Boston has renowned public and private schools that offer their students the best of both worlds. Entry is competitive as these colleges expect you to be at the top or near the top of your class with outstanding results to prove that you will do great in their institution. Every year, they admit a few students and grant them access to world-class teaching and learning facilities, internship opportunities, and room to bring out the sleeping creativity in them. 

This article discusses the cost of tuition, acceptance and graduation rates, rankings, majors, and other details about the 10 best colleges in Massachusetts.

2024’s Best Colleges in Massachusetts

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Williams College
  4. Amherst College
  5. Wellesley College
  6. Tufts University
  7. Babson College
  8. College of the Holy Cross
  9. Boston College
  10. Smith College

Harvard University

Harvard University Cambridge MA 1
Harvard University – Cambridge, MA

Harvard University is a prestigious private research institution established in 1636 as the first university in the US. It is one of the 8 Ivy League schools renowned for providing high-quality education, top-notch research facilities, and the best professors worldwide, resulting in excellent academic results. Harvard ranks 1st among the best colleges in Massachusetts, and its students have access to the finest research facilities and internship opportunities in the best companies in their sector. 

U.S. News & World Report ranks Harvard 1st in 2021, while Times Higher Education ranks it 3rd. Harvard ranks 1st in Best Value Schools and 20th in Most Innovative Schools. It is the top college in the Boston area. 

Harvard has a 4.6% acceptance rate and a 97% graduation rate. The average SAT scores range between 1460 to 1570 or ACT scores between 33 to 35. Enrolled students have an average high school GPA of 4.04. The admission standards are elite, making it a competitive school to get into. 

Undergraduate tuition and fees cost $54,002 annually. However, Harvard offers financial aid, and students with a family income less than $65,000 can get a tuition and fee waiver. International students and US residents get the same amount of aid. Harvard graduates have an average starting salary of $89,700 and $136,700 10 years after graduation. 

Harvard University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Here is a list of some programs:

  • Anthropology 
  • Bioengineering 
  • Comparative Literature 
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Environmental Science and Public Policy 
  • Government 
  • History of Art and Architecture 
  • International Relations 
  • Linguistics 
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 
  • Neuroscience
  • Philosophy 
  • Romance Languages and Literature
  • Sociology 
  • Theatre, Dance & Media 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, MA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research institute in Cambridge that focuses on science and technology. It was established in 1861 and has since risen the ranks to become one of the finest universities worldwide. 

MIT uses a rigorous curriculum to promote intensive teaching to its 11,520+ students with an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1. MIT promotes innovation, hard work, and persistence to bring changes to bring forth global change. 

MIT ranks 2nd in best colleges in MA and 4th in National Universities. It ranks 2nd in Most Innovative Schools and 5th in Best Value Schools. 

MIT has a 6.58% acceptance rate and a 92.7% graduate rate. Students applying for the 2021/2022 academic year must not submit their test scores. However, they can do so if they choose to since it may help the school better access their level of preparedness. Enrolled students have an average GPA of 4.17. 

Tuition and fees cost $53,818 annually for all students, and MIT awards financial aid to cover 100% of demonstrated financial need. 89% of MIT students receive some form of financial assistance. Graduates have an average starting salary of $83,600 annually. 

Here is a list of some programs MIT offers:

  • Aerospace Engineering 
  • Business Analytics 
  • Chemistry and Biology 
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 
  • French 
  • Humanities and Science 
  • Linguistics 
  • Mathematical Economics 
  • Nuclear Science and Engineering 
  • Planning
  • Science, Technology, and Society 
  • Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science 
  • Writing 

Williams College

Williams College Williams town MA
Williams College – Williams town, MA

Williams College was established as a men’s college in 1793 but became a coeducational institution in 1970. It is a prestigious private liberal arts college renowned for its teaching methods and its students’ results. 41% of students at Williams college carry out funded research annually with the aid of well-experienced professors. It has 200+ student-led organizations to keep the students active and encourage team spirit. 

Williams College ranks 1st in National Liberal Arts Colleges and is 17th in Massachusetts colleges rankings. It ranks 1st in Best Value Schools and 2nd in Best Undergraduate Teaching. 

Williams College has a 13% acceptance rate and a 94% graduation rate making it a competitive institution to get into. Enrolled students have SAT scores between 1410 to 1550 or ACT scores between 32 to 35. Those applying for admission need a GPA of 4.07 to increase their chance of getting admitted. 

Tuition for the 2020/2021 academic year costs $59,350. Williams College offers 100% need-based financial aid and very few loans. 88% of graduates from the 2019 batch were either in graduate school or gainfully employed within six months of graduation. Goldman Sachs and ESPN are top employers. 

Some majors are:

  • Art (History, Studio)
  • Biology 
  • Computer Science 
  • Environmental Studies 
  • French 
  • Geosciences 
  • History 
  • Math
  • Political Economy
  • Psychology 
  • Religion 
  • Theatre 
  • Sociology 
  • Statistics 
  • Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies 

Amherst College

Amherst College Amherst MA
Amherst College – Amherst, MA

Amherst College is a private institution that was established in 1821. It is a liberal arts college that is big on diversity and inclusion or other discriminating factors. It is home to 1839 students studying in a rigorous academic environment with a curriculum tailored to develop their potential and help them make good choices. Amherst College encourages creativity and critical thinking to bring the best out of every student. 

