Top Liberal Arts Colleges Where Accepted Students Usually Enroll

A military school again comes out on top with the highest yield.

At Louisiana State University—Alexandria, more than half of accepted students enrolled in fall of 2012.

At Louisiana State University—Alexandria, more than half of accepted students enrolled in fall of 2012.

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College is still seen by many as the gateway to living the American dream, but prospective students sometimes don't choose to go or are unable to attend. There was an overall 1.8 percent decrease in enrollment in fall of 2012 among four-year public, private nonprofit and for-profit schools, as well as two-year public institutions, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Despite the overall drop, many schools have seen an increase in the percentage of accepted students that choose to enroll.

[Explore resources on how to find the right school.]

The United States Naval Academy is one of them. In fall of 2011 it enrolled 86.2 percent of accepted students; fewer students were accepted in fall of 2012, but of the 1,396 accepted, 86.7 percent enrolled. The military school has the highest yield rate for fall 2012 – just as it did in fall of 2011.

It is one of 223 ranked National Liberal Arts Colleges that submitted yield rate data to U.S. News in a spring 2013 survey. National Liberal Arts Colleges, of which 240 are numerically ranked, award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields.

Berea College, which came in fifth, has also seen an increase. In fall of 2012 it accepted 539 students and enrolled 391 of those students, giving it a yield of 72.5 percent. It had a yield of 71.3 percent in fall of 2011.

Other liberal arts colleges with a high yield include Soka University of America in California, which came in eighth with a yield of 65.2 percent, and Grove City College. The Pennsylvania school had a yield of 53.7 percent, giving it 11th place.

[Learn which accepted students usually enroll at National Universities.]

Only 12 of the 223 liberal arts colleges that submitted yield rate data to U.S. News had a yield higher than 50 percent. Those schools on average accepted 755 students and enrolled 542 students. Of all National Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges, the school with the lowest yield was Allen University in South Carolina. The liberal arts school had a yield of 6.6 percent in fall of 2012.

Below are the fall 2012 yield rates for every National Liberal Arts College that reported the statistic to U.S. News. The rate can be affected by a school's early decision or early action options, as some of those programs bind students to attending if accepted.

