Some of our favorite things to talk about at our weekly college counselor meetings are colleges and the unique programs that make each school a good match for certain students. As I often tell families, there are so many amazing options out there, which makes the old adage true that there is a college out there for everyone!

Take a look below for some “hidden gems” that our counselors recommend!

Furman University, Greenville, SC

2,600 students, 65% acceptance, 3.62 average GPA, 30-33 middle ACT

What makes it special:  Greenville is a cool town and the fastest-growing city East of the Mississippi, and Furman has Division 1 athletics and a strong sense of community. One special academic program is Furman’s Institute for Sustainable Communities, which provides very interesting programs for students interested in environmental studies. 

Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, GA

1,400 students, 66% acceptance rate, 3.7 average GPA, 22-29 middle ACT

What makes it special:  Oglethorpe is an urban liberal arts college with an extremely diverse student population in a beautiful part of Atlanta. Nearly all admitted students receive financial aid, and Oglethorpe will match in-state tuition for flagship universities in all 50 states.

Emmanuel College, Boston, MA

1,800 students, 75% acceptance rate, 3.8 average GPA, 23-29 middle ACT 

What makes it special:  Part of the Colleges of the Fenway consortium in Boston, Emmanuel has a fantastic location in a vibrant city, and the consortium makes it feel like a larger university. Emmanuel has particularly strong pre-med advising and has a partnership program with Merck Labs for students interested in pharmaceutical research. 

Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

5,000 students, 54% acceptance rate, 3.78 average GPA, 28-33 middle ACT

What makes it special:  For students who are interested in engineering, Colorado School of Mines can be a fantastic alternative to engineering colleges at Big 10 universities because it provides more individualized attention. For female applicants, who are under-represented at CO School of Mines, there are abundant scholarship opportunities available.

Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

4,700 students, 72% acceptance rate, 3.67 average GPA, 25-30 middle ACT

What makes it special:  Most people know of Gonzaga because of their terrific D1 basketball program, but it is located in the Cascades and offers a lot of school spirit, merit scholarships for students with good grades, and an emphasis on social justice. 

Davidson College, Davidson, NC

1,800 students, 19% acceptance rate, 3.8 average GPA, 30-33 middle ACT

What makes it special:  Counselors think of Davidson as the “Bates of the South.” Similar to Bates College in Maine, which requires an honors research thesis from every student, Davidson is a very academically-oriented small college in a beautiful town. Davidson has Division 1 athletics, and nearly ⅓ of its students are athletes.