2023 Top Colleges in Massachusetts

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Published: September 1, 2022

By: Colleges of Distinction Staff

Jump to: Assumption University | Boston College | Boston University | College of the Holy Cross | Dean College | Lasell University | Northeastern University | Stonehill College | Suffolk University | University of Massachusetts Amherst | University of Massachusetts Lowell | Western New England University | Westfield State University | Frequently Asked Questions

Colleges of Distinction has hand-picked a selection of top schools that are well equipped to provide a personalized education catered to students’ interests. Through a rigorous vetting and interview process for the 2022-2023 academic year, we have refreshed and reaffirmed that these institutions strive for excellence in line with the four overarching distinctions—Student Engagement, Teaching, Community, and Outcomes.

These schools vary in size, cost, location, academic offerings, and more, but they are all distinguished by their commitment to the undergraduate experience. The diversity of the college list is intentional, giving students and parents a variety of public and private universities to consider. No matter what, they all exhibit the foundational qualities of a fulfilling undergraduate education.

Assumption University logo

Assumption University

Worcester, MA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Assumption University is a Catholic liberal arts college with strong programs in business and professional studies. The University was founded in 1904 by the Augustinians of the Assumption.

Students—whether on the Worcester, Massachusetts, campus or at the University’s campus in Rome, Italy—are engaged participants in Assumption’s classic liberal arts education, exploring new ideas and making connections across disciplines. To prepare for the workforce, students learn cutting-edge theory and best practices, conduct innovative research, and develop excellent communication and critical-analysis skills. Assumption graduates are known for their thoughtful citizenship and compassionate service to their community.

Mentoring is an important part of an Assumption University education, evidenced by an emphasis on faculty/student partnerships. Valuable research is performed at Assumption in a myriad of disciplines, yielding great advancements every day—but the value of student and faculty research extends beyond the data collected. These opportunities train the next generation of leading scholars, scientists, and researchers and provide them with the grounding for future exploration. By investing in the research—and researchers—of today, Assumption is funding the discoveries of tomorrow.

Acceptance rate 81%      •      Net price $30,232
Total Undergrad Population 2,027      •      Setting City: Midsize      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 73%      •      Retention rate 83%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

Click here for available majors

boston college logo

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Find unparalleled opportunities for learning at the Boston College. BC is a Catholic institution with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1.

Acceptance rate 26%      •      Net price $30,192      •      SAT Range 1330-1500      •      Students submitting SAT scores 64%
Total Undergrad Population 9,780      •      Setting City: Small      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 92%      •      Retention rate 93%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors

boston university logo

Boston University

Boston, MA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Boston University is a private institution in Boston, Massachusetts. Over 16,000 undergraduates can explore many academic opportunities and student organizations.

Acceptance rate 20%      •      Net price $29,154      •      SAT Range 1310-1500      •      Students submitting SAT scores 70%
Total Undergrad Population 16,872      •      Setting City: Large      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 89%      •      Retention rate 92%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1

Click here for available majors

College of the Holy Cross logo

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

College of the Holy Cross is a selective, liberal arts institution with a focus on discovery. Students are encouraged to explore their talents and intellectual capabilities, while applying their skills to improve the local and global communities.

Gateways Fall Orientation is an orientation session that starts on move-in day. Students are enthusiastically welcomed to campus through a series of community-building activities and information meetings. Gateways Fall Orientation is a crucial part of the undergraduate experience. In so many cases, students are nervous to leave their families for the first time. Gateways Fall Orientation eases that transition by getting students excited about the upcoming year.

Acceptance rate 38%      •      Net price $32,061      •      SAT Range 1290-1430      •      Students submitting SAT scores 40%
Total Undergrad Population 2,970      •      Setting City: Midsize      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 93%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1

Click here for available majors

Dean College logo

Dean College

Franklin, MA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Dean College is a private, residential New England College grounded in a culture and tradition that all students deserve the opportunity for academic and personal success. A uniquely supportive community for more than 150 years, Dean has woven together extensive student support and engagement with exceptional teaching and innovative campus activities. Graduates are lifelong learners who thrive in their careers, embrace social responsibility, and demonstrate leadership. This is The Dean Difference.

Unlike most other colleges, Dean pairs every student with a dedicated personal advisor whose sole job is to help them navigate the challenges of upper-level coursework and to keep them on the right track. Advisors work with their students individually, helping them choose their classes, monitor their progress, and provide them with access and direction toward one-of-a-kind academic opportunities. Personal advisors are dedicated to getting their students involved on campus, ensuring that their educational investments enrich their lives and set promising precedents for their future careers.

