Top Colleges for B/B+ Students: Ranking and Admissions Information
Wondering which colleges would make for smart and realistic additions to your college list as a B+ student? Being an above-average high schooler, there are many to choose from!
In this post, I will name some private institutions of higher education where you are likely to get in. I will also talk about them briefly so that you may get to know each better.
And later in this post, I will mention 1 to 2 public colleges and universities per state if you are about to attend college on a budget.
But before that, let’s answer this pressing question…
Can B+ Students Get Into Selective Colleges?
It’s possible for B+ students to get into selective schools. However, their overall applications must show strength and be able to compete with straight-A students whose non-academic profiles aren’t as remarkable. As above-average students, B+ students have increased admissions chances at many good colleges.
Actually, a lot depends on grades and academic rigor.
Most high schools in the US give additional weight to AP class grades when computing GPAs.
So, in other words, getting a B+ in an AP course may in fact boost your GPA — that’s equivalent to getting an A+ in a traditional high school course. Having mostly A’s, however, is important to keep a B+ from wreaking havoc on your admissions chances.
Refrain from assuming that being a straight-A student is your ticket to getting an acceptance letter from a selective college. Especially if it has a holistic admissions policy, you will need more than A’s to get it.
This is true even if Harvard University, which has an acceptance rate of 4%, is your top-choice school.
Based on Harvard’s Common Data Set (CDS), 72.91% of all admitted first-time, first-year students in the 2022 academic year had a 4.0 GPA.
Needless to say, the rest have a GPA of 3.99 and below. As a matter of fact, 1.30% of freshmen admits had GPAs ranging from 3.25 to 3.49%.
And since B+ is equivalent to 3.3, it only means that B+ students have a fighting chance of getting in. The odds may be small, but it’s not at all impossible to become a proud Harvard student.
Harvard has a holistic admissions policy. Besides the GPA, its admissions officers also consider:
- Rigor of high school curriculum
- SAT or ACT scores (optional)
- Application essay
- Recommendation letters
- Personal qualities
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
If you’re a B+ student and it’s Harvard University or bust, you can increase your admissions chances by impressing the Ivy League’s admissions officers with the rest of the components of your college application.
But seriously, Harvard is not the only good school you can apply to.
20 Best Private Colleges for B+ Students
Agnes Scott College
- Location: Decatur, Georgia
- Acceptance rate: 70%
- Population: 1,109
- Tuition and fees: $45,786
A small private liberal arts college with a 100-acre urban campus, Agnes Scott College is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It’s also a member of the Seven Sisters of the South, which is the answer of the Southeast region of the country to the Seven Sisters Colleges located in the Northeast.
Being a test-optional school, you may or may not submit your standardized test scores.
For reference, though, the average composite SAT scores of admitted students who submitted theirs were from 1140 to 1400. Meanwhile, the average composite ACT scores of those who chose to submit them were between 26 and 31.
- Location: Beloit, Wisconsin
- Acceptance rate: 67%
- Population: 1,011
- Tuition and fees: $56,312
Ranked #81 in National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News, Beloit College is considered the oldest continuously operated college in Wisconsin — it was founded in 1846 when Wisconsin wasn’t yet a state.
It has a rolling admissions policy, and the average high school GPA of admitted students is 3.3.
Some of the most popular majors offered by the institution with a 47-acre campus include biomedical sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and English language and literature. It’s a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, which is a consortium of 14 private liberal arts colleges, mostly in the Midwestern region.
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Acceptance rate: 81%
- Population: 5,559
- Tuition and fees: $44,460
Even with a test-optional policy, around 50% of students admitted by Butler University as first-time, first-year students submitted their SAT scores. On the other hand, about 27% submitted their ACT scores.
Submitted composite SAT and ACT scores ranged from 1150 to 1340 and 25 to 31, respectively.
The private university, which was founded in 1855, has plenty of #1 rankings by US News. They include #1 in Best Colleges for Veterans, #1 in Regional Universities Midwest, #1 in Best Undergraduate Teaching and #1 in Most Innovative Schools. Niche, meanwhile, ranks it #6 in Top Private Universities in Indiana.
- Location: Greencastle, Indiana
- Acceptance rate: 65%
- Population: 1,724
- Tuition and fees: $55,410
Founded in 1837 and formerly known as Indiana Asbury University, DePauw University is a private liberal arts college. It’s a part of consortiums Great Lakes Colleges Association and the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Some of the most popular majors at the institution include biomedical sciences, communication, journalism, social sciences, computer and information sciences and visual and performing arts. Approximately 85% of all classes have fewer than 20 students. The student-to-faculty ratio, meanwhile, is 9:1.
US News ranks the institution # 45 in National Liberal Arts Colleges.
Franklin & Marshall College
- Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- Acceptance rate: 38%
- Population: 2,145
- Tuition and fees: $65,844
A private liberal arts college whose city campus is 200 acres big, Franklin & Marshall College offers 42 majors. Some of the most popular majors include social sciences and various business-related ones.
