Best Colleges in Connecticut – Top 20 Universities in CT [2024]

If you’re looking to go to college in Connecticut, you’re probably wondering which schools are the best. That’s why I decided to put together this resource comparing all of the top Connecticut universities head-to-head.

As someone who grew up in Connecticut and attended multiple universities in the state, I’ve managed to develop a pretty good idea of what each school is like. This article will cover the basics of each major college in CT, including the admission requirements, tuition rates, and campus life.

If you’re completely unsure of what school you want to attend, skip to the bottom of this article. I give some recommendations of the best schools for academics, partying, and everything in between.

Yale University, which is a top college in CT.

Top Colleges in CT

1. Yale University

Yale University is widely regarded as the best college in Connecticut. Established in 1701, this ivy league school is the third oldest college in the United States.

Graduating with a degree from Yale isn’t only the pinnacle of academic achievement in the state, but also in the country. Needless to say, the education you receive at Yale University is second to none.

However, it’s not cheap. Expect to pay at least $20,000 for room and board in addition to the $62,000 in tuition and fees. The acceptance rate is very low as well since they only take students that are at the top of their class.

The campus life at Yale is very good with plenty of things to do in the city of New Haven. There are many fraternities, sororities, and other organized student groups. The nightlife in the surrounding area is some of the best in the state too.

  • SAT Scores: 1460-1580
  • Acceptance Rate: 4.5%
  • Tuition & Fees: $62,250
  • Location: New Haven, CT

2. University of Connecticut (UCONN)

The University of Connecticut (or UCONN for short) is another one of the top colleges in CT. For many high school students in the state, this is their preferred choice for higher education.

It’s one of the top 25 public universities in the nation as the school has over 80 research centers that focus on fields like engineering, technology, and health.

The school is the largest in Connecticut with over 30,000 students enrolled, so it presents a nice balance of campus life and academics. There isn’t much to do off-campus, so most students remain on campus throughout the semester enjoying the school-funded activities and clubs, especially the UCONN Huskies basketball program.

Aside from the main campus in Storrs, there are a number of other regional campuses spread throughout the state in Avery Point (Groton), Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury. They aren’t as popular as the main campus, but they have a higher acceptance rate.

UCONN is relatively cheap for in-state students (about $20,000) but the out-of-state tuition is double that. If you live on campus, housing and meal plans will cost you an extra $15,000, but some of the burden can be mitigated with scholarships.

  • SAT Scores: 1230-1430
  • Acceptance Rate: 56%
  • Tuition & Fees: $19,434 (in-state) / $42,102 (out-of-state)
  • Location: Storrs, CT

3. Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University is a very esteemed university that often flies under the radar. The school has a beautiful campus in south-central Connecticut that teaches about 6,000 total undergraduate students.

The college offers approximately 50 undergraduate programs, along with over 20 graduate degrees. The Quinnipiac University School of Law is one of the best places to learn law in the state.

Regardless of whether you live in or out of state, the tuition is expensive at this college. Expect to pay $53,000 in tuition, plus roughly another $20,000 for housing.

If you live in the area, you can save a small fortune by commuting to school. The campus life is quite average, with many students leaving on the weekends.

  • SAT Scores: 1080-1300
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Tuition & Fees: $53,090
  • Location: Hamden, CT

4. Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University is a highly-regarded private college located in Fairfield. This college has an enrollment of over 10,000 total students, 6,000 of which are full-time undergraduates.

The school focuses on getting students real-world results, not just a paper degree. This is clear since 100% of the students from the class of 2020 are either employed or attending graduate school.

Although Sacred Heart is roughly the same size as Quinnipiac, campus life is a bit more lively. The student body for undergraduates is about 67% women and 33% men.

The cost to attend the college is about $46,000, but you can add another $10,000 to that if you plan on living on campus and taking the meal plan.

  • SAT Scores: 1140-1300
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Tuition & Fees: $46,310
  • Location: Fairfield, CT

5. Fairfield University

Fairfield University is located a few miles from Sacred Heart. The school is about half the size, with about 5,000 students enrolled.

This college has really good academic programs and a beautiful campus. The school ranks in the top 15% of all colleges in the country and in the top 5% for nursing, accounting, and finance.

