Thursday, May 23College Admissions News

The Smallest Colleges in the United States

body-schoolhouse-cc0

You might be interested in going to a small college, but just how small is “small,” exactly? In general, schools that are considered “small” have fewer than 5,000 students in total. However, quite a few schools are actually less than 1/10 that size!

In this article I’ll describe the characteristics of small colleges and then provide a list of the smallest colleges in the nation by category. That way you can decide if going to a small school really is the right decision for you.

 

List of the Smallest Colleges in the US

These are the smallest four-year, non-profit colleges in the nation sorted by type and enrollment number. This list includes schools with fewer than 500 students but more than 50 students because colleges with fewer than 50 students are extremely rare and not relevant to enough students to merit inclusion.

All enrollment data is from the National Center for Education Statistics and U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard.

 

Smallest Arts Colleges

College

Enrollment

Compass College of Film and Media

74

VanderCook College of Music

88

Curtis Institute of Music

109

American College of the Building Arts

121

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

121

American Academy of Art

145

Cleveland Institute of Music

208

Pennsylvania College of Art and Design

228

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

228

Art Academy of Cincinnati

234

Montserrat College of Art

336

Moore College of Art and Design

357

Johns Hopkins University—Peabody Conservatory of Music

375

Maine College of Art & Design

380

Pacific Northwest College of Art

384

New England Conservatory of Music

423

Cornish College of the Arts

428

New York School of Interior Design

444

Manhattan School of Music

489

Tufts University—School of the Museum of Fine Arts

494

 

Smallest Religious Colleges

For this list, I’ve focused on colleges that primarily identify as seminaries or Bible colleges. Also, I’ve excluded religious colleges that only train religious professionals because they are too specialized for most people.

 

College

Enrollment

Yeshivas Be’er Yitzchok

68

Beth Hamedrash Shaarei Yosher Institute

75

Bais HaMedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore

81

Ohr Hameir Theological Seminary

85

Yeshiva of the Telshe Alumni

88

Yeshivas Emek Hatorah

98

Yeshiva Shaarei Torah of Rockland

102

Yeshiva Derech Chaim

110

Rabbinical College Ohr Yisroel

114

Kuyper College

114

Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia

117

Bais Medrash Toras Chesed

117

Sterling College

126

Yeshiva Karlin Stolin

129

Faith International University

140

Rabbinical College of Long Island

157

Trinity Bible College and Graduate School

161

Simmons College of Kentucky

163

Hebrew Theological College

170

Women’s Institute of Torah Seminary and College

189

Sacred Heart Major Seminary

190

Appalachian Bible College

192

Yeshiva Gedolah Imrei Yosef D’spinka

201

Luther Rice College & Seminary

203

Northpoint Bible College

210

Grace School of Theology

212

Rabbinical College of America

217

South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary

226

Yeshiva Toras Chaim

230

Baptist Bible College

236

Sh’or Yoshuv Rabbinical College

241

Ner Israel Rabbinical College

261

Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary

297

God’s Bible School and College

314

Multnomah University

336

Mesivta Torah Vodaath Rabbinical Seminary

369

Talmudical Seminary Oholei Torah

393

Rabbinical College Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion

407

Yeshiva of Machzikai Hadas

411

Rabbinical Seminary of America

415

SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary

416

College of Biblical Studies-Houston

418

San Diego Christian College

438

Talmudical Seminary of Bobov

473

 

Smallest Engineering, Medical, and Other Professional Colleges

All of these college focus on STEM or other professional education paths. 

College

Enrollment

Bastyr University

75

St. John’s College of Nursing

93

Webb Institute

105

Trinity College of Nursing and Health

108

Rush University

118

Lakeview College of Nursing

152

Saint Anthony College of Nursing

189

Columbia College

234

Northwestern Health Sciences University

249

Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science

255

University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis

255

Southern California Institute of Architecture

256

St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

277

Boston Architectural College

290

Allen College

314

Capitol Technology University

322

Logan University

339

Bellin College

356

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

361

Touro University Worldwide

425

Pacific Oaks College

479

 

Smallest Liberal Arts Colleges

All the colleges on this list offer a variety of degrees and a complete liberal arts education (but note that some of these schools are religiously affiliated).

 

