Compared to other U.S. states, Vermont is small in size and population. However, a low 2.2% unemployment rate (as of November 2019) makes it easier for residents to handle the cost of living, which is slightly higher than the national average. One way Vermonters can better afford their above-average housing and transportation costs is by pursuing a college degree. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a clear correlation between educational attainment and income level.
Top 10 Colleges in Vermont
- Middlebury College - Middlebury, VT
- University of Vermont - Burlington, VT
- Bennington College - Bennington, VT
- Saint Michael's College - Colchester, VT
- Norwich University - Northfield, VT
- Northern Vermont University - Lyndonville, VT
- Landmark College - Putney, VT
- Marlboro College - Marlboro, VT
- Castleton University - Castleton, VT
- Champlain College - Burlington, VT
Vermont is home to respected public and private colleges, which offer degrees designed to support student's personal and professional goals. According to the BLS, many college graduates in Vermont go on to find work as registered nurses, bookkeeping and accounting clerks, and elementary school teachers. Employment opportunities also abound in Vermont's key industries, which include corporate services, information technology, life sciences, manufacturing, and supply chain management.
The following ranking provides a detailed look at each of the 10 best accredited colleges in the state. Topics covered include admission requirements; degree offerings; and notable, school-specific characteristics. Prospective students can use these summaries to help make better informed decisions about their school and program choices.
2020 Best Accredited Colleges in Vermont
|Middlebury, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 95%||
Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located on 350 acres in Addison County. The college also operates schools and graduate programs across the country and around the world, attracting a total enrollment of about 2,500 students each year. Middlebury competes in NCAA athletics, houses an on-campus art museum, and engages full-time students in its thriving residential community.
Middlebury's liberal arts curriculum ensures every student receives an interdisciplinary education. Alongside an in-depth major, undergraduates complete several courses in writing, cultures and civilizations, and seven core academic categories. Available majors include anthropology, comparative literature, economics, global health, and physics. The school's independent scholar program provides a customizable curriculum to motivated students who have clearly defined goals that cannot be met by an existing major.
Prospective undergraduate students must supply a completed application; official transcripts; and supplemental materials including an essay, two teacher recommendations, and standardized test scores.
University of Vermont
|Burlington, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 75%||
Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is one of the oldest universities in the nation. This land-grant research university welcomes more than 11,000 students each year. Its campus in Burlington houses the primary facilities of the UVM Medical Center -- the largest hospital complex in Vermont.
UVM academics encompass more than 100 undergraduate majors, four pre-professional programs, 54 master's degrees, and 26 doctoral degrees. More than 30 accelerated master's programs are available in fields including animal science, biostatistics, education, and historic preservation. The school emphasizes the importance of experience-based learning, encouraging participation in undergraduate research, study abroad, and internship opportunities.
First-year applicants must satisfy minimum entrance requirements by showing completion of an appropriate high school curriculum. A completed application, standardized test scores, and transcripts are required. The application fee is waived for Early Action applicants.
|Bennington, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Bennington College is a small, private institution that enrolls about 1,000 students each year, 94% of whom live on campus in 21 coeducational dorms. In this highly engaged community, students receive personal attention and mentorship from faculty and administration.
Undergraduate majors are available in over 35 fields, including animation and production design, Earth science, history, and politics. Bennington's Plan System allows students to study and practice diverse interests under the one-on-one guidance of an academic advisor. Every Bennington student is also required to participate in an annual internship. For two months each winter, undergraduates work with an organization of their choice -- anywhere in the world.
Prospective Bennington students may apply by submitting the Common Application or an open-form Dimensional Application, which allows applicants to choose the materials and format that best demonstrate their college readiness.
Saint Michael's College
|Colchester, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
Located in Colchester, Saint Michael's College provides a Catholic, liberal arts education to about 2,000 students each year. On-site housing, dining, socializing, and study provide a close-knit community throughout the school's 440-acre campus. Students can engage in NCAA athletics, more than 40 clubs and organizations, and volunteer activities.
Small class sizes and dedicated professors allow students to receive personal attention and mentorship. Students choose from more than 30 majors and minors, in fields like computer science, criminology, English, and religious studies. Blended and online learning options are also available. St. Mike's encourages participation in experiential learning through service, internships, and faculty-led research projects. Graduate students can pursue programs in education, clinical psychology, and teaching English as a second or foreign language.
Admission to St. Mike's is selective. Prospective students must supply a completed application, high school transcripts, and one or two recommendation letters. ACT and SAT scores are optional.
|Northfield, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
The oldest private military college in the nation, Norwich University is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense as the birthplace of the ROTC. Its 1,200-acre campus -- located in Northfield -- serves more than 3,000 students each year. Two-thirds of all residential students join the Corps of Cadets, which is a mentally and physically challenging military leadership program.