It’s one of the smaller colleges in the state, so campus life isn’t the most active. However, the college does provide some entertainment, and the students here are typically very friendly.

The base tuition at Fairfield University is about $53,000, but you can expect to pay about $70,000 in total if you plan on living on the college’s campus.

  • SAT Scores: 1230-1380
  • Acceptance Rate: 56%
  • Tuition & Fees: $53,630
  • Location: Fairfield, CT

6. Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University is a small private college located in Middletown. This university has a rigorous academic program that’s comparable to Yale’s curriculum in many regards. In fact, it’s even called a “mini ivy” league school.

Although the number of students enrolled is very low (about 3,000) the campus is relatively lively. Almost 10% of the total campus population is involved with Greek life.

The facilities at Wesleyan University are very good, plus the school has an excellent location in the heart of town. To attend college here, expect to pay over $18,000 in housing in addition to the $63,000 in tuition.

  • SAT Scores: 1300-1510
  • Acceptance Rate: 19%
  • Tuition & Fees: $63,722
  • Location: Middletown, CT

7. University of Hartford

The University of Hartford (or UHart for short) is another one of the top private colleges in Connecticut. Known for its art and science programs, the school offers nearly 100 fields of study for undergraduates and over 60 graduate programs.

The 3,500 full-time undergraduates make up the majority of the student population, but there are a sizeable amount of graduate students as well. Campus life here is very average compared to the other colleges in the state.

Tuition and fees at UHart totals around $46,000, plus another $14,000 for room and board. However, this college is known for giving out a lot of scholarships, so it’s likely you won’t have to pay the full cost of tuition if you’re accepted.

  • SAT Scores: 1080-1270
  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Tuition & Fees: $46,148
  • Location: West Hartford, CT

8. Connecticut College

Connecticut College is a small university in Connecticut located in New London. This school is recognized as a liberal arts college but offers a variety of majors including political science, economics, and psychology.

There are only about 2,000 undergraduates that go to school here, but that allows the professors to give better attention to the students. This has contributed to the college’s 80% graduation rate.

As a residential college, 98 percent of the students at Connecticut College reside on campus. In fact, full-time undergraduate students are expected to live on campus, which is a real positive for campus life.

The total comprehensive fee to attend this college (which covers tuition, room & board, and program fees) is roughly $82,000. That sounds expensive, but the admissions department at Connecticut College does offer financial aid.

  • SAT Scores: 1330-1480
  • Acceptance Rate: 41% 
  • Tuition & Fees: $81,900
  • Location: New London, CT

9. Trinity College

Trinity College is another one of the private liberal arts colleges in CT. This Connecticut university was founded in 1823, making it the second-oldest college in the state.

Just like Wesleyan University, the academic standards at the school are high, which has landed it a reputation as a “mini ivy” league school.

Although it’s one of the smaller colleges in the state with only about 2,000 full-time undergraduate students, over 90% of the student population lives on campus. This builds a strong community and earns the private institution high reviews for student life. There are also over 100 clubs and organizations.

Expect to pay around $64,000 in yearly tuition to attend Trinity College. You can also factor in the meal plan and housing fees totaling $15,000 if you want to live on the Hartford campus.

  • SAT Scores: 1300-1450
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%
  • Tuition & Fees: $63,930
  • Location: Hartford, CT

10. Central Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) is one of the most popular colleges in the state of Connecticut. This public university is known for being a respectable yet affordable school.

The university usually has about 10,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students at any one point in time, so it’s one of the largest colleges in Connecticut.

However, most of the student body at CCSU commutes, so campus life is very underwhelming. This is especially true on weekends as many students who live on campus go home after they finish classes on Fridays.

Tuition at Central Connecticut State University is about $12,000 for in-state students (not including $4,000-$5,000 in optional housing). Students who are residents of other New York, New Jersey, or New England states can also get discounted tuition here.

  • SAT Scores: 950-1180
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Tuition & Fees: $12,026 (in-state) / $15,262 (NE, NY, or NJ) $24,914 (out-of-state)
  • Location: New Britain, CT

11. Eastern Connecticut State University

Eastern Connecticut State University is the 3rd oldest college in Connecticut. It’s another popular choice for students in CT looking for affordable education.

