Liberal Arts Colleges in the West

How many liberal arts colleges are in the U.S.? This statistic can vary, depending on several factors, but generally, there are about 200 liberal arts colleges in the United States. 

Liberal arts colleges emphasize the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences within their undergraduate curriculum. Students who attend liberal arts colleges gain exposure to a wide range of academic disciplines. In fact, oftentimes about half of their classes fall outside of their major. 

The majority of liberal arts colleges in the United States are found on the East coast. That said, this article is dedicated to exploring some of the best liberal arts colleges on the West Coast — as well as top liberal arts colleges in the Midwest, top liberal arts colleges in the Pacific Northwest, and more. 

Liberal arts colleges on the West Coast, especially small liberal arts colleges on the West Coast, can be very selective. Ultimately, this is why it is important to understand holistic college admissions factors, including extracurricular activities and volunteer hours

Best liberal arts colleges in the west

In this section, we will review some of the best liberal arts colleges in the West. For each of the West Coast liberal arts colleges, we will provide the college’s: 

  • Location
  • Undergraduate student population
  • Acceptance rate
  • Annual tuition and fees
  • U.S. News College Ranking

The following section features 30 of the best west coast liberal arts colleges, broken down by state and alphabetized. So if you are interested in learning more about liberal arts colleges in the West, read on for key facts and figures.

Best liberal arts colleges (West Coast)

Schedule a free consultation

Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your college counseling or career coaching needs.

Arizona

Prescott College

Prescott College is located in Prescott, Arizona, and has an undergraduate population of 503. Its overall acceptance rate is 97% and its annual tuition and fees are $33,669. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Prescott College is ranked #94 among the Best Regional Universities in the West. 

California

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College is located in Claremont, California, and has an undergraduate population of 1,262. Its overall acceptance rate is 13% and its annual tuition and fees are $58,111. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Claremont McKenna College is ranked as #8 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country.

Concordia University

Concordia University (Irvine) is located in Irvine, California, and has an undergraduate population of 1,704. Its overall acceptance rate is 78% and its annual tuition and fees are $38,740. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Concordia University is tied for #55 among the Best Regional Universities in the West. 

Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University is located in Fresno, California, and has an undergraduate population of 2,906. Its overall acceptance rate is 65% and its annual tuition and fees are $32,977. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Fresno Pacific University is tied for #55 among the Best Regional Universities in the West. 

Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College is located in Claremont, California, and has an undergraduate population of 854. Its overall acceptance rate is 18% and its annual tuition and fees are $60,703. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Harvey Mudd College is ranked #28 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University is located in Los Angeles, California, and has an undergraduate population of 6,673. Its overall acceptance rate is 50% and its annual tuition and fees are $53,051. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Loyola Marymount University is tied for #75 for Best National Universities in the country. 

Mills College

Mills College is located in Oakland, California, and has an undergraduate population of 609. Its overall acceptance rate is 84% and its annual tuition and fees are $30,950. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Mills College is tied for #10 among the Best Regional Universities in the West. 

Mount St. Mary’s University

Mount St. Mary’s University is located in Los Angeles, California, and has an undergraduate population of 2,071. Its overall acceptance rate is 80% and its annual tuition and fees are $44,750. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Mount St. Mary’s University is tied for #44 among the Best Regional Universities in the North. 

Occidental College

Occidental College is located in Los Angeles, California, and has an undergraduate population of 1,839. Its overall acceptance rate is 41% and its annual tuition and fees are $58,426. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Occidental College is tied at #42 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Pitzer College

Pitzer College is located in Claremont, California, and has an undergraduate population of 922. Its overall acceptance rate is 17% and its annual tuition and fees are $57,978. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Pitzer College is tied for #35 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University is located in San Diego, California, and has an undergraduate population of 3,216. Its overall acceptance rate is 84% and its annual tuition and fees are $39,500. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Point Loma Nazarene University is tied for #12 for Best Regional Universities in the West. 

Pomona College

Pomona College is located in Claremont, California, and has an undergraduate population of 1,477. Its overall acceptance rate is 9% and its annual tuition and fees are $56,686. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Pomona College is ranked as #4 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Scripps College

Scripps College is located in Claremont, California, and has an undergraduate population of 936. Its overall acceptance rate is 35% and its annual tuition and fees are $58,442. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Scripps College is tied for #30 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Soka University of America

Soka University of America is located in Aliso Viejo, California, and has an undergraduate population of 392. Its overall acceptance rate is 52% and its annual tuition and fees are 34,166. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Soka University of America is ranked as #29 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Thomas Aquinas College

Thomas Aquinas College is located in Santa Paula, California, and has an undergraduate population of 462. Its overall acceptance rate is 86% and its annual tuition and fees are $26,000. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Thomas Aquinas College is tied for #42 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

University of San Diego

University of San Diego is located in San Diego, California, and has an undergraduate population of 5,529. Its overall acceptance rate is 59% and its annual tuition and fees are $52,864. According to the U.S. News College ranking, University of San Diego is tied for #93 for Best National Universities in the country. 

