10 Smallest Colleges in the U.S.


We have been hearing a ton of feedback on the big school/small school debate, like these comments from Cappexians Emily and Audrey:


The debate could go on forever about the pros and cons of a big school versus a small school, but in the end, it’s what floats your boat! If smaller classes, guaranteed attention from professors and faculty, and a close-knit community is something you’re looking for, how about starting off your college search with the 10 smallest colleges in the United States:

1. Shimer College
Enrollment – 81
Fun fact – Shimer college, now co-ed, was originally founded as an all female college. Its classes are exclusively small seminars–how could they be that big!– in which students discuss original source material rather than read textbooks

2. Sterling College
Enrollment –
Fun fact – Sterling College is one of seven colleges part of the Work College Consortium, which means it’s an institution of higher learning where student work is an integral and mandatory part of the educational process.

3. Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
Enrollment –
Fun fact – The Lyme Academy is known for its contemporary focus on the history and tradition of representational art, centered on the study of nature and the figure. So if you want a contemporary focus on the history and tradition of representation art, centered on the study of nature and the figure…this might just be the place for you…just…maybe…

4. Bryn Athyn College
Enrollment – 155
Fun Fact – Bryn Aythn’s College’s original campus and surrounding community was designed in 1893 by Charles Eliot of the firm Olmstead, Olmstead, and Eliot – the famous firm responsible for the design of New York City’s Central Park.

5. Art Academy of Cincinnati
Enrollment –
Fun fact – Students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati work closely with faculty members who themselves are professional contemporary artists (student to faculty ratio is 10:1).

6. Burlington College
Enrollment – 166
Fun fact – Burlington College is one of the few American universities to offer study abroad programs in Havana, Cuba. So if you have an undying desire to relive your favorite movie “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” this might be the easiest way to get the clearance to go to Cuba.

7. College of Visual Arts
Enrollment –
Fun fact – The College of Visual Arts is comprised of 5 school buildings including a 1915 mansion.

8. Montserrat College of Art
Enrollment –
Fun fact – Well-known alumni of Montserrat include prominent fashion designer Sigrid Olsen, sculptor Carlos Dorrien, and children’s book illustrator Giles Laroche.

9. Cogswell Polytechnical College
Enrollment –
Fun fact – Among Cogwell’s other programs are animation and video game development.

10. Judson College
Enrollment –
Fun fact – Judson is one of the oldest women’s colleges in the United States, but is now co-educational.

What’s your take? Do these schools sound too small or are they just the right size? Leave a comment!

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  1. Kimberly says:

    I’m the type of person who loves being surrounded by people. I love big universities and cities. So I would have to say that these schools are way too small. I had 150 people in my largest class and thought it was a good size. My high school class had just under 500 students and I thought it was a medium-small sized class.

    I don’t think I could survive in a college with less students in the entire school than my graduating class.

  2. Beth says:

    My Zoology class alone was bigger than some of these colleges…

  3. Lupe says:

    I attend VanderCook College of Music, (on the same campus as Shirmer) and we only have about 150 undergrads for the year. I think classes are a good size, they are small but we then get to know our teachers better. We do actually all get together once a week for our seminar class, where everyone has to perform a piece. Its a great thing, to be able to know everyone in the school. Also our school only offers Music Education degree. On top of thag we can always meet people at IIT, we don’t just sit in our building saying we’re never going to meet anyone outside of VCM

  4. Kelly says:

    I recently transferred out of University of Pittsburgh, where all of my core engineering classes were at least 300 people to a section. I loved the atmosphere, but I couldn’t learn the material as well as I could have in a smaller class setting.

    I’m now in a small private college that has less than 40 students per class … and I’m hoping that goes a bit better.

  5. Amber says:

    My high school class had 200 people in it. I think these colleges are just right. 🙂

  6. Kelsi says:

    I went to a high school where one year we had 95 students. It was wonderful. I like it. We graduated with the same number but the school has grown to a total of almost 400 since then.

  7. Jocelyn says:

    The smallest high school I’ve been in had 900 total students and now I go to one with over 1,800 students. I really could not imagine going a college on this list. I like schools on the smaller side, like less than 12,000, but not this small!

  8. Madeline says:

    Patrick Henry College has about 300. I go there all the time for choir, but it’s too new and small for me. Usually there’s not much offered and not too much diversity at these smaller schools. That’s not to say they don’t have their place. 😀

  9. sarah nieman says:

    chester college of new england should actually be on this as well! i will be attending chester and its population is around 200

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