Even though its acceptance rate is lower than most other colleges suited for B+ students, applicants need not worry because the school does not have any published minimum GPA to meet. And because it has a test-optional policy, it’s totally up to the hopefuls whether or not they will submit their SAT or ACT scores.
Niche ranks it #6 in Best Small Colleges in Pennsylvania and #8 in Most Diverse Colleges in Pennsylvania.
- Location: Greenville, South Carolina
- Acceptance rate: 71%
- Population: 2,460
- Tuition and fees: $55,772
Considered the oldest private institution of higher education in South Carolina, Furman University was founded in 1826. It has an 800-acre big suburban campus that has a lake, making for a picturesque learning environment.
Its tuition cost may be higher than the national average alright, which is $44,427. However, the school says that it’s able to meet 84% of the demonstrated need of its students.
Around 46% of all its freshmen students receive financial aid, and the average need-based cash award first-time, first-year students receive is $36,430.
There are more than 70 majors, minors and degree programs attendees can choose from.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
- Location: Geneva
- Acceptance rate: 67%
- Population: 1,684
- Tuition and fees: $61,635
US News ranks Hobart and William Smith Colleges #72 in National Liberal Arts Colleges. On the other hand, it’s #10 in Best Liberal Arts Colleges in New York and #14 in Best Small Colleges in New York by Niche. The same popular college ranking site also ranks it #32 in Top Party Schools in New York.
Some of the popular majors at the private liberal arts college are social sciences and psychology.
According to its CDS for the academic year 2021 to 2022, 19.50% of all admitted first-time, first-year students had high school GPAs that ranged from 3.25 to 3.49.
On the other hand, up to 92% of students who received an acceptance letter were in the top 50% of their graduating high school class.
Illinois Wesleyan University
- Location: Bloomington, Illinois
- Acceptance rate: 45%
- Population: 1,653
- Tuition and fees: $53,814
One of the nicest things about Illinois Wesleyan University is that it has a rolling admissions policy.
So, in other words, students who are interested in attending it need not beat a hard application deadline. But because it’s a moderately selective institution, one must make sure to have an impressive application.
Ranked #3 in Regional Colleges Midwest by US News, the private liberal arts school has a suburban, 82-acre campus. Many of its students are majoring in nursing, business administration and biological sciences.
The median starting annual salary of alumni members (the graduation rate is 76%) amounts to $53,300.
- Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
- Acceptance rate: 80%
- Population: 1,241
- Tuition and fees: $56,562
In Michigan, Kalamazoo College is the oldest private college — it was established by Baptist ministers in 1833 as the Michigan and Huron Institute. Today, it offers 31 majors and 5 special programs.
Some of the most popular majors at the private liberal arts college include business, management, marketing, psychology and social sciences.
The 4-year graduation rate is 69%, and the average median starting salary of alumni members is $46,600. US News ranks it #68 in National Liberal Arts Colleges.
Up to 95% of freshmen students graduated in the top 50% of their high school class.
- Location: Galesburg, Illinois
- Acceptance rate: 71%
- Population: 1,156
- Tuition and fees: $53,259
Being a test-optional school, it’s completely up to you to decide whether or not you will submit your standardized test scores. But to increase your chances of admission, consider reporting them, especially if they’re high. The usual SAT or ACT score ranges of students accepted to Knox College are 1160 to 1385 and 24 to 31, respectively.
What’s really nice about the private liberal arts college is that it has a diverse campus.
As of this writing, around 51% of its attendees are minorities. It also tends to attract a lot of international students — they make up about 16% of the entire population of the school.
Lewis & Clark College
- Location: Portland, Oregon
- Acceptance rate: 79%
- Population: 3,513
- Tuition and fees: $57,404
US News ranks Lewis & Clark College #94 in National Liberal Arts Colleges. Niche, meanwhile, ranks it #1 in Best College Campuses in Oregon and #2 in Best College Campuses in Oregon.
Students can choose from a total of 29 majors and 32 minors.
Some of the most popular majors at the private liberal arts college, which has a 134-acre city campus, include biomedical sciences, foreign languages, psychology, social sciences and visual and performing arts.
The graduation rate is 66%.
Meanwhile, the median starting annual salary of the institution’s graduates amounts to $46,200.
- Location: Malibu, California
- Acceptance rate: 53%
- Population: 10,446
- Tuition and fees: $63,142
The 830-acre suburban campus of Pepperdine University is home to 3,708 undergraduates and 6,738 graduate students. It’s diverse, too, with up to 54% of its studentry made up of minorities. At the private research university, all first-time, first-year attendees are required to live on campus for the first 4 semesters.
Affiliated with the Churches of Christ, the institution was established in 1937.
It’s ranked #55 in National Universities by US News. On the other hand, Niche ranks it #4 in Best Christian Colleges in America, #1 in Best Christian Colleges in California and #10 in Best Colleges in Los Angeles Area.
