6 Amazing Colleges in Rural Towns

colleget students outdoors

Where to attend college depends on a variety of factors, ranging from cost to weather. While some students look to large cities to find a college that is right for them, others crave a quieter, small town atmosphere. 

Positives for attending rural schools include outdoor activities, natural surroundings, a slower pace of life, close-knit community and lack of distractions, allowing for more focus on academics and other interests.

Most rural schools are smaller, some as small s 300 students, giving those students easier access to advising, more frequent personal interaction with professors and smaller class sizes.

Negatives could be remote locations, which make for difficulty getting to and from the campus for both students and visitors, and lack of diversity in activities and cultural events. Finding and getting internships can be a challenge since local businesses may be few and far between. Smaller schools can sometimes be less diverse racially, geographically and by religion. 

For those interested in small town and rural schools, these are some options that may be a good fit. 

Berry College, Mt. Berry, Georgia
Number of students: 2000

Located 65 miles from Atlanta near the Alabama border,  Berry College is unique in that it encompasses the entire town of Mt. Berry. With a 28,000 acre campus, neo-Gothic architecture and the beautiful countryside, Berry College is distinctly rural.

Ninety-seven percent of the students live in campus housing. Pre-professional majors are available in a number of disciplines, and an independent study major is also offered.

*Admissions:  3.55 GPA, 25 ACT and 1124 SAT.

Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota

Number of students: 2050

It's not easy to gain admission to this highly respected and prestigious liberal arts school, but once enrolled students will experience an excellent education while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.

Lots of one-on-one time with professors, extended study and summer programs and much more give students at Carleton many options for an excellent college experience. Extra-curricular activities are as varied and eclectic as can be. 

*Admissions:  3.79 GPA, 31 ACT and 1403 SAT.

Colby College, Waterville, Maine
Number of students: 1100

Making new students feel welcome on campus and creating deep connections among all classes is a goal at Colby, where students live in mixed level housing to ensure support from upperclassmen for incoming freshmen. Situated on a hill overlooking the small city of Waterville, Colby is New England life at its most picturesque and quaint. With a high average GPA and test scores for incoming students, Colby is academically challenging and stimulating.

*Admissions:  3.7 GPA, 30 ACT and 1353 SAT.

Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa
Number of students: 1000

Cornell College is a small liberal arts school that is one of only 40 that are featured in the highly regarded guide book Colleges That Change Lives. Located in the rural community of Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell College is not to be confused with the larger, better-known Cornell University. Class size averages 16-25 students, allowing for lots of one-to-one communication.

*Admissions: 3.7 GPA; 31 ACT; and 1432 SAT.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico

Number of students: 1633

Named on of the top 10 engineering schools by USA Today in 2014, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology offers a bucolic setting offering degrees in science and engineering. For recreation there is hiking, biking, and, among other activities, an 18 hole golf course adjacent to the campus. The student population is 2 to 1 male to female. Degrees offered include associates, bachelors, masters and doctorates. 

*Admissions: GPA: 2.9 ACT: 30 SAT 1170

University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
Number of students: 11,500

The fact that it is ranked in the top 25 colleges by Outside magazine gives a good insight into the culture of University of Idaho in Moscow (prounounced "coe," not "cow").

Outdoor activities are top of the list of things to do among the students who attend this school. Bachelors degrees are offered in a wide range of areas, including many in the fields of agriculture, animal sciences and plant sciences. 

*Admissions:  3.46 GPA, 26 ACT and 1129 SAT.


*Source: Collegedata.com