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Smallest Colleges

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College is supposed to be the time of one’s life. With all the partying, learning, studying, friendships, and drama that come along the college path, it’s definitely a memorable time in anyone’s life. Some students meet their future wives and husbands, while others meet their first divorce. In any case, college is a great opportunity for those who take it.

When you think of college, you might think of a huge campus, packed with a lot of young college kids to the point that it almost seems overcrowded and busting at the seams. Even if you don’t think of some bustling college, you probably think of some location that has a fair amount of students that study there, not some desolate spot.  While online college courses and larger institutions still are in favor, there is still  a place for the small college. This is the list of the 10 least populated colleges in the U.S.

10. Holy Apostles College and Seminary – 260 Students


Founded in 1956, the Holy Apostles College and Seminary is located in Cromwell, Connecticut and focuses solely on training students to become priests and other church officials. Though at first it was solely a college attended by men, it has since went along with Vatican Council decisions and opened up to women as well as other non-seminarians. Though it seems a little out of the ordinary for a seminary, the college even offers its students the ability to achieve a Philosophy or Theology degree online.

9. College of Visual Arts – 172 Students


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One of many arts colleges on the list, the College of Visual Arts stands at 172 students strong. Originating in 1924, the College of Visual Arts is located in Saint Paul, Minnesota and strives to teach students the importance of integrating visual arts and liberal arts. The college puts a heavy focus on many different types of arts ranging from sculpture, printmaking, painting, and many others. The school even offers majors involving graphic design. The College of Visual Arts often pushes students to find some sort of internship to express and use their artistic skills.

8. Burlington College – 168 Students


Another school located on the East Coast, Burlington College is all about the arts, humanitarian projects, and the humanities. Once known as Vermont Institute of Community Involvement, the college has been around since 1972. One interesting thing about this college is that many of the students will study abroad, especially in countries in the European Union. Recently, the college has also been able to work with the University of Havana to offer studying there as well. Burlington College is one of the only colleges to receive a special license from the U.S. Treasury Department and approval from Cuba, in order to establish opportunities for U.S. students to study at the University of Havana.

7. Art Academy of Cincinnati – 156 Students


Founded in 1869 as the McMicken School of Design, the Art Academy of Cincinnati is one of the most prestigious, and one of the smallest, art colleges in the U.S. Today. The school offers four degree programs to get into: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History, and an Associate of Science in Graphic Design. Some very famous artists have graduated from the Art Academy, including James Flora and Charley Harper. The school’s main goal is to help produce artists who will thrive in the world today.

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6. Bryn Athyn College of the New Church – 155 Students


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Bryn Athyn College is located in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles from Philadelphia. The college has been around since 1877 and was first used to train ministers. The college is a Christian liberal arts center that places heavy focus on the New Church and its teachings. The new church is a religious sect based on the ideas and life of Emanuel Swedenborg. The college offers all sorts of majors, including business management, biology, art, history, and many others. Even though the college is small, it’s very unique in its own ways. Despite not having any type of Division Sports team, the college does have a competitive Ultimate Frisbee team.

5. Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts – 151 Students

Small or not, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts has been named a “Best College” numerous times. Located in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the college is only two hours from New York as well as Boston, and most students take advantage of the prime location. This college is strictly meant for those interested in art, whether it be painting, sculpting, or drawing. Lyme Academy is so widely praised that even the New York Times spoke out about it, stating “. . . many in the art world believe the (Lyme) Academy has contributed to the renaissance of representational art.”

4. Sterling College – 105 Students



Nestled in the northern Green Mountains of Vermont, Sterling College utilizes its setting as a natural laboratory offering Self-Designed Bachelor of Arts Degrees in six areas of environmental studies: Sustainable Agriculture, Conservation Ecology, Outdoor Education & Leadership, Environmental Humanities, Natural History, and Northern Studies. Sterling’s focus on experiential education — the philosophy of educators engaging students through direct, hands-on experience — is emphasized in Sterling’s motto, “Working Hands, Working Minds.” As one of the nation seven Work Colleges all students work on campus and in the surrounding community for a portion of tuition cost. Academics are an integrated aspect of daily life, both in the classroom and outside in nature and the community (Sterling College).

3. Thomas More College – 84 Students


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Thomas More College of Liberal Arts sits on 14 acres in Merrimack, New Hampshire. It is a Roman Catholic college and all students spend one semester in Italy, living in a monastery and studying at the Rome campus, just five miles away from St. Peter’s Basilica. According to the college’s website, students will have “visited over 100 baroque churches, Roman architectural sites, Renaissance palazzos, or catacombs” and “translated over 1,000 lines of Homer, Cicero, or other Classical authors” after four years of study.

2. Shimer College – 81 Students


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Calling itself the “Great Books College of Chicago,” Shimer College is definitely set out to attract certain students in the world. The college has been around for 157 years, founded by Frances Wood Shimer and Cinderella Gregory. Shimer is a liberal arts college and only offers three majors: natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences. The college focuses a lot of attention on “The Great Books” which include titles such as The Bible, The Iliad, Agamemnon, Oedipus Rex, Paradise Lost, Spirit of Laws, and plenty of others. Despite its narrow focus of study, Shimer College also claims its goal is to create well-rounded students, all 81 of them.

1. Alaska Bible College – 38 Students


At 38 students strong, the Alaska Bible College remains the smallest accredited college in the U.S. Just by its name you would assume the college is geared towards Christianity, and you’d be right. The college aims to provide hands-on ministry as a way to join God and follow his footsteps. The college has been around for 40 years and only offers a few programs to get involved in: pastoral studies, bible and ministry certificate, and a few others. If you ever were to attend ABC, you would more than likely spend your spare time ice-fishing or dog sledding. How’s that for unique?

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