Texas: Southwestern University
Located in sunny Georgetown, Texas, just a short walk from Round Rock and a half-hour’s drive from Austin, Southwestern University is often cited as one of the most overlooked liberal arts colleges. A private four-year university with about 1,200 students on a 700-acre campus in the hill country, Southwestern is rigorously academic and refreshingly progressive. The school is known for its vast library (over 300,000 volumes), gorgeous chapel, shady oak trees (including a gnarly old “story tree” on the edge of campus), and sleek yellow bicycles.
Utah: Brigham Young University
The largest religious university in America is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young University, located in Provo, Utah, is famous for its strict honor code, which forbids the drinking of alcohol and what the church considers sexual immorality. In spite of these restrictions, the university has become one of the largest private universities in the U. S., with a student body of approximately 34,000. The school regularly appears on lists of the best schools in America, with special mention going to its liberal arts program and its library, the Harold B. Lee Library, which includes six million volumes and 98 miles of shelving, much of it underground.
Vermont: Middlebury College
Located in the Champlain Valley of Vermont, Middlebury is easily one of New England’s most beautiful colleges, offering picturesque views of the Green Mountains and the tree-shrouded Adirondacks. Located on 350 scenic acres in the sleepy town of Middlebury, the school has a student population of 2,495.
Virginia: Sweet Briar College
It’s no secret that some of the best colleges in America, both for academics and aesthetics, are exclusively for women. Sweet Briar College in Virginia, a 3,250-acre campus just north of Lynchburg, is one example among many. The vast majority of the school’s 700 students live on campus in one of seven dormitories, and the school has earned a reputation both for architectural distinction (21 of its buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places) and academic excellence (appearing on lists compiled by U. S. News and World Report, Forbes, and The Princeton Review).
Washington: Whitman College
Washington State does not lack for gorgeous colleges, but Whitman is one of the prettiest and most distinct. Located in Walla Walla, Washington, Whitman contains not only a creek (the aptly named College Creek) but also a geothermal spring. The Whitman Memorial Building, built at the turn of the last century, is a masterpiece of neo-Romanesque architecture, and has earned a place in the National Register of Historic Places.
West Virginia: Alderson Broaddus University
A private liberal arts college formed from the merging of two Baptist schools in 1932, Alderson Broaddus University is a small school (about 1,100 students) on a 170-acre campus on a hill overlooking the Tygart River Valley. It is known today for its education, science, and music programs.
Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Madison
A research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, UWM (f. 1848) is the oldest university in Wisconsin and the state’s official university. The school ranks high on lists of the best public schools in the nation, with programs devoted to engineering, journalism, ecology, and education, among others.
Wyoming: University of Wyoming
Unusually among the states in the United States, Wyoming only has a single four-year university. Founded in 1886, the University of Wyoming is nestled in between the Laramie and Snowy Range Mountains in Laramie, Wyoming. Today its 790-acre campus is home to over 10,000 students. The school also offers graduate programs in business, engineering, and education.