Colorado

Colorado College

Colorado College is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has an undergraduate population of 2,025. Its overall acceptance rate is 14% and its annual tuition and fees are $62,070. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Colorado College is ranked #26 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

United States Air Force Academy

United States Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has an undergraduate population of 4,307. Its overall acceptance rate is 13%. There is no cost to attend; however, students are required to serve in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force for a period of time. According to the U.S. News College ranking, the United States Air Force Academy is tied #22 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

New Mexico

St. John’s College

St. John’s College is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has an undergraduate population of 269. Its overall acceptance rate is 69% and its annual tuition and fees are $36,410. According to the U.S. News College ranking, St. John’s College is tied for #75 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Oregon

George Fox University

George Fox University is located in Newberg, Oregon, and has an undergraduate population of 2,481. Its overall acceptance rate is 91% and its annual tuition and fees are $38,520. According to the U.S. News College ranking, George Fox University is tied for #213 for Best National Universities in the country. 

Lewis & Clark College

Lewis & Clark College is located in Portland, Oregon, and has an undergraduate population of 1,830. Its overall acceptance rate is 81% and its annual tuition and fees are $57,404. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Lewis & Clark College is tied for #82 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Linfield College

Linfield College is located in McMinnville, Oregon, and has an undergraduate population of 1,392. Its overall acceptance rate is 80% and its annual tuition and fees are $45,962. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Linfield College is tied for #117 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Reed College

Reed College is located in Portland, Oregon, and has an undergraduate population of 1,457. Its overall acceptance rate is 39% and its annual tuition and fees are $60,620. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Reed College is tied for #62 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Warner Pacific University

Warner Pacific University is located in Portland, Oregon, and has an undergraduate population of 401. Its overall acceptance rate is 97% and its annual tuition and fees are $19,860. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Warner Pacific University is ranked as #9 for Best Regional Universities in the West.

Willamette University

Willamette University is located in Salem, Oregon, and has an undergraduate population of 1,303. Its overall acceptance rate is 80% and its annual tuition and fees are $44,306. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Willamette University is tied for #71 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Washington

The Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College is located in Olympia, Washington, and has an undergraduate population of 2,576. Its overall acceptance rate is 98%; its annual in-state tuition and fees are $8,325 and its annual out-of-state tuition and fees are $28,515. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Evergreen State College is ranked as #50 for Best Regional Universities in the West. 

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University is located in Spokane, Washington, and has an undergraduate population of 4,852. Its overall acceptance rate is 73% and its annual tuition and fees are $48,470. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Gonzaga University is tied for #79 for Best National Universities in the country. 

University of Puget Sound

University of Puget Sound is located in Tacoma, Washington, and has an undergraduate population of 4,852. Its overall acceptance rate is 86% and its annual tuition and fees are $55,670. According to the U.S. News College ranking, University of Puget Sound is tied for #85 for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country. 

Whitman College

Whitman College is located in Walla Walla, Washington, and has an undergraduate population of 1,360. Its overall acceptance rate is 54% and its annual tuition and fees are $55,982. Whitman College is not ranked by U.S. News. 

Whitworth University

Whitworth University is located in Spokane, Washington, and has an undergraduate population of 2,368. Its overall acceptance rate is 91% and its annual tuition and fees are $47,590. According to the U.S. News College ranking, Whitworth University is ranked as #4 for Best Regional Universities in the West.

Key takeaways

There are lots of benefits to attending a liberal arts college. In fact, you might want to consider liberal arts colleges in the East as well. Liberal arts colleges offer students a well-rounded education while fostering creative and critical thinking skills. 

They also have small class sizes, which lend themselves to discussion-based classes. Students often receive a lot of individualized attention from their professors, who are known for prioritizing their teaching duties above their own research projects, thus setting them apart from professors at larger, research universities.  

College application season can be a stressful time for students. If you feel like you could benefit from more guidance, you may want to consider hiring a college counselor. Here at Prepory, we have all the resources you’ll need to succeed; reach out to learn more about our services.

Contact a Prepory college admissions coach and start your college admissions journey.

Our college admissions experts are here to guide you from where you are to where you should be. Through our comprehensive curriculum, individualized coaching, and online workshops, you are set for success as soon as you connect with us.

During our initial consultation, we will: 

  • Assess your student’s applicant profile and higher education goals 
  • Provide detailed information about our services and programming
  • Share tips on how to navigate the U.S. college admissions process 

Let's get started!


Subscribe to our blog!