At Norwich, undergraduate students choose from more than 50 programs of study in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, business, and technology fields. Norwich also offers some online options -- including four certificates, seven bachelor's degrees, and 12 master's degrees -- making it easier to pursue careers in popular fields like criminal justice, nursing, and cyber/information security. Outside of class, Norwich offers recreational activities, campus events, religious services, and athletics (including e-sports).
Prospective students can apply using Norwich's in-house application or the Common Application. Applicants are reviewed based on their academic preparedness, resume, essay, and letters of recommendation.
Northern Vermont University
|Lyndonville, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
Established in 2018 by the unification of two smaller colleges, Northern Vermont University is a public institution serving more than 5,000 students each year. Its two campuses are located 50 miles apart, in Johnson and Lyndon. NVU students select a "home base" campus upon enrollment but can take classes at both locations through on-site, online, and virtual learning.
Both NVU campuses offer academic options in high-demand fields like business, criminal justice, education, and psychology, while other disciplines may only be available at a single campus. For example, NVU's award-winning digital communication and broadcast journalism degrees are exclusively offered at Lyndon. Graduate students can pursue master's degrees and certificates in counseling, leadership studies, education, and studio arts.
NVU is a test-optional institution, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For consideration, prospective students must fill out an application and submit high school transcripts. Additional requirements may apply for certain programs.
|Putney, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Located in Putney, Landmark College exclusively serves students who learn differently, including individuals with learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder. This fully-accredited, private college offers two- and four-year programs in the liberal arts and sciences.
Approximately 500 students enroll at LC each year. The college boasts a low six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio, meaning everyone receives direct, comprehensive, and personalized support. Four associate programs and five bachelor's tracks award majors in liberal studies, psychology, studio art, computer science, business studies, and communication and entrepreneurial leadership. Students can take advantage of on-site housing, dining, events, athletics, and recreational activities. LD also employs a team of nine therapy dogs who regularly interact with students across campus.
LC accepts applications on a rolling basis. Prospective students can apply online or by submitting a paper application. Requirements include official high school transcripts, teacher and/or counselor recommendations, and a personal interview.
|Marlboro, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Marlboro College is a private liberal arts college with an enrollment of approximately 200 students. Marlboro operates based on the idea that smart, motivated individuals can make decisions for themselves. The school's community-governance model gives everyone a say in matters like curriculum development, faculty hiring, and housing.
Students are also given the freedom to craft their own curriculum, and Marlboro's unconventional academic approach does not lock learners into a major. Each student can pursue exactly what interests them as long as specific yearly milestones are met along the way. Available fields include art history, dance, chemistry, religion, and psychology. Marlboro's academic structure culminates in a Plan of Concentration: a major, self-designed research project completed during the third and fourth years of study. An accelerated, dual-degree master's track is also available.
Application materials include two short essays, official transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Interviews -- held in person, over the phone, or through Skype -- are strongly recommended.
|Castleton, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
With a history that dates back to 1787, Castleton University operates as a public liberal arts school, attracting more than 1,500 students each year. Castleton's 165-acre campus offers residence halls, dining facilities, athletics and intramurals, and student clubs.
Students can choose from more than 75 certificate and degree programs designed to meet a variety of academic and professional goals. Undergraduate majors available at Castleton include ecological studies, English/literature, health science, music, and resort and hospitality management. Ten master's degrees are also available in subjects like athletic training, accounting, education, business administration, and school psychology. Students can pursue academic enrichment opportunities through internships, study abroad trips, and community engagement activities.
Prospective first-year students must complete an application and provide high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and a letter of recommendation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
|Burlington, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Champlain College is a private college based in Burlington. The school also has additional campuses located in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. More than 2,000 full-time undergraduates enroll each year, enjoying small class sizes, sports and athletics, diverse campus organizations, and unique residence life in restored Victorian-era mansions.
Champlain offers dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs. It also boasts one of the largest online schools in Vermont, offering dozens of certificates, four associate degrees, 12 bachelor's degrees, and six master's degrees to distance learners. On-campus undergraduates can choose from 30 majors or design their own by combining fields like global studies and entrepreneurship or criminal justice and social justice. Champlain's popular study abroad and guided immersion opportunities inspire life-changing connections to places, people, and cultures around the world.
Prospective undergraduates must provide a completed application, high school transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Portfolios are required for some media-focused majors. Champlain is test-optional and charges no application fee.