It is the 3rd on the list of top colleges in Massachusetts and 2nd in National Liberal Arts Colleges. It ranks 3rd in Best Value Schools, 4th in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and 29th in Most Innovative Schools. 

Amherst College has an acceptance rate of 11% and a 93% graduation rate. Students should have an average SAT score between 1410 and 1550 or an ACT score of 32 to 33. Students need to maintain an average GPA of 4.05.

Amherst College tuition costs $58,640 annually. Students can get different types of financial aid, including student loans. Graduates have an average starting salary of $62,000 every year. 

Amherst is a purely undergraduate college, and here are some majors:

  • American Studies 
  • Biology 
  • Computer Science 
  • Environmental Studies 
  • Geology 
  • Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought 
  • Music 
  • Philosophy 
  • Political Science 
  • Religion 
  • Sexuality, Women’s & Gender Studies 
  • Theatre & Dance 

Wellesley College

Wellesley College Wellesley MA
Wellesley College – Wellesley, MA

Wellesley College is a private non-profit women’s liberal arts college that was established in 1870. It has 150+ organizations to indulge students in sports and other activities to inspiring them healthy and active. With a mission to educate women who will make a difference globally, Wellesley focuses on empowering them for social change. Wellesley fosters innovation, intellectual discovery, and excellence in its students through the help of a detailed curriculum and modern teaching methods. 

It is among the top colleges in Massachusetts, and for a good reason. Wellesley ranks 4th in National Liberal Arts Colleges and 13th in Best Value Schools. It is one of the top universities in the Boston ranking. It is also the 11th in Best Undergraduate Teaching and 20th in Writing in the Disciplines. 

Wellesley requires SAT score of 1425 or an average ACT score of 32. Additionally, students ought to have an average GPA of 3.97. 

Wellesley College has a 22% acceptance rate and a 91% graduation rate. Students are supposed to pay $58,120 for tuition. However, Wellesley offers financial aid to 60% of its students. The average financial package is worth $52,000, and it can be in the form of loans, scholarships, work-study, and grants. Graduates have an average salary of $80,000. 70% of Wellesley students go on internships. 

Some majors available at Wellesley include:

  • Architecture 
  • Astrophysics 
  • Biochemistry 
  • Cinema & Media Studies 
  • Comparative Literary Studies 
  • East Asian Studies 
  • French Cultural Studies 
  • Jewish Studies 
  • Media Arts and Sciences 
  • Peace and Justice Studies 
  • Theatre Studies 

Tufts University

Tufts University Medford MA
Tufts University – Medford, MA

Tufts University is a research institution established in 1852 and is one of the best colleges in MA. Its mission is to provide an inclusive and diverse setting that promotes innovation amid a crisis and stands out as well-groomed world citizens. Students can participate in research and volunteer as ESL tutors or any other way that will be beneficial. 

The cost of tuition depends on the program a student studies. However, the average cost of tuition for one year at Tufts University is $58,578 annually. 

Tufts ranks 30th in National Universities and 58th in most innovative schools. It ranks 36th in Best Undergraduate Teaching and 58th in Most Innovative Schools. 

Tufts has a 15% acceptance rate and a 92% graduation rate. Enrolled students have an average SAT score composite of 1465 or an ACT of 33. Additionally, students have to maintain a 4.03 GPA. Eligible students can benefit from financial aid. Graduates receive an average annual salary of $75,800 every year. 

Here are some majors:

  • Applied Physics 
  • Biotechnology 
  • Child Study & Human Development 
  • Data Science 
  • Economics 
  • Film & Media Studies 
  • Greek & Latin 
  • History of Art & Architecture 
  • International Relations 
  • Music, Sound & Culture 
  • Political Science 
  • Quantitative Economics 
  • Science, Technology & Society  

Babson College

Babson Tomasso rt 1200x630 1 1
Babson College – Wellesley, MA

Babson College is a non-profit institution established in 1919 and currently has 3350+ undergraduate and post-graduate students. Babson College has top-class professors and researchers in various fields and has carried out countless projects to improve themselves and impart knowledge to the students. Students get to study on a campus that accepts diversity and social inclusion to foster positive societal change. 

U.S. News & World Report ranks Babson College 1st in Entrepreneurship (MBA) and 1st in Entrepreneurship (Undergraduate School). In 2018, Money Magazine ranked 2nd for a Transformative Experience (Undergraduate School). In 2021, Financial Times ranks 3rd for Career Progress (MBA).

Babson College has a 26% acceptance rate and a 91% graduation rate. Enrolled students have SAT scores between 1340 to 1490 or composite ACT scores of 30 or above. The average GPA of freshmen was 3.6 on a scale of 4.0. 