The school is a public liberal arts university with an average enrollment of about 3,000 undergraduates. The campus is relatively small, with only about half the students living on school property. Commuting is very common here.

As the name suggests, the college mainly draws students from the eastern part of the state, but out-of-state students attend the school as well. The tuition for both parties is very similar, hovering around $15,000. If you live on-campus you can expect to pay another $15,000 in housing and meal plans.

  • SAT Scores: 1020-1190
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Tuition & Fees: $13,292 (in-state) / $16,624 (out-of-state)
  • Location: Windham, CT

12. Southern Connecticut State University

Southern Connecticut State University is an affordable public university located in New Haven. This college is very similar to its Central and Eastern counterparts, with approximately 7,000 undergraduates.

The school has a very high acceptance rate, so it’s very common for high school students to apply to Southern as their backup school if they don’t get into their first college of choice. But with that being said, the college has a solid curriculum for the price.

In-state tuition at Southern Connecticut State University is about $12,000, while out-of-state tuition is roughly $26,000. If you want room, board, and meals, you can expect to pay another $5,000 to $8,000 on top of tuition.

  • SAT Scores: 910–1090
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Tuition & Fees: $12,828 (in-state) / $26,104 (out-of-state)
  • Location: New Haven, CT

13. Western Connecticut State University

Western Connecticut State University is another one of the cost-effective state colleges. They have two campuses in Danbury, with a combined enrollment of 4,500 students. The vast majority of the student population consists of full-time undergraduates.

This is largely a commuter school as most students live nearby. The student life on campus is very average, with most students focusing on their studies.

The professors and faculty here offer a career-focused education with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.

Similar to Central Connecticut State University, regional students from New England get discounted tuition, which is comparable to the in-state price. Housing costs another $5,000 for students who don’t commute.

  • SAT Scores: 880-1080
  • Acceptance Rate: 81%
  • Tuition & Fees: $12,351 (in-state) / $25,239 (out-of-state)
  • Location: Danbury, CT

14. University of New Haven

The University of New Haven is one of four colleges located in the New Haven area. The school offers more than 100 academic programs across a wide range of disciplines.

The university’s student body is made up of 5,000 undergraduate students and 2,500 graduate students. About half of the undergraduate students live on campus in one of the 20 residence halls.

There’s plenty to do at the University of New Haven with numerous campus organizations ranging from sports teams to campus newspapers.

Tuition at the school is about $45,000, plus another $20,000 for room and board. It’s certainly pricey, but about 88% of full-time undergraduate students receive some financial assistance, including scholarships and grants.

  • SAT Scores: 1100-1280
  • Acceptance Rate: 94%
  • Tuition & Fees: $45,730
  • Location: West Haven, CT 

15. University of Bridgeport

The University of Bridgeport is a private university in found in southern Connecticut. They have 80 different programs that include in-person, fully online, and hybrid options.

Nursing and dental hygiene are two of the most popular majors at the college with many alumni going to work in health-related fields.

There are usually about 3,500 students enrolled at the University of Bridgeport at any one point in time. The demographics are roughly a 50-50 split between graduate and undergraduate students, with a fair number of them living on campus.

Tuition at the school is about $35,000, plus another $8,000-$10,000 if you want to live on campus and take the meal plan.

  • SAT Scores: 950-1130
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Tuition & Fees: $35,520
  • Location: Bridgeport, CT

16. Albertus Magnus College

Albertus Magnus College is one of the smaller universities in Connecticut. The total enrollment of undergraduates and graduates is between 1,000 and 2,000 students combined.

The school offers a variety of different majors and maintains a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio so you can benefit from the small class sizes.

The cost to attend is around $19,000 per semester or $38,000 per year. If you live on campus, expect to pay an additional $12,000-$15,000 in housing and meals. This is another one of the colleges located in New Haven, Connecticut.

  • SAT Scores: 850-1100
  • Acceptance Rate: 82%
  • Tuition & Fees: $37,682
  • Location: New Haven, CT

17. University of Saint Joseph

The University of Saint Joseph is one of Connecticut’s Catholic universities. The school teaches about 2,000 undergraduate students every year at its West Hartford campus.

