Yesterday I updated a list of test-optional small universities that change lives that I started last month. Before writing my update, I had received comments on that post asking why some deserving schools were excluded. The main reason was that there were test mandatory. But test scores are not an obstacle towards either admissions or scholarships for many students. So I made a list of Test Mandatory Small Universities That Change Lives.

What did a school need to make this list?

Each school on my list of test-mandatory schools, like the previous one of test-optional schools, meets these criteria:

  • Has no more than 6,200 undergraduates, smaller than any flagship state school as well as The College of William and Mary, the smallest public institution that is considered to be a selective research university. 
  • Undergraduate focus, but also offer a selection of majors that is comparable to a larger school. Prospective students often consider these schools as alternatives to a flagship state university or an extremely selective private research university.
  • Admits at half of their applicants. A very good school does not necessarily need to be selective. Higher education might be the only service industry that is measured, in part, by the percentages of interested in customers who do not get to use the service. I personally find it silly to “rank” colleges that way.
  • Awards merit and talent-based scholarships are well as need-based aid. These schools are mostly private, and will have a higher sticker price. Most students and families have affordability in mind as they consider a college.
  • Graduates at least 65 percent of their freshmen within four years, which is better than most flagship state universities. All but one of the schools on this list are private and have smaller enrollments than most state colleges and universities. Families would likely hope that they would offer a more personal experience, and a greater chance for success. The four-year graduation rate is a fair measure of the services that a college makes available to help their students as well as the admissions office’s ability to select a freshman class.

Which schools made the list?

Among Small Universities That Change Lives that are test-mandatory are:

  • Butler University (IN)
  • Chapman University (CA)
  • Creighton University (NE)
  • Elon University (NC)
  • Franciscan University of Steubenville (OH)
  • Gonzaga University (WA)
  • John Carroll University (OH)
  • Misericordia University (PA)
  • Rockhurst University (MO)
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN)
  • Saint Louis University (MO)
  • Simmons University (MA)
  • Springfield College (MA)
  • SUNY-Geneseo
  • University of Dallas (TX)
  • University of Denver (CO)
  • University of Portland (OR)
  • University of Redlands (CA)
  • University of San Diego (CA)
  • University of San Francisco (CA)
  • Valparaiso University (IN)

SUNY-Geneseo was the only public college that qualified for this list. I have visited this school, and consider it to be one of the best educational values in the country. Other small and mid-sized test-mandatory public colleges that are on track to reach a 65 percent four-year graduation rate include:

  • Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • The Citadel (SC)
  • Truman State University (MO)

I welcome any comments as well as questions about missing schools. 

I would certainly like to add more to this list.

Need help in building your college list? Contact me at or call me at 609-406-0062.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *