The Benefits of Small Colleges

May 29, 2012

Montserrat College of Art makes the list for the top 20 smallest colleges in the U.S.

Serge Consulting, March 31, 2012:

Small colleges aren’t on most high school students’ radar. But small colleges have a lot to offer prospective students – even the very smallest colleges. Not everyone likes the idea of being a tiny fish in a gigantic pond. Attend a small college, and you have a good chance of becoming a big fish. So what if it’s a relatively tiny pond?

Small colleges mean small classes, and classes taught by tenured professors instead of assistants, graduate students, or adjuncts. You get more opportunities to participate in classroom discussions, along with better access to faculty. Faculty that, we should add, is often more dedicated to teaching than they are to research. Another benefit of the lower student to professor ratio at smaller colleges is that you are more likely to be graded fairly – and to get high-quality feedback on your work.

At many small colleges, there is more freedom built into the curriculum to create a unique concentration or major that is precisely in line with your interests. There are often fewer core classes that all students are required to take and even opportunities to collaborate directly with the faculty on high level projects related to your major. You may find it easier to access research programs as an undergrad, simply because professors who are doing research are happy for the help.

What else is great about small colleges? Many students who choose schools that fall outside of the mainstream report less bureaucracy. No huge lines on registration day, trying to talk your way into full classes, or dealing with advisors who can’t even remember your name. In fact, that may be the very best thing about attending a small college… that the administration and faculty have a chance to get to know you, and you have a chance to get to know them.