Dean College is situated perfectly near downtown Franklin, MA. Having stood as an integral part of the town’s culture since 1865, Dean allows its students easy access to everything a college student needs to stay busy and entertained.

Only thirty miles from Boston, MA, and Providence, RI, the College is very close to a variety of activities around town, such as Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, Gillette Stadium, and Patriot Place, an enormous plaza full of endless venues for dining and shopping.

Acceptance rate 71%      •      Net price $32,455
Total Undergrad Population 1,180      •      Setting Suburb      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 52%      •      Retention rate 71%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 16:1

Click here for available majors

Lasell University in Newton, Massachusetts

Lasell University

Newton, MA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1851 and located just eight miles from downtown Boston, Lasell University is a comprehensive, coeducational, four-year and graduate degree-granting institution of higher education with a unique and innovative approach to the liberal arts, teaching, and professionally focused programs of study.

More than 90 percent of Lasell students complete a credit-bearing service-learning experience through the Center of Community-Based Learning. These experiences connect community service with classroom instruction. Students serve in diverse ways working with the residents in a nearby continuing care community and teaching young children English in Papua-New Guinea.

Lasell University also has several international service learning trips. These “Shoulder to Shoulder” programs are a collection of cultural immersion and service-learning excursions in which Lasell students learn about various social justice issues within a global context. Students live in the style of their host community while learning and working shoulder to shoulder with local partners. Each of the courses consists of approximately 10 to 12 students and two faculty leaders who engage in academic coursework in addition to spending time on the ground.

Acceptance rate 85%      •      Net price $27,007      •      SAT Range 980-1180      •      Students submitting SAT scores 54%
Total Undergrad Population 1,492      •      Setting City: Small      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 62%      •      Retention rate 81%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

Click here for available majors

northeastern university logo

Northeastern University

Boston, MA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Northeastern University’s approach to education contains research, experiential learning, and active engagement. Northeastern gives its students the tools they need to succeed, both in the classroom and beyond. Students are developed into hard-working leaders that recognize their duties to the global community.

Northeastern’s First Year Experience is meant to be a preparatory program. Students are welcomed to campus and introduced to the community. The FYE is both foundational and transformative. Students are given the tools they will need to succeed for the rest of their college careers. They are also expected to put those skills into practice and prepare for upcoming academic challenges. The FYE has four main pillars: Personal Development, Academic Success, Experiential Learning, and Community Development.

Acceptance rate 20%      •      Net price $37,738      •      SAT Range 1410-1540      •      Students submitting SAT scores 54%
Total Undergrad Population 15,156      •      Setting City: Large      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 90%      •      Retention rate 97%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors

Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts

Stonehill College

North Easton, MA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Located just outside Boston, Stonehill College is a selective Catholic college on a beautiful campus with 80+ majors in the liberal arts, sciences, and business. Nearly 91% of students participate in internships, study abroad, research, practicum, and field work.

The core of Stonehill’s liberal arts curriculum is the Cornerstone Program, which leads students to examine the self, society, culture, and the natural world through courses in ethics, sciences, language, and more. Students take an interdisciplinary Learning Community, which combines two academic courses from different disciplines with a team-taught seminar that explores an interrelated topic from both perspectives, and a major Capstone course for seniors.

Stonehill’s accomplished faculty champions its students throughout all four years and is dedicated to teaching, frequently conducting publishable research with students to help with their integrated learning process.

Students benefit from graduate-level access to high-tech equipment, attend professional academic conferences, and coauthor in-depth papers, all guided by faculty mentors.

Acceptance rate 69%      •      Net price $35,508
Total Undergrad Population 2,428      •      Setting Suburb      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 82%      •      Retention rate 86%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Click here for available majors

suffolk university boston logo

Suffolk University

Boston, MA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1906, Suffolk University is a four-year, private university in the heart of Boston. Suffolk offers more than 70 undergraduate programs through the College of Arts & Sciences and Sawyer Business School. Suffolk’s location in downtown Boston gives students unparalleled access to many opportunities in the Boston metro area, including prestigious internships and job placements. Upon earning their undergraduate degrees, students may pursue advanced studies at the College, the Business School, or Suffolk University Law School.

