-impact experiences, and mindful technology. Truly transformational, the 1:1 mobile technology program (which is the first in an Ohio four-year college or university), enables students to capture, connect, and reflect upon life-changing ideas.

In addition, Hiram’s small, close-knit campus community is often described as a “family,” and faculty are praised for their guidance not only through students’ classes and majors, but also through their future plans and career paths. Hiram’s unique semester format, the Hiram Plan, consists of a 12-week session followed by an intensive 3-week session during which students focus on a single subject (often through internships, faculty-guided research, or study-away trips).

Acceptance rate 93%     •     Net price $20,072     •     SAT Range 890-1100     •     Students submitting SAT scores 13%
Total Undergrad Population 1,110     •      Setting Town      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 50%     •     Retention rate 75%     •     Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors

Kenyon College logo

Kenyon College

Gambier, OH ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Kenyon College seeks talented, driven individuals to join its academic community. Students enrolled at Kenyon collaborate with other students and dedicated faculty members, fostering an environment that promotes academic and personal success.

Academic advising begins during orientation and continues throughout the entire undergraduate experience. Advisors assist and support students in their academic and personal endeavors. They can also facilitate decisions regarding career choice and post-graduate plans. As students move through college, their coursework becomes increasingly more difficult, and academic advisors are great for keeping student goals in check.

Acceptance rate 37%     •     Net price $40,862     •     SAT Range 1280-1460      •      Students submitting SAT scores 53%
Total Undergrad Population 1,615     •      Setting Town      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 89%     •     Retention rate 89%     •     Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

Click here for available majors

Otterbein University

Westerville, OH ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Otterbein University is an innovative and inclusive university populated by whole-brained thinkers. Otterbein students and faculty are advocates, champions, and problem-solvers who believe in doing what’s right for the right reasons. A community of scholars, artists, scientists, nurses, writers, musicians, athletes, and friends alike, Otterbein is full of opportunity.

The Office of Social Justice & Activism oversees a group of students called the Social Justice Ambassadors. These student ambassadors serve as an extension of OSJA by facilitating monthly programs, gauging campus climate, and connecting Otterbein to community partners. Their work primarily involves such topics as inclusion, social equity, and community engagement.

The Point, Otterbein’s STEAM innovation Center, gives students the chance to work side-by-side with active researchers and startup companies in a space equipped with sophisticated tools, labs, and special manufacturing and engineering equipment.

Acceptance rate 76%     •     Net price $23,229     •     SAT Range 990-1225     •      Students submitting SAT scores 22%
Total Undergrad Population 2,652      •      Setting Suburb      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 66%     •     Retention rate 78%     •     Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors

The College of Wooster horizontal logo

The College of Wooster

Wooster, OH ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

The College of Wooster is the nation’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research and the most internationalized campus in Ohio. Located just 45 minutes from Cleveland, Wooster offers an excellent, comprehensive liberal arts education in a spirited residential setting, culminating in every student creating new knowledge through a rigorous, in-depth project of inquiry or creative expression.

Working in partnership with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize, and complete a significant project on a topic of the student’s own choosing, every Wooster graduate develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools alike: initiative, collaboration, self-confidence, independent judgment, creative problem solving, and strong written and oral communication skills.

Acceptance rate 65%     •     Net price $27,923
Total Undergrad Population 1,924     •      Setting Town     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 74%      •      Retention rate 87%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

With more than 70 challenging academic programs in four accredited divisions (arts and sciences, business administration, education and allied professions, and engineering), University of Dayton has countless ways to explore your interests and prepare for your career. And no matter what your interests are, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning.

At the University of Dayton, learning doesn’t happen just for the sake of learning. It’s about making a difference right now, as an undergraduate. Recently, UD students have created solar-powered equipment to sterilize medical devices, designed cost-effective cargo planes using new composites, developed fitness programs for grade-schoolers, explored the complexities of urban education, and managed and invested nearly $11 million of the University’s endowment.

With a vast array of internships and cooperative education opportunities, UD students earn a professional foothold in the world well before earning their diploma. Fortune 500 companies regularly recruit students on campus, and the University also hires undergrads to work on cutting-edge projects at one of the best research organizations in the world — the University of Dayton Research Institute.

Acceptance rate 81%     •     Net price $32,768     •      SAT Range 1080-1300     •     Students submitting SAT scores 34%
Total Undergrad Population 11,650      •      Setting City: Midsize     •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 81%     •     Retention rate 91%     •     Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

Click here for available majors

Walsh University

North Canton, OH ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Walsh University is a fully accredited, Catholic liberal arts and sciences university in North Canton, Ohio. The school offers nearly 100 programs, including eight graduate programs and an accelerated-degree program for working adults. As a Catholic university welcoming students of all faiths, Walsh’s ultimate mission is to develop leaders in service to others.

Walsh University believes in a small university setting that promotes academic excellence, a diverse exchange of ideas, and close student-teacher interactions. It provides its students an education that fosters critical thinking, effective communication, spiritual growth, and personal, professional, and cultural development.

At Walsh University, students’ own personal values and interests help shape their educational experiences. Walsh supports their passions by providing the framework and resources to help them excel. For instance, “The Garage” is a student-directed business incubator in which students have the opportunity to develop enterprising skills and collaborate on business ideas. And through the living-learning communities, students come together with faculty and staff outside the classroom for a deeper level of learning and collaboration. Walsh also launched several institutes to focus on such areas as food insecurity, civic engagement, and community health as well as economic development and quality-of-life issues.

Acceptance rate 77%     •     Net price $19,792     •      SAT Range 978-1170     •      Students submitting SAT scores 15%
Total Undergrad Population 2,651     •     Setting Suburb     •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 60%     •      Retention rate 71%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

Click here for available majors

Xavier University

Cincinnati, OH ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Rich history and traditions, great opportunities for academic and social growth, and the promise of a rewarding future come with a Xavier degree. Xavier University provides a holistic education. Over 145 academic clubs, student organizations, campus activities, international study opportunities in six continents, small student to faculty ratio, and an excellent reputation with employers offer Xavier students unlimited potential.

The Xavier name earns graduates the respect of both graduate schools and employers. More than 1,100 jobs and internships are posted to the XU Career Services Center’s online job board each year to help students easily identify internships and postgraduate, degree-required positions. In addition, initiatives such as on-campus recruiting and alumni networking, the Business Professions Program and formal professional mentoring programs help prepare students for successful transitions to graduate schools and careers after graduation.  Finally, each student at Xavier has an assigned career counselor who specializes in a subset of academic offerings at Xavier.

Acceptance rate 81%     •     Net price $34,945     •     SAT Range 1060-1250     •     Students submitting SAT scores 33%
Total Undergrad Population 7,061      •      Setting City: Large      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 69%     •     Retention rate 85%     •     Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors

What it’s like to attend private schools in Ohio and other FAQ:

What are average private tuition costs in Ohio?

The average undergraduate tuition & fees for private colleges in Ohio is $20,904.

Cheapest private degree program in Ohio

Walsh University has an average net price of $19,792 making it the least private school in Ohio that made our list.

Easiest private degree program to get into in Ohio

Hiram College has an acceptance rate of 93%, with an SAT range of 890-1100, making it the least exclusive college on our list.

Private Degree program with lowest student debt in Ohio

Kenyon College has a median total debt after graduation of $19,000. This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.

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