As one of the oldest liberal arts schools in the country, Franklin & Marshall has a storied history. The Pennsylvania college was founded — thanks to a donation from Benjamin Franklin — in 1787, the same year the Constitution was signed. At the time, it stood out for offering bilingual education (English and German) and was one of the only schools educating both men and women.

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Today, it stands out, in part, for its commitment to fostering strong relationships between students and professors. Many students conduct research or participate in another type of one-on-one educational experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students flock to the college's political science, economics and business programs, though they can also choose to create their own interdisciplinary major. About 85% of students graduate within six years, which is much higher than the national median of Money’s list.

Greek life is popular, as are dramatic and artistic events on campus, especially those at the student-run restaurant and club, Ben's Underground. Want to venture off grounds? From the college town of Lancaster, you can get to Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City by train.