Despite its classification as a liberal arts college, Davidson prides itself on being a leader in undergraduate research. Small class sizes mean its 1,900 students can conduct research alongside professors, and a grant-funded initiative gives them the opportunity to design a research project, work with a faculty mentor and publish their findings.
The school — located in Davidson, North Carolina, about 20 miles from Charlotte — offers about 74 majors, minors and pre-professional programs ranging from degrees in Arab studies to global literary theory to pre-medicine and even pre-ministry.
Davidson stands out with a strong graduation rate; 91% of students finish their program within six years. But it also scores well for affordability. It was one of the first liberal arts colleges to commit to meeting all of the demonstrated financial needs of students through a combination of grants and campus jobs. Davidson’s financial aid packages don’t include loans, though students may choose to take them out.
After graduation, students go on to relatively high-paying jobs, with median early career earnings coming in at $77,400, according to the College Scorecard.
As for extracurriculars, the college has more than 200 clubs and organizations, including four a cappella groups: the Generals, the Delilahs, Androgyny and the Nuances.
For a small school, Davidson offers a large variety of athletics, too, with 21 NCAA Division I teams. It may not be considered a powerhouse, but the college is in the middle of a $55-million renovation of its football stadium and has a small list of athletic alumni who went on to play professionally, including NBA golden boy Steph Curry.