No Cost Consultation
Back to Blog

Size Does Matter- College Undergraduate Size

college fit college search college selection college size large colleges learning style observant learner participant learner picking colleges private colleges state colleges total size undergraduate size Mar 08, 2018

As you explore which colleges are the right match for you, consider the size of the student body. How many undergraduates attend the college? This can make a big difference in your experience on a college campus. Think of college sizes in these four categories (based on undergraduate student attendance only). 

Boutique Size (<2000) 
Over 500 colleges in the U.S. enroll fewer than 2000 students. These schools are ideal for students with a strong participant learner approach to college. You get to know your teachers and fellow students very well. This provides opportunities to maximize your involvement in activities and construct your own learning experience. Most boutique size schools are private, examples include Julliard, Amherst, Pomona, California Institute of Technology, Davidson, and Haverford. 

Liberal Arts Size (2000-5000) 
Over 300 colleges in the US fall in the Liberal Arts size category. Some of the most well-known and prestigious colleges fall into this category including Dartmouth, Rice, Middlebury, Carleton, and Vassar. Small class sizes with a focus on undergraduates, opportunities to engage with faculty and peers, and close-knit campus communities are all reasons to consider colleges of this size. 

Goldilocks Size  (5,000-10,000) 
“Just Right” refers to the college that is not too big, not too small, as Goldilocks stated, it is “Just Right”. The college is bigger than most high schools, yet small enough to still retain a personal feel. This is the smallest group of colleges in the US, with just over 200 campuses. Both public and private schools fall into this category. Examples include: Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Duke, the College of William and Mary, many California State Universities, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and many more. This is a size many students feel most comfortable at. 

There are some universities that are comparable to the size of a large town or small city.  Students benefit from many choices however the trade-off is you must be your own advocate and reach out. You have the freedom to create your own path on a campus of this size. Of the 58 colleges in this category, most are public schools including Arizona State, UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Michigan, Florida State, UT Austin, University of Alabama and many other flagship state universities. There are a few private schools in this category as well, including New York University, Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California.

To Do:

Download the "PDF What's YOUR Learning Style?" to help you determine if you are a "Participant Learner" or an "Observant Learner" to help you pick a college based upon your learning style.

If you are a coaching client, use the Guided Search to find colleges within each of these size categories. Explore the college profiles. Comment on what you find in the Discussions tab. 

Don't miss a beat!

Get my Newsletter sent to your email box with the latest strategies, tools, and college planning insight.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.