Universities Spotlight: The Little Three

As we’ve pointed out and as many other publications have as well, the Global Top Universities are littered with names like Stanford, Harvard, or MIT.  However, unbeknownst to many in Asia, there are some amazing Universities that might be considered the “Hidden Ivies.”

As one of the Best Admissions Consulting departments, we would like to share with our great parents and students information about the:

Little Three

The “Little Three” is an unofficial athletic conference of three elite liberal arts colleges in New England, United States.  They are: Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts

williams college

Williams College

First up, Williams College came out up top as the #1 Ranked American College above the likes of Stanford (#2), Harvard (#7), and MIT (#5) by Forbes in 2014. This year, it’s still close to the top at #2.  Why would a small liberal arts university in Williamstown, MA gain such an honor?

  • Its admissions rate is quite competitive: Only 16.8% of the 2015 application pool was accepted.
  • The endowment is $2.54 billion USD. Definitely not paltry and is almost a ½ billion more than the incredible engineering school CalTech.
  • How about the highest 4-year graduation rates in the U.S.?
  • Supposedly, many of its graduates win prestigious awards like the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. It probably doesn’t hurt that the college has a close relationship with Oxford.

The Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford (WEPO) was founded in 1985. Every year (except 2010–2011, when 24 students attended), 26 undergraduate students from Williams spend their junior year at Exeter as full members of the college…

  • Supposedly the rankings focused on the quality of teaching and great career prospects of graduates

amherst college

Amherst College

Amherst College had to add a “0” to its’ ranking and was 10th on Forbes list in 2014.  And this year, it rose up one notch to #9 out-doing MIT and ranking higher than the likes of the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, and Columbia.  Some reasons why it’s such a highly sought after University:

  1. Since the inception of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, Amherst College has been ranked ten times as the first overall amongst 266 liberal arts colleges in the United States, and in 2013 ranked second, behind Williams.
  2. It’s a part of the Five College Consortium allowing students to take courses at Mt. Holyoke, Smith, Hampshire, UMass – Amherst.
  3. A full page dedicated to “Why they chose Amherst College
  4. Amherst has been dubbed a “most selective” liberal arts colleges in the United States. The fall acceptance rate in 2014 was 13.8%
  5. An impressive alumni

Although a relatively small college, Amherst has many accomplished alumni, including Nobel, Crafoord Prize and Lasker Award laureates, MacArthur Fellowship and Pulitzer Prize winners, National Medal of Scienceand National Book Award recipients, and Academy, Tony, Grammy Award and Emmy Award winners; a U.S. President, the current Sovereign Prince of Monaco, two prime ministers of Greece, the fourth president ofKenya Uhuru Kenyatta, a Chief Justice of the United States, three Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives, a U.S. Poet Laureate, the legal architect of Brown v Board of Education, and the inventor of theblood bank; leaders in science, religion, politics, the Peace Corps, medicine, law, education, communications, and business; and acclaimed actors, architects, artists, astronauts, engineers, human rights activists, inventors, musicians, philanthropists, and writers.

wesleyan university

Wesleyan University

While not ranked as high as its’ peers in the Little Three, Wesleyan has been ranked by Newsweek as one of the 25 best colleges in the nation for schools with the most highly decorated students (“Brainiac Schools”—which measures the success of alumni in winning Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Gates-Cambridge, and Fulbright Scholarships–#18 overall, No. 9 among liberal arts colleges).  Regularly ranked by USNews, Wall Street Journal , Business Week, Forbes, Washington Monthly, Newsweek and all the Top publications within the Top 20 and as high as #2 in many surveys.  As a result, the admittance rate for the school was 21.9% for the class of 2019.  Other reasons why people might think it’s a great University option:

  1. Eighty percent of Wesleyan alumni attend graduate or professional school within five years of graduation
  2. According to a 2003 summary, women constituted 55.3% of Wesleyan’s undergraduates who received doctorates
  3. Wesleyan has been noted as one of the most productive baccalaureate colleges in the United States in the undergraduate origins of PhDs in all fields of study, with exceptional productivity in undergraduates pursuing doctorates in the physical sciences, geosciences, life sciences, psychology, social sciences, and humanities
  4. The website lists niche places the University in the “Best” lists: Campus, Center for the Arts, Dining, Incredible Film Studies Program and the Professors among others.
  5. Dear to the heart of the writer, the University is incredible at debate.

The Debate Society was founded in 1903 and later named in honor of Woodrow Wilson, who had been a professor at Wesleyan between 1888–1890 and who “became deeply involved in extracurricular student activities such as the [Wesleyan] debate society.” He “stimulated students to organize opportunity for debate through a House of Commons similar to the one he had started at Johns Hopkins in 1884.”  It captured first place in past years at the annual Brown, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Princeton, Tufts and Williams tournaments, among others…The Debate Society also has competed internationally, and in 1990 the Society won a national championship and ninth place in the World Student Debating Championships.