More Liberal Arts Colleges In or Near Cities

Because so many college students like to attend schools in metropolitan areas, I wrote a post yesterday about 30 liberal arts colleges that are located in cities or close to them. Here is the link:

30 Liberal Arts Colleges In or Near Cities

When I compiled the list, I figured that I had overlooked some liberal arts colleges and so I asked you all to point out my omissions. I want to thank everyone who mentioned schools that didn’t make the original list!

Michael, for instance, mentioned that if I was going to include Bryn Mawr College, I shouldn’t leave out Haverford College or Swarthmore College. He was right. I’m a lot more familiar with western and central Pennsylvania so I simply overlooked this pair of elite liberal arts colleges. These schools, by the way, award excellent need-based financial aid packages if you can get in.

I am embarrassed that I didn’t include the University of Puget Sound. That school was on my son and daughter’s short list of colleges.

The same person also suggested Willamette University, a college that I have visited twice and like a lot. I was particularly impressed by the physics teachers and the food was incredible. I had considered putting Willamette on the list, but Salem, OR, isn’t what I’d consider a metropolitan area. As an aside, the Oregon state capitol, which is directly across the street from Willamette, has got to be the ugliest capitol in the U.S.

Kate also mentioned Seattle University, DePaul University, which is located in downtown Chicago and Wagner College on Staten Island, NY. None of these schools, however, aren’t technically classified as liberal arts colleges.

East Coast

  • Barnard College, New York City
  • Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, near Philadelphia
  • Drew University, Madison, NJ, near New York City
  • Goucher College, Towson, MD, a Baltimore suburb
  • Haverford College, Haverford, PA, near Philadelphia
  • Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, near New York City
  • Simmons College, Boston
  • Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, near Philadelphia
  • Trinity College, Hartford, CT
  • Wheaton College, Norton, MA, near Providence, RI


  • Lake Forest College, Chicago suburb
  • Macalester College, St. Paul, MN


  • Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Fisk University, Nashville
  • Morehouse College, Atlanta
  • Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
  • University of Richmond, Richmond, VA


  • Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR
  • Mills College, Oakland, CA
  • Occidental College, Los Angeles
  • Reed College, Portland, OR
  • St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM
  • St. Mary’s College of California, Moraga, CA (San Francisco Bay)
  • University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
  • Whittier College, Whittier, CA. Los Angeles suburb
  • Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Westmont College, Santa Barbara CA (Not a large city, but awfully fun.)

These five Claremont (CA) colleges are on the outskirts of the Los Angeles metro area:

  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Pitzer College College
  • Pomona College
  • Scripps College

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and an eBook, Shrinking the Cost of College: 152 Ways to Cut the Price of a Bachelor’s Degree. She writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch and US News & World Report.

Let's Connect

Leave a Reply

  1. Oglethorpe University should be on the list. It is in Atlanta and is a traditional Liberal Arts College (university in name only).

  2. Found your list when I was doing some research for the college I work for. Thanks for collecting many of the colleges and listing them in one place.

    Just a quick observation that it seems you’ve omitted Texas from your list… Trinity University in San Antonio, Southwestern University near Austin, etc.

    1. (Well, Trinity isn’t technically a liberal arts school, so please ignore that one–though Southwestern University should be included in future lists.)

      1. Thanks Lindsay. You’re right, Trinity isn’t a liberal arts college, but Southwestern definitely is!

        Lynn O.

  3. Thank you very much for providing some savvy ideas on this topic. I have discovered a good variety of honest ideas about natural health and some poor ideas. Do you have any more good information or places on the Web that I can find more detailed information? This would be very much appreciated! Either way, continue the good work!

  4. Lynn, thank you, as always a very informative article! We’ve visited Willamette’s campus, and did find it quite striking. But, offering my own state capitol building in Juneau as exhibit A, I have to take exception to your remark “[a]s an aside, the Oregon state capitol, which is directly across the street from Willamette, has got to be the ugliest capitol in the U.S.”

    For a state with so much natural beauty, our capitol building (which dates from territorial days) is a monstrosity! But the on-going dispute to move the capitol out of isolated Juneau to a location closer to the population center in Anchorage has prevented improvements or a new capitol being authorized for the last forty years.

    Best regards.

    1. Hi Denny,

      Thanks for your comment. it’s hard to imagine that your capitol is uglier than Oregon’s, but I believe you!

      Lynn O’Shaughnessy