Written by Brenda Rufener for Best Degree Programs
The main reasons to attend a small college are:
- Smaller class sizes
- More one-on-one interaction with professors
- Less competition for financial aid
- Stronger sense of community
- Greater curriculum flexibility
There are many benefits of attending a small college for students considering where they want to go to school. Small colleges often offer a more personalized, flexible college experience where students can get more one-on-one attention. Here are just a few of the advantages of going to a smaller college affords.
1. Smaller Class Sizes
One of the first advantages of attending a smaller college is the smaller class sizes. This facilitates greater participation in class. It often allows students to get more out of their classes than they can get taking notes in a massive lecture hall. Classroom and small group discussion can help students:
- better grasp concepts
- meet new friends
- develop critical thinking skills
These don’t tend to happen in the lecture halls of larger universities.
2. More One-On-One Interaction with Professors
At larger colleges, students often don’t get much, if any, personal interaction with their professors. In some cases, their classes aren’t even taught by professors but by graduate students. This is not the case at small schools. Professors are usually available during office hours to spend plenty of one-on-one time with students. Many students get to know their professors personally, which is highly advantageous when asking for letters of reference later. The same is true for administrators and other staff at the school, making this one of the best benefits of attending a small college.
3. Less Competition for Financial Aid
Fewer students mean less competition for financial aid. This means students attending smaller schools are often able to get more financial aid. At larger schools there is more competition for the amount of financial aid money that is available. Small schools are not always more expensive than larger schools, making them a good investment if financial aid is there. Students will also have a greater chance of getting into work-study programs. With a limited number of jobs on campus, students are more likely to get one at a smaller school where there is less competition for campus jobs.
4. Stronger Sense Of Community
On a smaller campus, there is often a stronger sense of community. This is a natural side effect of a smaller student body. Student are more likely to know most of their graduating class. This makes it easier for students to make friends, not only within their department but in other programs as well. Many students prefer to be a part of this close-knit community rather than just one of a very large graduating class at a larger school. These close communities can also make students feel less homesick or alone.
5. Greater Curriculum Flexibility
Small colleges often offer their students greater flexibility when it comes to designing and developing their curriculum. This is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report. Students can usually follow various procedures and work with the relevant departments to form their own majors or self-study programs. This is not always possible at larger schools. A small school often has fewer courses of study to choose from. However, tailoring your own program has many advantages.
There are both pros and cons of going to a small college. All students will need to decide for themselves which kind of campus environment they believe they will best thrive in. However, the numerous benefits of attending a small college make this choice the right one for many.