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Ohio's Small Colleges and Universities

Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Kenyon College, Denison University, Antioch College

While many Americans might not think about Ohio as their state for attending college, the fact is that Ohio has been a stronghold of incredible liberal arts education for years. In fact, six of its universities and colleges consistently rank at the top of everyone’s lists when it comes time to rank the absolute most fantastic liberal arts colleges in the country. This means that in Ohio’s bustling cities and in its more rural enclaves, there is a lot to be learned. And many of those graduates of Ohio’s most exclusive liberal arts colleges find themselves with a significant amount of doors open, considering the fact that Ohio’s most famous small colleges and universities have a national appeal and pull. Whether you’re looking for a bustling city that just happens to have a top-notch college nearby or a more secluded institution that is interested in providing the best one-on-one attention in the classroom possible, Ohio definitely has more than enough options as far as stellar small colleges and universities go.

Oberlin College

When it comes to forward-thinking, no school manages to come close to Oberlin. After all, this was the first college to accept both women students and African-American students, and today it still holds a spot in the heart of many who are fighting for justice and liberty for all. It boasts the country’s oldest music conservatory as well, and a number of different students who are musically-inclined will pass up the chance for a free ride at other institutions to take advantage of Oberlin’s incredible music program. Most students who attend Oberlin find themselves taking advantage of the school’s openminded approach to cross-disciplinary learning, meaning that there is a chance to shape and mold your own degree program while still fulfilling all academic requirements. The school’s College of Arts and Sciences provides 45 different majors to choose from, with the most popular traditionally being Environmental Studies, History, English, Biology, and Politics. Today, there is more of a focus in its science programs, as they are also renowned and well-known. There are a number of less traditional measures on campus, such as co-ed dormitories and the experimental college, where anyone who is interested can teach a class for a semester.

Ohio Wesleyan University

One of the five most famous liberal arts colleges in the entire state of Ohio, Ohio Wesleyan University provides the chance to have that quintessential liberal arts experience. One of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the entire state, activism and open-mindedness are key principles for most students attending. The focus on looking at the big picture at Ohio Wesleyan University means that students are more likely to be international than at any other school in the entire state—in fact, the school has one of the highest rates for international students in the entire country. At the same time, renowned ranking studies continuously place Ohio Wesleyan University towards the top of their lists when it comes to academics, meaning that an education here is likely to prepare students for the world while exposing them to people from different cultures and fostering a sense of international belonging. Students enjoy a great deal of one-on-one attention from faculty members, with freshmen assigned advisors who oversee their transition to the college environment and who assist with class and major choices. Students can choose between bachelor’s of arts, bachelor’s of fine arts, and bachelor’s of music. A number of professors are also actively working in their fields, and students often have the opportunity to participate in research projects with their mentors for college credit.

Kenyon College

A small private college located in Gambier, Kenyon College has been a popular choice for those who are focused on academics, but who prefer a smaller setting. In fact, Kenyon College is a well-established “little Ivy,” meaning that its academic rigors are the exact same as better-known names like Yale and Harvard, only in a smaller setting and different environment. Forbes has ranked Kenyon College as one of the top 25 colleges and universities in the entire country, and a number of other ranking organizations have followed suit and given Kenyon College incredibly high marks. So those seeking a college with an impeccable reputation should look towards Gambier for their education. Traditions on campus are as important as the serious learning process, with group meals and special singing moments giving a feel to older forgotten days. The athletics program is just as rigorous and well-established as the academia, with a number of teams on-campus seeing serious success in the NCAA. In particular, the swimming department is known for doing incredibly well. The arts enjoy equal attention and prominence on campus, with various different musical groups to choose from as extracurricular activities, and a number of different courses that focus on appreciating the arts.

Denison University

Located just a short drive from Columbus, Denison University is one of the state’s oldest universities. Founded in 1831, Denison University is known not just for its academic strength, but also for its overall athletic prowess. It is consistently ranked as a college known not just for providing a stellar education, but also with the power to truly empower students and change the way that they think about education. Its 900-acre campus includes a number of different state-of-the-art classrooms, though the exterior continues to embody the classic college campus style. Students in the biology and geology departments make use of the biological reserve on the edge of campus, which provides a fertile ground for learning that gives a chance for hands-on experience. A number of different majors are possible at Denison University, where the arts and the sciences are equally popular. Historically, students tend to choose Economics, History, Psychology, and Biology as the top majors. Students are required to live on-campus, which bolsters the community spirit and makes for a very traditional college experience.

Antioch College

Located in Yellow Springs, Antioch College has boasted distinguished professors and an enviable academic program since its doors swung open in 1853. With a focus on experiential learning alongside classroom lectures, students attending Antioch College can expect a hands-on approach to the world of academia that is slightly different from other institutions in the state who are focused on the liberal arts experience. There are a number of professors on-campus who are still highly regarded in their fields for contemporary work, and the chance to earn a mentor who can truly help students excel is much higher here because of the beneficial student-to-teacher ratio. Instead of just receiving grades, those attending Antioch College receive narrative evaluations, which provide more instruction in where learning needs some assistance, and where things are going particularly well.

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Best Colleges by State