Sewanee – The University of the South
- Location: Sewanee, Tennessee
- Acceptance rate: 60%
- Population: 1,820
- Tuition and fees: $51,146
Not only is it owned by the Episcopal Church but it’s also considered the church’s official seminary. Formally known as the University of the South and commonly referred to as Sewanee, the private liberal arts college has a test-optional admissions policy where applicants can decide whether or not to report standardized test scores.
There are 37 majors students can choose from. Some of the most popular ones include biology, economics, political science, psychology and English language and literature.
Around 54% of freshmen students receive need-based financial aid, each one getting an average of $38,188.
- Location: Saratoga Springs, New York
- Acceptance rate: 31%
- Population: 2,686
- Tuition and fees: $62,248
Athletics is quite big at Skidmore College — it has 19 varsity teams that participate in the NCAA Division III, mostly competing against schools located in New York as well as the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. As a matter of fact, around 15% of its entire student population consists of athletes.
In terms of academics, attendees can choose from 44 different majors. Some of the most popular are business, economics, English, political science, psychology and studio art.
US News ranks it #39 in National Liberal Arts Colleges. It’s #34 in Best Small Colleges in America by Niche.
- Location: Georgetown, Texas
- Acceptance rate: 51%
- Population: 1,501
- Tuition and fees: $48,450
Established in 1873, Southwestern University is considered the oldest institution of higher education in Texas.
The private liberal arts college’s CDS for the academic year 2022 to 2023 reveals that only 18.3% of freshmen admits had high school GPAs ranging from 3.25 to 3.49. But it has a holistic admissions policy, too, which is why other admissions factors considered include test scores (optional), extracurriculars and demonstrated interest.
Students attending the school can choose from 37 majors and 41 minors. Biology, business, commerce, kinesiology, psychology and speech communication are some of the most sought-after disciplines.
St. Lawrence University
- Location: St. Lawrence County, New York
- Acceptance rate: 57%
- Population: 2,279
- Tuition and fees: $62,020
Compared to the national average, tuition cost at St. Lawrence University is higher. It’s a good thing that approximately 64% of its first-time, first-year students receive need-based aid, each one getting an award averaging $45,944. The private liberal arts college adds that it meets 88% of its attendees’ demonstrated need.
The campus measures 1,100 acres and has a rural setting. It serves as home to a student body where almost a quarter consists of minorities. There are more female students than male students, too — 54% vs. 46%.
Available majors amount to 75, and the most popular include social sciences and business-related ones.
St. Olaf College
- Location: Northfield, Minnesota
- Acceptance rate: 47%
- Population: 2,988
- Tuition and fees: $54,650
As a test-optional school, only a handful of freshmen students admitted to St. Olaf College submitted their SAT and ACT scores — 15% and 37%, respectively.
The average SAT score range was 1240 to 1430. Meanwhile, the average ACT score range was 28 to 33. Self-reporting of test scores is welcomed by the school.
About 69% of admits, according to its CDS, graduated in the top 25% of their high school class.
Even though the average GPA of students admitted by the private liberal arts college is 3.72, B+ applicants may still receive an acceptance letter if the rest of their applications can impress as St. Olaf has a holistic admissions policy.
- Location: Lexington, Kentucky
- Acceptance rate: 92%
- Population: 971
- Tuition and fees: $43,670
Founded in 1780, Transylvania University is the first institution of higher education in Kentucky. It’s a very small private school — its 46-acre urban campus is home to 24 buildings and less than 1,000 attendees.
Even though the average high school GPA of admitted freshmen students is 3.7, having a strong overall application can help boost the admissions chances of B+ students, thanks to its high acceptance rate.
Applicants may or may not submit test scores. Admitted ones who submitted theirs had SAT or ACT scores of 1050 to 1360 or 23 to 30, respectively.
Business-related majors are some of the most popular among the 48 choices undergrads may choose from.
- Location: San Antonio, Texas
- Acceptance rate: 34%
- Population: 2,703
- Tuition and fees: $49,264
A private liberal arts school, Trinity University is ranked #55 in National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News.
The go-to college ranking site for many college-bound high schools also ranked its undergraduate engineering and business programs. Needless to say, some of the most popular majors at the institution are business-related ones.
It may have a small 125-acre urban campus alright, but its studentry is somewhat diverse. As a matter of fact, around 44% of its attendees are minority students.
According to the institution itself, it’s able to meet 95% of the demonstrated need of its students.
- Location: Crawfordsville, Indiana
- Acceptance rate: 62%
- Population: 840
- Tuition and fees: $47,475
Being a men’s private liberal arts school, it isn’t surprising that 100% of the population of Wabash College consists of male students. Nearly a quarter of its attendees are minorities.
Available at the school is a dual-degree engineering program and a couple of pre-professional programs in law and medicine.
Undergraduate students, meanwhile, can choose from 36 majors — economics, political science, history and rhetoric and composition are some of the most popular of them all.
Applicants may or may not submit their test scores. Those who won’t will still be eligible for merit-based aid.
Public Colleges for B+ Students
Now, let’s look at the best public institutions suitable for B+ students.
Since there are so many options, I put them in a table where in-state and out-of-state costs consist of both tuition and fees.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.