College Raptor Research Reveals “Hidden Gem” Colleges for 2024

Rankings highlights one exceptional, under-the-radar school from every state (and DC)

College Raptor, the most comprehensive college search site and a wholly owned subsidiary of Citizens, today released its “2024 Hidden Gem College” rankings. In its ninth year, the “Hidden Gems” list spotlights exceptional colleges and universities that may not have widespread name recognition, but are worthy of applicants’ consideration.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

College Raptor Hidden Gem Colleges by State 2024. (Graphic: Business Wire)

College Raptor Hidden Gem Colleges by State 2024. (Graphic: Business Wire)

The 2024 Hidden Gem College rankings include a hallmark list awarding one school from each state, as well as the District of Columbia. To continue shining a light on lesser known but excellent schools, College Raptor has also identified additional Hidden Gem colleges across the following categories:

Additionally, eight new schools took the #1 spot in their states including: John Brown University (AR), University of Saint Joseph (CT), Wabash College (IN), Millsaps College (MS), Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE), Rhode Island College (RI), University of Dallas (TX), and Bennington College (VT).

Hidden Gem colleges are the highest-rated schools in College Raptor’s overall rankings that receive fewer than 5,000 applications per year, have fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students, offer 5 or more unique majors, and have an acceptance rate at or above 10%.

"We are thrilled to announce our 2024 Hidden Gem Colleges, a distinctive spotlight on great schools across the United States that may have flown under the radar of many students and their families. At College Raptor, we believe accessibility is crucial, ensuring all students have fair chances to explore institutions that match their academic, financial, and social preferences,” said William Staib, co-founder, and CEO, College Raptor. “For students seeking the enriching experience of a smaller college with strong programs, these institutions emerge as prime options, and we are honored to spotlight them with the recognition they genuinely deserve.”

College Raptor’s annual Hidden Gem research complements its annual “Best College” rankings. When used with College Raptor’s College Match Tool, these lists help all students experience a less stressful application process and ensure their future college satisfaction and academic success.

College Raptor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Citizens, a leader in student lending that is committed to empowering students and families throughout the college selection, financing, and post-college lifecycle.

View the complete College Raptor 2024 Hidden Gems Colleges rankings.

About College Raptor

College Raptor is the most evolved, accurate, and comprehensive college search site with tools to empower students, parents, counselors, and colleges with college planning. College Raptor is the only college search platform that enables students and families to discover quality, affordable college options based on personalized estimates of financial aid, scholarships, academic match, and acceptance odds at every 4-year college in the country. More than 30 million students and families have used College Raptor to find cost-effective, academically appropriate college options that prepare them for future careers. For more information, visit

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $223.1 billion in assets as of June 30, 2023. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,400 ATMs and approximately 1,100 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.


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