School Students accepted Fall 2012 enrollment Yield
United States Naval Academy 1,396 1,211 86.7%
United States Military Academy 1,358 1,164 85.7%
United States Air Force Academy 1,214 1,023 84.3%
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma 230 187 81.3%
Berea College 539 391 72.5%
Principia College 169 115 68%
University of Wisconsin—Parkside 1,075 712 66.2%
Soka University of America 158 103 65.2%
Thomas Aquinas College 133 84 63.2%
Louisiana State University—Alexandria 609 371 60.9%
Grove City College 1,247 670 53.7%
Virginia Military Institute 926 476 51.4%
Barnard College 1,228 599 48.8%
Pine Manor College 228 106 46.5%
Bowdoin College 1,060 492 46.4%
Goshen College 365 168 46%
Williams College 1,203 547 45.5%
Wisconsin Lutheran College 535 243 45.4%
Clearwater Christian College 255 115 45.1%
Wheaton College 1,346 598 44.4%
University of Virginia—Wise 805 356 44.2%
Simpson University 335 147 43.9%
Colorado Mesa University 4,812 2,094 43.5%
Wellesley College 1,349 586 43.4%
Claremont McKenna College 688 291 42.3%
Amherst College 1,110 463 41.7%
Davidson College 1,184 490 41.4%
Pomona College 966 399 41.3%
Washington and Lee University 1,163 479 41.2%
Bucknell University 2,238 918 41%
Hillsdale College 989 403 40.7%
Fort Lewis College 2,111 857 40.6%
Bethany College 655 265 40.5%
Swarthmore College 935 378 40.4%
Colorado College 1,289 514 39.9%
Bethany Lutheran College 344 137 39.8%
Calvin College 2,481 977 39.4%
Middlebury College 1,518 598 39.4%
San Diego Christian College 254 100 39.4%
Haverford College 830 323 38.9%
Bates College 1,304 503 38.6%
Houghton College 609 234 38.4%
Pitzer College 663 251 37.9%
University of Maine—Machias 365 138 37.8%
St. John's University 1,193 449 37.6%
University of Hawaii—Hilo 1,233 453 36.7%
Vassar College 1,806 660 36.5%
St. Olaf College 2,377 864 36.3%
Wesleyan University 2,102 752 35.8%
Carleton College 1,496 528 35.3%
Smith College 1,842 651 35.3%
Concordia College—Moorhead 1,825 633 34.7%
Wesleyan College 351 121 34.5%
Salem College 506 173 34.2%
Gettysburg College 2,264 769 34%
Oberlin College 2,248 764 34%
Presbyterian College 831 282 33.9%
Hamilton College 1,389 469 33.8%
Bryn Mawr College 1,086 365 33.6%
Eastern Mennonite University 645 217 33.6%
Simpson College 1,231 411 33.4%
Morehouse College 1,711 570 33.3%
St. Mary's College 1,256 417 33.2%
Colgate University 2,289 756 33%
College of St. Benedict 1,487 490 33%
St. Lawrence University 1,962 644 32.8%
Shawnee State University 3,568 1,167 32.7%
Colby College 1,518 493 32.5%
College of Idaho 901 292 32.4%
College of the Holy Cross 2,424 763 31.5%
St. Norbert College 1,910 601 31.5%
Kenyon College 1,421 446 31.4%
Warren Wilson College 685 214 31.2%
Western State Colorado University 1,448 450 31.1%
Mount Holyoke College 1,631 506 31%
Harvey Mudd College 642 198 30.8%
William Peace University 755 232 30.7%
Scripps College 769 235 30.6%
Grinnell College 1,458 444 30.5%
St. Vincent College 1,116 340 30.5%
Hope College 2,970 903 30.4%
Franklin and Marshall College 2,034 599 29.4%
St. Mary's College of Maryland 1,430 419 29.3%
University of Minnesota—Morris 1,410 413 29.3%
Northland College 627 183 29.2%
Pacific Union College 995 291 29.2%
Sweet Briar College 605 176 29.1%
Connecticut College 1,734 503 29%
Virginia Intermont College 283 82 29%
Gordon College 1,615 466 28.9%
Holy Cross College 401 116 28.9%
Monmouth College 1,187 343 28.9%
Ouachita Baptist University 1,259 363 28.8%
Wartburg College 1,682 484 28.8%
University of North Carolina—Asheville 1,926 553 28.7%
Eastern Nazarene College 632 180 28.5%
Wabash College 892 252 28.3%
Bard College 1,902 537 28.2%
Emory and Henry College 878 244 27.8%
New College of Florida 803 223 27.8%
Union College 2,127 591 27.8%
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 1,135 313 27.6%
Whitman College 1,388 382 27.5%
Lafayette College 2,297 629 27.4%
Earlham College 1,055 288 27.3%
Birmingham-Southern College 1,202 327 27.2%
Skidmore College 2,389 647 27.1%
College of the Atlantic 267 72 27%
Hendrix College 1,374 369 26.9%
Berry College 2,304 618 26.8%
Denison University 2,355 629 26.7%
Alma College 1,604 427 26.6%
