Quality Over Quantity: Small Colleges That Punch Above Their Weight

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It can be disheartening for students who cannot afford to attend a large public university. Choosing a small college can lower your degree cost and offer additional benefits, although it can be tough to find one that fits your requirements. 

We’re sharing some of the best small colleges that punch above their weight and focus on quality over quantity. 

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Quality Over Quantity: Small Colleges That Punch Above Their Weight

Here are some reputable small colleges that offer high-quality education and can be the right choice for your academic career.

Front of a campus building with grassy area

University of Valley Forge

The University of Valley Forge is one of the finest small institutes that offers ten associate’s, forty bachelor’s, and six master’s degrees. It also offers transfer-friendly programs that allow students to complete degrees early. Their student-to-teacher ratio is 12:1. 

You can participate in different on-campus activities, including community service, student-led clubs, and intramural sports. If you are an adventure freak, then you can also enjoy traveling through study abroad programs and mission trips. 

University of Jamestown

Another top institute is the University of Jamestown, which has a student-to-teacher ratio of 12:1. This small college offers internships, mentoring with experienced faculty, and quality programs. They have around fifty undergraduate, three master’s, and one doctorate program. 

Athletics is one of the most integral parts of campus life, and you will have the opportunity to participate in various co-curricular activities. Students who have graduated from college are eligible for good employment opportunities in their respective fields. 

Kentucky Christian University

By enrolling at Kentucky Christian University, you can make the most out of the rigorous academic and out-of-class activities. You can choose any undergraduate degree related to business, nursing, and biological sciences. 

If you want to attain a high-level master’s degree, then you can consider programs related to education, nursing, and religion. Spiritual and athletic activities allow students to stay physically and mentally healthy. 

Shorter University

Shorter University is a liberal arts university with a student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1. It offers 40 bachelor’s programs and several master’s programs, which you can consider according to your interest. 

Since it is a Christian university, students are expected to follow the biblical principles in their campus and academic life. You can also participate in different activities, such as joining student organizations and getting involved in intramural sports. Furthermore, you can participate in community services to serve different communities and to get practical experiences. 

Lincoln College

Lincoln College is a diverse college that offers a variety of programs. It has a student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1. It also offers online degrees to provide flexibility and fulfill the needs of students with different requirements. 

Apart from academic activities, you can also explore 22 student organizations and participate in athletic programs. Doing this will help you stay active and positively impact your academic performance. The college also offers a free shuttle service every week for students, which makes traveling around the campus easy. 

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Brescia University

Another small college is Brescia University, which has a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1 and follows Ursuline principles and tradition. The success of students is the major priority of the institute, and the courses focus on their professional and personal upbringing. 

With around 50 undergraduate majors, you have plenty of options to choose the program. The courses are designed to provide hands-on learning to students. Some of the prominent programs are related to management, social work, and business administration. The college also offers opportunities to study abroad.

Brewton Parker College

The Brewton Parker College offers liberal arts education with a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1. They have two campuses that offer a wide range of programs. The main campus of the college is Mt. Vernon, which is a residential campus. 

On the other hand, you can only study for a bachelor’s degree on the Newnan campus, which is the second campus. Its programs are related to business administration, general studies, and ministry. You can also attend classes at night at the Newnan campus according to your schedule. 

The small class sizes give students the benefit of personalized interaction with professors. It significantly impacts the learning process of students. 

College of St. Mary

As a Catholic female, if you are looking for a small college, then the College of St. Mary can be the perfect choice for you. It is an all-women Catholic college with a student-to-teacher ratio of 10:1. 

The institute offers various degrees related to health and human services, legal studies, business, and arts and sciences. Also, the mothers’ living and learning program is offered to single mothers. The purpose of this program is to make education accessible for single mothers. 

A variety of on-campus sports activities help students to maintain a healthy lifestyle. From basketball to soccer to swimming, you can participate in different sports. You can also join a student organization that works for special interests. 

Columbia College

Columbia College has 1380 students with a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1. It is a liberal arts institution that offers undergraduate programs. Students can also get scholarships and financial assistance at Columbia College, which makes education affordable. 

Experiential learning opportunities allow students to gain hands-on experience in different fields. The college has a good employment rate, and most of the graduates work in good positions in different industries. 

Pomona College

Pomona College has 1,791 students and a community of scholars, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Due to good facilities, around 90% of students prefer living on campus.

Kelsey Ludeman, an Academic Success Coach at the University of Houston-Downtown, highly recommends this college: 

“If you’re looking for a high-quality experience at a small school that’s big on prestige, look no further than Pomona College. This liberal arts school, located in sunny California, hosts an impressive liberal arts curriculum, quality faculty, robust campus life, holistic student support, and an active alumni presence.”

With excellent academic opportunities and a welcoming community, Pomona College is one of the best places to study in the small college category. 

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Top Factors for Choosing a College

Here are some main factors that you must consider when choosing a college of any size. It can help you better assess whether a particular institute fits your requirements and budget or not. Those factors are:

  • Distance and location from home
  • Cost of the program
  • Class size, as it can hugely impact the learning experience
  • Academic services and employment rate of college graduates
  • Safety measures
  • Internship opportunities

Affordability is one of the major concerns of students. Around 92% of college students are not able to afford their educational expenses.

Another research study shows that around 38% of students do not have money to cover college expenses. That is why you must focus on the cost of the program while choosing the college.

Related Questions

Here are some common questions for those who prefer quality over quantity and want to choose a small college to pursue a degree.

What Is the World’s Best Small University?

Some of the world’s best small universities are Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), South Korea, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy, and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States. 

Which Is the Smallest College Campus in the United States?

Deep Springs College is a private college in Deep Springs, California. Its graduate enrollment is less than 50, and it is one of the smallest higher education institutions in the United States.

What Are the Lowest-Rated Colleges in America?

Some of the lowest-rated colleges in America include Mitchell University, Grambling State University, Yeshivas Novominsk, Shaw University, and Lindsey Wilson University.


Earning a degree from a small college can still help you land a rewarding job, as small colleges also offer quality education. You just need to choose the right college based on your affordability and other requirements that will significantly impact your professional and academic life. 

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Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

Find your perfect value college

ValueColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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