Suffolk’s academic offerings reflect today’s employers’ demand for collaborative learning. Many of the largest classrooms in the University’s newest academic building were built to promote team-based learning: students sit at communal tables instead of individual desks, enjoying the technological means to present each of their group’s findings to the class. This approach applies equally to science students in the lab, marketing students working on case studies, and everyone else. Study groups for individual courses are also available through the Center for Learning & Academic Success.

At Suffolk, students study just steps away from City Hall and the Massachusetts State House, a few blocks from Boston Common and Faneuil Hall, and a short T ride from pretty much everything else Boston has to offer.

Acceptance rate 86%      •      Net price $34,561      •      SAT Range 1010-1203      •      Students submitting SAT scores 86%
Total Undergrad Population 4,397      •      Setting City: Large      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 59%      •      Retention rate 73%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Click here for available majors

university of massachusetts amherst logo

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Maximize your potential at University of Massachusetts Amherst. UMass Amherst is a public university in Amherst, Massachusetts where innovation and freedom of intellectual inquiry flourish.

Acceptance rate 65%      •      Net price $22,505      •      SAT Range 1200-1390      •      Students submitting SAT scores 88%
Total Undergrad Population 24,233      •      Setting Suburb      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 83%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 17:1

Click here for available majors

university of massachusetts lowell logo

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Lowell, MA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Whether or not students enter college with a dedicated career plan, UMass Lowell can propel them into the professional world with a clear and a sturdy purpose that is altogether backed by an immense range of experiences. The University offers programs in an endless array of fields, ensuring that its students can delve into their interests and discover new ones.

The university’s five pillars of excellence (Transformational Education, Global Engagement & Inclusive Culture, Innovative Research & Entrepreneurship, Leverage Our Legacy and Our Place, and Entrepreneurial Stewardship in Higher Education) serve as the foundation for successful scholars to be ready to contribute their expertise to global challenges.

UMass Lowell strives to conduct innovative research that provides solutions to many of today’s global challenges. The institution’s research specializations include flexible electronics and smart textiles, robotics, public health, and energy. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty, industry partners, startups, and communities.

UMass Lowell encourages students to engage with their community and work together to find solutions to real-world issues. Through a number of service-learning initiatives, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with local nonprofits and underserved communities. In addition to community-based projects, UMass Lowell offers 50 service-learning courses each year, merging classwork with real action.

Acceptance rate 75%      •      Net price $19,147      •      SAT Range 1140-1320      •      Students submitting SAT scores 68%
Total Undergrad Population 13,813      •      Setting Suburb      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 69%      •      Retention rate 84%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 19:1

Click here for available majors

Western New England University logo

Western New England University

Springfield, MA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

“Where do I see myself in four years?” is the question most students face as they enter college. With four Colleges—Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences, as well as a School of Law—Western New England University offers wide-ranging the academic opportunities. With an emphasis on collaboration, leadership, entrepreneurship, and experiential learning, Western New England University’s programs challenge students to do more, be more, and achieve more than they ever imagined.

The University offers nearly 50 undergraduate programs through its Colleges of Arts and sciences, Business, and Engineering. Among the most popular majors are criminal justice, sport management, communication, psychology, mechanical engineering, and Pre-Pharmacy. Western New England professors inspire students to challenge ideas, think critically, and find creative solutions—to become active participants in their education.

Acceptance rate 89%      •      Net price $30,630
Total Undergrad Population 2,552      •      Setting City: Midsize      •      Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 64%      •      Retention rate 78%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Click here for available majors

westfield state university logo

Westfield State University

Westfield, MA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Westfield State University is a public institution in western Massachusetts. Westfield is home to over 4,600 undergraduate students.

Acceptance rate 92%      •      Net price $18,073      •      SAT Range 960-1140      •      Students submitting SAT scores 88%
Total Undergrad Population 4,633      •      Setting Suburb      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 63%      •      Retention rate 73%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

Click here for available majors

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

What are average tuition costs in Massachusetts?

The average undergraduate tuition & fees for colleges in Massachusetts is $9,872 for in-state students at public institutions, $27,869 for out-of-state students at public institutions, and $32,154 for students at private institutions.

Cheapest degree program in Massachusetts

Westfield State University has an average net price of $18,073, making it the least expensive institution in Massachusetts that made our list.

Degree program with lowest student debt in Massachusetts

Boston College has a median total debt after graduation of $18,000. This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.

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