College

Enrollment

American Baptist College

57

Divine Word College

67

Magdalen College

67

Grace Mission University

68

Allegheny Wesleyan College

77

University of the West

77

Heritage Christian University

83

Trinity International University-Florida

83

Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

89

Cleveland University-Kansas City

91

Oak Hills Christian College

94

Webb Institute

105

Antioch College

133

Criswell College

137

Goddard College

146

Davis College

147

Johnson University Florida

149

Baptist University of the Americas

156

Manhattan Christian College

158

Great Lakes Christian College

165

Lincoln University

168

Barclay College

168

Ecclesia College

148

Martin University

180

Beulah Heights University

181

Crowley’s Ridge College

197

New Saint Andrews College

198

Trinity College of Florida

204

Bennett College

207

University of Saint Katherine

245

Paine College

251

The Baptist College of Florida

252

Welch College

261

Bethesda University

264

Bacone College

266

Bethany Global University

284

Randall University

285

Lincoln Christian University

287

The King’s University

299

Allen College

314

Naropa University

317

Principia College

318

Multnomah University

334

Trinity Baptist College

341

Wells College

341

Salem College

346

Alaska Pacific University

347

Calvary University

348

The King’s College

355

Bellin College

356

College of the Atlantic

369

Patrick Henry College

371

University of the Southwest

414

Urshan College

442

Sweet Briar College

451

Prescott College

383

Paul Quinn College

384

North American University

389

Finlandia University

400

Warner Pacific University

406

Stephens College

409

Morris College

410

Life Pacific University

419

Rosemont College

425

Beacon College

431

Soka University of America

435

San Diego Christian College

438

Southwestern Christian University

456

University of Valley Forge

473

Carolina University

477

Bethel College-North Newton

478

East-West University

487

Thomas Aquinas College

497

 

 

body-rainbow-question-mark-balloons

 

Why Are These Schools So Small? 3 Big Reasons

It might seem unorthodox for the enrollment of an entire college to be the same size as your high school class (or even smaller!). Though definitely uncommon, these schools usually have a solid rationale for keeping their student bodies so tiny. There are three major reasons these colleges are particularly small

 

Reason #1: Extremely Specialized Curriculum

Often, small colleges have a very specialized curriculum that caters to a narrow demographic of students. Many of the smallest colleges are religiously affiliated, specialized art schools, or professional schools.

The smallest liberal arts colleges usually have a curriculum that emphasizes unique modes of learning. For example, some of these schools have a “Great Books” curriculum, meaning that all students must read a collection of classic texts as part of the college’s universal academic requirements. If you’re looking for an outside-the-box college experience, then a small school could be a perfect choice for you.

 

Reason #2: Spin-Offs of Larger Universities

Some of these schools were once part of larger universities and then branched off to form their own communities. Sometimes this happens when a university system shrinks. Smaller schools that were once affiliated with the flagship university have the option to become independently-functioning entities.

This can also happen if a school no longer fits with the larger campus. They may have developed new types of classes, or perhaps they want to serve a different portion of the student population.

Regardless of the reason why, this legacy goes along with small schools’ tendency to be more specialized and attract a much smaller group of prospective students.

 

Reason #3: Dedication to Personalizing the Academic Experience

Small schools are often committed to restricting class sizes in order to give each student individualized attention. Often, students can design their own curricula and access a level of guidance and support from professors and advisors that’s unheard of at larger institutions. At small universities, students frequently collaborate with professors and are asked to give self-evaluations.

Tiny schools treat the college experience as an evolving dialogue between students, their teachers, and their communities. This enables them to focus less on grades and more on learning as an ongoing interactive process. In fact, some small schools don’t assign course grades at all!

 

body-student-girl-cc0

Small colleges tend to be unique…which means that each student will have a unique collegiate experience, too!

 

What Is the Tiny College Experience Like?

So you can get a sense of what the smallest schools are actually like, I’ve compiled a few student testimonials that provide perspective on the pros and cons of attending these colleges.

 

Thomas Aquinas College

“They create an academic bubble of seclusion, quite literally.” (Source)

“The rules are a bit extreme, and never think that someone is not watching. At a school this small, everything gets out in the open.” (Source)

“I admit that this school does wonders with the mind. Thomas Aquinas delves into critical thinking and reading beyond the text.” (Source)

 

body_thomasaquinassantapaula.jpg

Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula California (Harold Litwiler/Flickr)

The Manhattan School of Music

“The Manhattan School of Music is an amazing experience. The professors within my major are top notch experts who encourage the growth and individualism of all students.” (Source)

“The professors are world class and the environment is the most welcoming and comfortable that I experienced anywhere.” (Source)

Everyone is so committed to their craft and I am so grateful to be studying alongside such talented human beings. The Musical Theatre curriculum and staff really show me how much I love this area of study.” (Source)

 

New York School of Interior Design

“It’s a good school but small. The classes get canceled sometimes because of under-attendance. Tuition is too high!” (Source)

“NYSID offers a lot of opportunities outside of class for students, but they don’t have a better way of connecting with students outside of emails. Focusing a career in interior design, my favorite experiences have happened outside of the classroom, being involved in organizations such as the Contract Club and IIDA Representative. These experiences have proved invaluable in networking and meeting professionals in my field.” (Source)

 

As you can see from all of these school quotes, the smallest colleges are often limited in their housing and dining options and campus activities.

However, they might be the right fit for students who are interested in a specific academic field or mode of learning. One benefit you can count on is a close bond with professors and other students.

 

What’s Next?

If you’re just starting your college search, you might not be sure whether a big or small college is the best choice for you. Learn about the major differences between the two.

Another factor to consider in the college search process is location. Do you want to stay close to home or start over somewhere new? Read this article to find out if a college close to home is the right choice for you.

For more advice on how to conduct your college search, read my guide on how to choose the best college for you and my review of the top 10 college search websites.

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We’ve written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

Raise Your ACT Score by 4 Points (Free Download)

 

source: blog.prepscholar.com