2018 Niche Standout Colleges in AmericaAbout this List

The 2018 Niche Standout Colleges list recognizes colleges that are making a difference in college access by offering a quality education while serving a high percentage of typically underserved student populations. The ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. The list is limited to only colleges with 1) at least 40% of students receiving Pell Grants and 2) a Niche Overall Grade of B or higher. Read more on how this ranking was calculated.

  1. Rutgers University - Newark

    • 4 Year
    • Newark, NJ
    • 932
    6 Niche Standout Colleges in America

    College Senior: I've had a really specific experience at my school because my department was so small. My professors not only knew your name, but literally knew your skill levels in certain areas, and could go back and remember work that I'd done two years ago! That aspect was wonderful. They held a very personal stake in my success and went above and beyond the call of duty to give me opportunities to work, learn, and grow as a student. If you show a little interest and that you actually care about academics, the staff will more than meet you halfway and ensure you have a great experience. Of all three campuses, I definitely find this one to be the most academically demanding. A lot of that is owed to the small class size—you can't just hide behind your laziness. If you want to bum along, not learn anything, and just party for four years, go to New Brunswick. The Newark campus *really* knows how to make an academic out of you, in a good way.

    If you're in a larger major, however, I know the experience can be very different. Sometimes the way my friends in the business school or the sciences speak about it, you'd think they went to a totally different university! So I'd say if you're ready to really build those relationships, put yourself out there, and if you truly are passionate about what you want to do—this is a great campus. If you're wavering a little, or are more interested in the sports or clubs or greek life components of a school, then perhaps look elsewhere. Passion and focus finds a happy home at Rutgers—Newark.
    Read 932 Reviews

    • A-
      Overall Niche Grade
    • 65% Acceptance Rate
    • $10,569 Net Price
    • 930-1130 SAT Range
  2. Mills College

    • 4 Year
    • Oakland, CA
    • 653
    21 Niche Standout Colleges in America

    College Junior: I COULD NOT IMAGINE A BETTER PLACE TO BE! I by no means considered attending a women's college. It wasn't until I visited Mills campus and sat in on a couple classes, that I realized what a unique and empowering institution Mills is! The professors are exceptional; they have extensive published research, but are most passionate about teaching. Professors make themselves accessible by offering office hours throughout the week, responding immediately to emails and occasionally giving out their cell/home phone numbers. Professors want you to develop a relationship with them and hope you take the time to meet with them outside of class. Because the classes are typically 15 (or less) students, professors expect everyone to do the reading and participate in class. Mills students are passionate, articulate, outspoken and empowered. The Mills student body is much more racially and socioeconomically diverse than the other 22 colleges I extensively researched. When students with varied life experiences are expected to participate in class, discussions are dynamic, highly educational and exciting!

    I was fed up with the quality of education at my high school and was pleasantly surprised to find a college that teaches you about influential people and achievements OUTSIDE the white, masculinist, heteronormative, capitalist narrative. At Mills, I have learned about groundbreaking grassroots social justice movements in the Bay Area (and World) that were organized by queer people of color. Prior to Mills, I thought I was fairly educated on social justice movements, my white privilege, and politics. HOWEVER, I knew nothing compared to what I know now (two years later.) I have learned how to THINK CRITICALLY, recognize implicit bias and question all authors, politicians, policy makers and influential people to determine if they are perpetuating structures of oppression or challenging them. Overall, I LOVE MY CLASSES and LOVE MY SOCIAL LIFE AT MILLS EVEN MORE!
    Read 653 Reviews

    • B+
      Overall Niche Grade
    • 72% Acceptance Rate
    • $27,181 Net Price
    • 1030-1290 SAT Range
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2018 Niche Standout Colleges in America