10 Of The Smallest Colleges In The U.S.

Are you looking for a college with less number of students? Here is the right article for you which lists 10 of the smallest colleges in the United States.

TCM Staff

20th October 2020

College is supposed to be fun and should be considered as one of the best memories. When you think of joining a college, there are plenty of options, out of which small colleges are one. 

Even though there are online colleges and bigger colleges, there are still a few students who prefer joining a college with fewer people. Here is an article for such students which gives you an idea about small colleges, the 10 smallest colleges in the U.S., its benefits and drawbacks.

What exactly is a small college?

When you first hear the word small colleges, you might think that it is called so because of its size. But, that is not the case. 

In general, it is defined and considered as an institution registered with less than 5,000 students with certain good academic opportunities. These institutions are represented by a familiar student community and a more prominent focus on undergraduate education by professors. You will always run into people you know and will have better access to individual academic attention.

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.

Is it really that important? Of course yes, it gives you better access to the resources within the college and you will also be able to communicate with your professor without hesitation. If you are an introvert, then this would be a better option than the traditional college as it consists of fewer students and you might feel better, although it does not mean that there are fewer opportunities. There are several courses offered in these colleges. The benefits and drawbacks of joining these institutions are discussed further. Read on to know why it is considered to be a good idea to get admitted to these colleges. 

10 Smallest Colleges in the U.S

Small colleges are often ignored by teenagers, but many of the best colleges in the U.S are of small. As there are some specialized schools that have only 50 students, so here, we have discussed 10 of the smallest colleges in the U.S that may be applicable to a larger group of people.  

1. University of the Potomac 

It offers certificate programs, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science, and Graduate programs. It is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  • Location: Washington D.C 

  • Enrollment: 253 students

  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

2. Holy Apostles College and Seminary 

It was founded in 1956 by the Very Reverend Eusebe M. Menard, O.F.M. in order to provide a program of education and formation for men intending to enter the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Location: Cromwell, Connecticut

  • Enrollment: 260 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

3. Sweet Briar College

It was established in 1901 by Indiana Fletcher Williams in memory of her dead daughter, Daisy. The college formally opened its doors in 1906 and awarded the B.A. degree for the first time in 1910. The graduation rate for this college is 63%.

  • Location: Sweet Briar, VA

  • Enrollment: 300 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 50%

4. Bethany Global University

It was founded in 1948 and its primary focus is on training missionaries. It is also well-known that Bethany Global University is one of 9 work colleges in the United States. 

  • Location: Bloomington, MN

  • Enrollment: 342 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 96.3%

5. College of the Atlantic

It was founded in 1969 and it awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees only in the field of human ecology which is an interdisciplinary approach to education.

  • Location: Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine

  • Enrollment: 362 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 67%

6. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering 

It is remarked in the engineering community for its small size, project-based curriculum, and it is largely funded primarily by the F. W. Olin Foundation. Its graduate rate is 93%

  • Location: Needham, Massachusetts, adjacent to Babson College.

  • Enrollment: 390 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 13.5%

7. Thomas Aquinas College

It offers an education system with courses based on the Great Books and seminar method. The graduation rate in this college is 89%.

  • Location: Santa Paula, CA and Northfield, MA

  • Enrollment: 407 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 78%

8. Soka University of America

The university's mission highlights pacifism, human rights, and the creative concurrence of nature and humanity. Its graduation rate is 86%.

  • Location: Aliso Viejo, CA

  • Enrollment: 412 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 39%

9. Alaska Pacific University

It was established as Alaska Methodist University in 1957 and it was founded by Peter Gordon Gould. The graduation rate for this college is 27%.

  • Location: Anchorage, AK

  • Enrollment: 732 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 86%

10. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

It is a private college at Cooper Square on the border of the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Its graduation rate is 83%.

  • Location: New York City

  • Enrollment: 854 Students

  • Acceptance Rate: 16%

Benefits of joining small colleges

  • Since the class strength will be less, it is observed that students take part more actively in the class.

  • These schools often use the quality of a professor’s work in the classroom to determine matters of advancement which makes them focus more on teaching.

  • As it consists of a few people, there will be more opportunity to communicate with your lecturers and it is said that it is easier when compared to normal schools.

  • With a smaller class strength and smaller classes, professors are able to get to know their students, so they tend to be more invested in their students’ individual success. 

  • They have more room to be flexible, which means classes and programs can often fit better with the needs of students.

Drawbacks of joining small colleges

  • When compared to larger colleges, there is a small variety of courses offered.

  • Limited campus experience.

  • Fewer chances of sports and extracurricular activities.

  • Might lack in social communication.


College is supposed to be fun and exciting. Any kind of college you search for, there will be certain benefits and limitations to it. Thus, be cautious while choosing and find a suitable college for you and make sure that you don’t regret your decisions in the future. 

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