The university has a range of degree programs across a wide range of disciplines. The curriculum incorporates a ton of experiential learning as well to help students transition seamlessly into professional careers after completing their education.

Annual tuition and fees for the University of Saint Joseph are about $44,000. But as with many colleges in the state, expect to pay another $7,000-$10,000 for housing and meals if you plan on living at school.

  • SAT Scores: 1000-1200
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Tuition & Fees: $44,066
  • Location: West Hartford, CT

18. Post University

Post University is a private college located in Waterbury, Connecticut. Enrollment at the university is about 14,000, but many of those are online or part-time students. Very few students actually live on campus.

Post University is known for its flexible undergraduate and graduate programs, which can be taken online or on campus. Weekend and evening classes are available as well.

If your SAT or ACT scores aren’t great, Post University should be one of the colleges you consider applying to. They have a very high acceptance rate so your chances of getting in are good.

Tuition for students taking classes on the main campus is about $30,000, while online classes are about $14,000. Room and board for full-time undergraduates is approximately $12,000.

  • SAT Scores: 850-1100
  • Acceptance Rate: 97%
  • Tuition & Fees: $29,550 (on campus) / $13,880 (online)
  • Location: Waterbury, CT

19. Goodwin University

Goodwin University is another college in the middle of the state that has a high acceptance rate. In fact, the university has an open admission policy, so you’re chances of getting in are basically 100% if you meet the minimum criteria.

The school has about 3,000 students enrolled and offers classes in-person and online. Some of the programs include business, manufacturing, nursing, education, and health sciences.

Full-time tuition at Goodwin University is $20,000 for the year, but most of the student body is only part-time. Also, 85% of undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid.

  • SAT Scores: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Tuition & Fees: $19,998
  • Location: East Hartford, CT

20. Mitchell College

Mitchell College is one more university in Connecticut. Located in New London, this school has a small student body of only 500 students, with the vast majority of them studying full-time.

The college hasn’t published its SAT requirements, so they either aren’t mandatory or aren’t weighted very heavily by admissions. This is reflected in their favorable acceptance rate.

Mitchell College has an array of programs including business, criminal justice, communication, and sports management. They have a popular performing arts program too.

The cost to attend Mitchell College as a full-time student is $37,250, plus another $15,000 in room and board. Part-time students can attend for $25,000 per academic year.

  • SAT Scores: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Tuition & Fees: $37,250
  • Location: New London, CT

Nontraditional Programs for Students Attending School in Connecticut

Aside from the traditional Connecticut colleges, there are other nontraditional schools available as well. These colleges include the United States Coast Guard Academy and the Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is a highly competitive school that focuses on several areas of academics, including engineering, management, science, and mathematics. It’s one of the most selective colleges in Connecticut.

The Holy Apostles College is a small not-for-profit Catholic school that offers degrees in philosophy, theology, and pastoral studies. They offer high-quality academics that are convenient and affordable.

Best College CT – Final Thoughts

Those are all of the top colleges and universities in CT. When picking which school to attend, you’re going to want to take many things into account.

Academics, campus life, and affordability are three of the most important factors to consider when making your final decision. Here are the top schools in each of those categories.

Best Party School – During my time in college, I attended parties at many of the schools on this list. In my experience, Sacred Heart and Yale were the best party schools.

At Sacred Heart, there are a lot of organized parties off-campus, which is no surprise considering it’s a wealthy school in Fairfield County. Yale has a good party scene too since it’s located in New Haven and offers access to a variety of nightclubs.

Best Education – When determining which college is going to offer you the best education, you’re going to have to take into account what your preferred area of study and career path is going to be.

Yale is widely considered the best school regardless of major, but UCONN isn’t too far behind. For business degrees, both Fairfield University and Sacred Heart are excellent schools and often help students find opportunities for internships.

Most Affordable College – If you live in Connecticut and take advantage of the in-state tuition discounts, the state universities offer the best mix of affordability and quality of education. This includes Central, Eastern, Southern, and Western Connecticut State University.

You can also attend one of the many community colleges in Connecticut. These colleges are the most affordable higher education option in the state, charging only a fraction of the tuition of other schools.