Undergraduate tuition costs $54,944 for the 2021/2022 academic year. Babson University awards $48 million as financial aid, and the university meets 100% of freshmen’s demonstrated needs. Graduates have an average starting salary of $62,399 in 2020.

Here are some majors:

  • Accounting and Law
  • Arts and Humanities 
  • Economics 
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance 
  • History and Society 
  • Management 
  • Marketing 
  • Math and Science 
  • Operations and Information Management 

College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross Worcester MA
College of the Holy Cross – Worcester, MA

College of the Holy Cross is a private liberal arts college established in 1843 by the Jesuits. It has 88 student organizations and 22 club sports that its 2997 can participate in. Students form strong bonds and deep friendships that open doors for opportunities even after graduation. 

In 2021, the College of the Holy Cross ranks A+ on Forbes’ list of College Financial Grades. It ranks among the best colleges in Massachusetts and 36th in National Liberal Arts Colleges. It ranks 99th in Best Value Schools and 24th in Service Learning. 

The SAT scores of enrolled students range between 1290 to 1430 or an average ACT composite score between 29 and 32. College of the Holy Cross has a 38% acceptance rate and a 93% graduation rate. 

College of the Holy Cross meets 100% of financial needs. The cost of tuition is $55,800 and mandatory fees of $740 annually for all students irrespective of their domestic residence. The average grant award is $37,100; 62% of students receive student aid, and 60% receive grant awards.

Here is a list of some majors:

  • Accounting 
  • Biology 
  • Computer Science 
  • Economics 
  • French and Francophone Studies 
  • German Studies 
  • International Studies 
  • Mathematics 
  • Political Science 
  • Russian Studies n
  • Studies in World Literatures
  • Theatre  

Boston College

Boston College Chestnut Hill MA
Boston College – Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College (BC) is a Jesuit Catholic liberal arts college that was established in 1863. As an actual Jesuit school, it focuses on providing excellent academic and moral education while instilling values such as empathy and compassion into every student. Boston College is staying true to its motto, “Ever to Excel,” by being on the list of the top colleges in Boston, MA. BC encourages all forms of creativity and hosts an Arts Festival to showcase talents annually. 

Boston College ranks 42nd in National Universities, 42nd in Most Innovative Schools, and 47th in Best Value Schools in the US. It is 53rd in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs and among the nation’s top performers in social mobility. 

Boston College has a 27% acceptance rate and a 93% graduation rate. Boston College is currently test-optional for U.S. residents. However, international students must submit an English proficiency test. 

Undergraduate tuition costs $59,050 annually. In the 2019/2020 academic year, BC offered an average need-based scholarship or granted worth $44,337. BC also awarded a total amount of scholarship/grant aid worth $157 million within the same academic year. Graduates have an average starting salary of $65,0000 annually. 

These are some of the majors from which students can choose:

  • Accounting and Information Systems 
  • Biochemistry 
  • Classical studies 
  • Elementary Education 
  • Finance  
  • Geoscience 
  • History 
  • Mathematics/Computer Science 
  • Music
  • Nursing 
  • Operations Management 
  • Perspectives on Spanish America 
  • Studio Art
  • Theology 
  • Transformative Educational Studies 

Smith College

Smith College Northampton MA
Smith College – Northampton, MA

Smith College was chartered in 1871 and established in 1875. It is a private liberal arts college and a top member of the Seven Sisters colleges. Smith college is a women-only school that empowers women through access to an outstanding education tailored to meet each student’s needs. Smith College provides endless options to learn, network, and have fun through access to multiple organizations/clubs to build their leadership and team skills. 

Smith College ranks 8th in Best Value Schools, 15th in National Liberal Arts Colleges, and 19th in Best Undergraduate Teaching. 

Smith College has a 32% acceptance rate and an 89% graduation rate. Smith College is currently test-optional for national and international students because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, international students whose primary language is not English and who did not attend an English school have to submit an English proficiency test such as IELTS or TOEFL.

Tuition costs $55,830 annually, and there is no difference between in-state students and out-of-state student tuition. Smith College offers need-based financial after carefully assessing a student’s financial situation. 

Some majors students can study are:

  • Art: Architecture & Urbanism 
  • Biological Sciences 
  • Classical Studies 
  • Engineering Science 
  • Government 
  • History 
  • Latin American Studies 
  • Medieval Studies 
  • Neuroscience 
  • Physics 
  • Quantitative Economics 
  • Statistical & Data Sciences 
  • Women & Gender Studies 

Why Study in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has historical schools such as the first women’s college and the oldest college in the US, Harvard University. It is home to some of the best research institutions in the US, with excellent facilities, good professors, and a rigorous curriculum. Massachusetts has beautiful scenery, welcoming people, and the colleges are affordable. 


Schooling in any of these top 10 colleges in Massachusetts is a great short-term and long-term decision. They have close-knit alumni who work to see the college’s progress, help students be more comfortable, and scout opportunities for graduates. You will learn valuable skills, meet other students from different backgrounds and build valuable networks that will come in handy in the future. What more could you ask for?


Helen Vlasova
Helen is the co-founder of, a career guidance website for students and young professionals. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.

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