What do you see when you imagine college?

Are you meeting one-on-one with professors? Does everyone know your name? Are you making a difference? These are benefits of the small college experience.

The difference between small colleges and big ones is about more than just the number of students or the square mileage of the campus.

People choose small colleges because they’re looking for a certain kind of experience, one that’s full of opportunities that can be harder to come by at large universities.

Small College Benefits

So, what is a “small” college? And what sets it apart from a “large” one?

For a four-year college offering bachelor’s degrees, we’re typically talking about fewer than 3,000 full-time students. (Fewer than 1,000 would be considered “very small.”)

But numbers don’t tell the whole story. Students choose small college life because of the many benefits you tend not to get when you’re lost in the crowd. Here are just a few.

1. Access


If you’re a good fit, small college admissions staff are eager to work closely with you to get you in the door.

Being a “good fit” isn’t about having the highest GPA or even the financial means to pay for tuition out of pocket. What matters more is when you can tell the admissions team that you:

  • Are excited about a particular program the college offers.
  • Know what you’re good at, and you want to get better.
  • Know what you struggle with and how to ask for help.

It also helps to tell them that you prefer a small-college experience—for the all reasons you’re reading about right now!

If they feel like you’re a good match, most admissions officers at small colleges will bend over backward to personally help you through the application process.

2. Connection


College is all about making new connections to ideas and people. The smaller the class, the more connected every student can be to one another, the professor, and different perspectives.

On a small college campus, opportunities to connect happen everywhere outside the classroom, too. It’s easy to make friends when you see many of the same faces each day.

Small colleges also tend to offer a lot more clubs and student organizations than you might expect for so few students. Why? To make sure everyone has a way to plug in, a place to belong.

3. Convenience


Imagine if your high school was three or four times bigger, your classes spread out between multiple buildings, and the parking lot nearest your classes is always full.

Now you’ve got an idea of what life on a huge college campus can be like!

On a small campus, it’s usually a short walk between your dorm, classes, the cafeteria, and pretty much everywhere you want to go. And that convenience just makes life a little easier.

4. Instruction


At big universities, the person who’s most often giving the lectures, leading discussions, and administering the tests might not be your professor.

It’s common for your actual teacher to be a graduate student. This teaching assistant (TA) steps in while the professor focuses on other duties like labs or conducting research projects.

Is this a “bad” thing? That’s a matter of opinion. But if you want to get your instruction from full-fledged professors and get more time working with them, that’s one of the strongest small college benefits.

5. Experience


Closely related to the benefit of connection (see #2) is the ability to stand out among your peers at a small college.

Fewer students means more opportunities to serve in leadership positions in clubs and student organizations, such as:

  • Student Government
  • Service Groups
  • Campus Media
  • Language Clubs
  • Club Sports
  • Religious Organizations

Here at Bethany College, there are many more to choose from that you don’t find everywhere. Not every small college has an Equestrian Club, for example.

6. Support


If you’ve ever been to the Division of Motor Vehicles, you know what it’s like to take a number and wait your turn. It kind of makes you feel like you’re just a number, doesn’t it?

Another huge small college benefit is the opposite feeling.

With fewer students to serve, support staff can spend more time getting to know you. Whether it’s writing help, disability services, or any type of academic support, they’re there to provide just what you need.

7. Opportunity


Last but not least, small colleges tend to have strong professional development programs, community connections, and alumni networks that help graduates advance their careers.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? With smaller budgets, small colleges tend to be rich in relationships. The kinds of relationships that can help you learn, grow, and thrive for a lifetime.

And we happen to believe there’s one small college that takes care of its own like no other …

Experience These Small College Benefits and More at Bethany College

It’s pretty simple, really. If a small college experience is what you’re looking for, there’s no better place to have it than here at Bethany!

  • Connect in small classes of around 14 students at the most
  • Experience excellent instruction from distinguished faculty and strong support services
  • Enjoy opportunities to plug in and get leadership experience on campus
  • Discover exciting internships and study abroad opportunities in any of 35 partner countries
  • Explore the gorgeous forests, streams, and trails of Northern West Virginia

Learn more about what makes Bethany College a distinctive small college experience—for distinctive students like you.