Ave Maria University 986 262 26.6%
Bryn Athyn College of the New Church 207 55 26.6%
Centenary College of Louisiana 598 158 26.4%
Rust College 1,050 276 26.3%
Xavier University of Louisiana 2,532 661 26.1%
Lycoming College 1,233 321 26%
Luther College 2,495 645 25.9%
Bay Path College 600 155 25.8%
Brevard College 855 220 25.7%
Dickinson College 2,340 602 25.7%
Westminster College 1,021 260 25.5%
Doane College 1,325 337 25.4%
Bennington College 779 197 25.3%
Green Mountain College 680 172 25.3%
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 2,370 600 25.3%
Muhlenberg College 2,296 581 25.3%
Ripon College 811 205 25.3%
Lyon College 635 160 25.2%
University of Richmond 3,101 781 25.2%
Illinois Wesleyan University 1,963 490 25%
Juniata College 1,605 402 25%
Transylvania University 1,332 333 25%
Rhodes College 2,258 554 24.5%
Kentucky State University 1,936 471 24.3%
Randolph College 742 180 24.3%
Susquehanna University 2,612 631 24.2%
Agnes Scott College 963 232 24.1%
Macalester College 2,214 534 24.1%
Hollins University 537 128 23.8%
Westmont College 1,416 337 23.8%
Moravian College 1,597 378 23.7%
Castleton State College 2,084 487 23.4%
Hampden-Sydney College 1,463 342 23.4%
Purchase College—SUNY 2,971 694 23.4%
Linfield College 1,936 443 22.9%
Sewanee—University of the South 1,980 453 22.9%
Trinity College 2,605 591 22.7%
Maryville College 1,388 313 22.6%
Spelman College 2,312 523 22.6%
Augustana College 2,912 656 22.5%
Bloomfield College 1,702 382 22.4%
Knox College 1,713 377 22%
Gustavus Adolphus College 3,096 678 21.9%
Occidental College 2,415 530 21.9%
Wofford College 2,005 439 21.9%
Coe College 1,674 364 21.7%
Albion College 1,673 360 21.5%
Burlington College 173 37 21.4%
Nebraska Wesleyan University 1,664 356 21.4%
Kalamazoo College 1,583 335 21.2%
Southwestern University 1,692 357 21.1%
Beloit College 1,479 311 21%
Cornell College 1,436 302 21%
Lake Forest College 1,981 416 21%
Illinois College 1,370 285 20.8%
Lawrence University 1,980 412 20.8%
SUNY College—Old Westbury 2,005 418 20.8%
Hiram College 1,473 302 20.5%
Johnson C. Smith University 1,928 386 20%
Centre College 1,768 351 19.9%
Tougaloo College 1,220 243 19.9%
West Virginia State University 1,365 271 19.9%
Central College 1,616 320 19.8%
Hampshire College 1,819 361 19.8%
University of Pikeville 1,858 368 19.8%
Allegheny College 3,034 587 19.3%
Eckerd College 2,776 532 19.2%
Ohio Wesleyan University 2,823 541 19.2%
Claflin University 2,310 442 19.1%
DePauw University 3,023 578 19.1%
McDaniel College 2,283 437 19.1%
College of Wooster 3,024 575 19%
Ursinus College 2,455 456 18.6%
Roanoke College 2,957 543 18.4%
Lane College 1,780 326 18.3%
Randolph-Macon College 2,242 411 18.3%
Wheaton College 2,603 466 17.9%
Austin College 1,774 308 17.4%
St. Anselm College 3,056 527 17.2%
Millsaps College 1,235 211 17.1%
University of Puget Sound 3,696 631 17.1%
Marymount Manhattan College 2,995 504 16.8%
Bridgewater College 3,303 552 16.7%
William Jewell College 1,831 305 16.7%
Georgetown College 1,426 237 16.6%
Stonehill College 4,890 814 16.6%
Stillman College 1,829 299 16.3%
Hanover College 2,322 372 16%
Whittier College 2,622 418 15.9%
Goucher College 2,593 410 15.8%
Guilford College 2,040 322 15.8%
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology 866 134 15.5%
St. Michael's College 3,570 547 15.3%
Furman University 4,676 697 14.9%
Bennett College 1,453 215 14.8%
Westminster College 2,216 322 14.5%
Albright College 2,838 410 14.4%
Washington and Jefferson College 2,651 376 14.2%
Carthage College 5,100 718 14.1%
Dillard University 2,505 351 14%
Oglethorpe University 2,036 277 13.6%
Washington College 2,976 401 13.5%
Lewis & Clark College 4,154 555 13.4%
Siena College 5,502 734 13.3%
Virginia Wesleyan College 3,329 435 13.1%
Drew University 3,294 363 11%
Wittenberg University 4,455 489 11%
Willamette University 5,370 525 9.8%
Hartwick College 4,908 447 9.1%
King's College 2,861 237 8.3%
Allen University 1,875 123 6.6%

The yield data above are correct as of Jan. 30, 2014. For additional admissions data, complete rankings and much more, access the U.S. News College Compass.