The Benefits of a Small College

Kaylen Ayres / Roanoke College »

When looking at undergraduate programs, all the different options can be overwhelming. Whether it’s an in-state public university or an out-of-state private college, each institution has something special and unique to offer. When I was younger, I always imagined going to a large university like in movies and television, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school until I discovered the benefits of attending a small college. Now, as a sophomore at Roanoke College, I can confidently share the great aspects of attending a small school.

1. Small class sizes lead to more personal connections with your professors. 

The average class size at Roanoke College is 18 people. This allows professors to better know the students in the class as well as their aspirations. It also enables them to tailor the course to the interests of the people in their class. Because of how well my professors knew me both as a student and as a person, they’ve accommodated any needs I’ve had and have been mentors I turn to for advice.

2. Opportunities are more easily accessible. 

Building connections in college is important and helpful in gaining more experience in the field you want to pursue. As a senior in high school, I applied for a Marketing and Communications Fellowship, which gave me a scholarship and on-campus job. With this connection, I was given a writing and photography assignment covering a Lifetime movie shooting on campus. The producer and production manager saw my work and asked me to be their set photographer. Without the connection I made with my fellowship, I wouldn’t have gotten my first film credit at 18 years old. People want to help you; connect and network with as many people as you can; you never know what opportunities may arise.

3. Small colleges allow tight-knit communities to form. 

With around 2,000 students on campus, it’s not unusual to run into someone you know. The girl that sat next to me on my first day of orientation is still my best friend to this day. I’ve met some really great people by attending sporting events, joining clubs, and living in my dorm. With a small college, you’ll take a lot of courses with people in your major, which makes it easier to form study groups. 

Small colleges provide a more personalized experience that is finely tuned to the individual. There’s flexibility with what you want to study and so many great people and opportunities to help along the way. The sense of community is evident, and the support provided is like no other. Choosing a college is a big responsibility; look at what you want out of your college experience, and let that guide you into making the best choice for you.