Four Reasons a Smaller College May Be Right for You

If you’re in the middle of choosing a university, you may consider the size of your prospects. After all, you want to ensure you get a quality education in intimate classes without losing the chance of making friends.

The typical small college is a school that has an enrollment of fewer than 5,000 students, doesn’t have a graduate school, and has a student-to-faculty ratio of under 10:1—some are even as low as 4:1. In large universities, the ratio can reach 31:1. Just as a small college isn’t right for everyone, neither is a large one.

Before you commit to one university, learn about the advantages of a small college and how it may be the right fit for you.

Class Size

As you would expect, larger universities tend to have larger classrooms. Some lectures can have several hundred students and this means that you may not be able to ask many questions (if any) or the tutor may not get to know you—or even your name. Professors at smaller universities can hold more interactive discussions with the students, which may end up helping you better understand the material as well as helping you achieve higher grades.


Studies found that student achievement is higher in smaller schools. Students from smaller schools do as well as or better in college than those from larger schools. While, of course, the quality of education, the material, and your effort are all important facts to consider when thinking about grades, a better support system and intimate classes could mean that your grades improve in a smaller college.

Student Interaction

On a smaller campus, you are more likely to get to know other students quickly and develop social ties. On a campus of tens of thousands of people, this is less likely to occur. Both situations can make people feel either comfortable or overwhelmed. Consider which campus experience would better suit your personality. Typically, smaller campuses are safer, as there is a reduced number of isolated students and anonymity, helping to reduce fighting and violence.


As mentioned before, learning among hundreds of other students in the same classroom means that questions and clarification are often limited. Research found that smaller schools created more opportunities for participation than those larger schools. As a result, there was a larger percentage of student participation in small schools. Because small schools need a large percentage of students to fill each activity, they engage a broader cross-section of students, helping to reduce social and radical isolation as well.

At Upper Iowa University, we offer courses to suit your needs. We have a traditional campus and a variety of center locations across the United States, as well as online college classes for those looking for distance-learning options. Visit us today to learn why we may be the right fit for what you’re looking for.