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Michigan's Best Small Colleges and Universities

The Cranbrook Academy of Art, Albion College, Marygrove College, Hillsdale College

While larger universities might be a well-known part of Michigan’s contributions to the country, numerous private liberal arts colleges, as well as tinier universities, are equally important in the academic landscape. Whether in larger cities like Grand Rapids, quintessential college areas such as Ann Arbor, or more rural parts of the state, getting an education in Michigan is a rather pleasant experience. Choose from a more rustic and cozy college town, an urban center, or something in between. And for college students who are equally interested in finding exciting concerts and fabulous nature getaways, the main cities and towns of Michigan are equidistant from more bustling metropolises like Chicago as well as fabulous woods and sparkling lakes. Taking advantage of a three-day weekend has never been easier.

The Cranbrook Academy of Art

Very few schools are able to say that they’ve changed the face of the fields they prepare their students to enter, but Cranbrook Academy of Art is one of those institutions. As one of the country’s most popular and most acclaimed graduate schools for architecture, art, and design, it has had an immense impact on the world firsthand. Unlike other graduate programs that focus more on conventional classes, CAA understands the importance of learning hands-on, and its apprenticeship method, where less than 20 students essentially apprentice under a single artist-in-residence has been praised for fostering creativity. With as much focus on practice as theory, those who choose to earn master’s degrees from CAA often find themselves at the top of their chosen fields at an astonishing rate. With less than 150 students on campus total, this is a truly intensive and fertile environment for education and progress.

Albion College

A college that consistently ranks as one of the top 100 liberal arts institutions in the country while receiving praise for its more manageable price tag, Albion College is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a smaller student body with plenty of personal attention from professors. With fewer than 2,000 students in total, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know your peers while also receiving the crucial one-on-one attention necessary to excel from professors. With a focus on service and volunteerism another component of on-campus life, Albion College believes in the importance of helping one’s community while furthering one’s education. With 25 different majors to choose from and a number of even more specialized concentrations and one-off programs, students are free to tweak their course load to include numerous areas of interest. In addition to being able to study in the state of Michigan, Albion College also offers study abroad programs in Athens, Brussels, Paris, Tokyo, Cape Town, and London.

Marygrove College

For those searching for a Catholic liberal arts college in one of Michigan’s largest cities, Marygrove College is definitely one of the best picks. A focus on a diverse curriculum is half of what’s on the menu here, with the other important aspect being the fostering of Christian values. Students should expect to feel educated in terms of skills necessary to find employment, but at the same time, an intellectual approach to learning a wide variety of subjects, from philosophy to literature, is also a crucial part of on-campus life. At the same time, Catholic values definitely always factor heavily in the picture. Students from all over Detroit opt to attend Marygrove, and its 53-acre campus provides the best of both worlds: a location in an urban environment with all of the classic college campus tropes, including wrought iron gates and buildings with impeccable carved stonework and classic architectural flourishes.

Hillsdale College

The first college in the entire country to present in its charter a rule forbidding discrimination based on gender, religion, or race, Hillsdale College has been making headlines for over 100 years. In the 1800s, the college fought for the abolition of slavery, and it was one of the first colleges in the entire country to allow African-American students. Today, the college continues to foster dialogue between different groups while providing an inclusive and extensive general education to all students before the time that focus on majors kicks in. Its business program has netted a number of big-name speakers from all corners of the political spectrum, including Steve Forbes, Margaret Thatcher, and Ralph Nader.

Concordia University

Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Concordia University is one of the most popular colleges in the entire state. Well-known to locals and out-of-towners alike, Concordia provides students with an excellent student-to-faculty ratio and a number of different chances to pursue educational interests outside of Ann Arbor, as well as on campus. Concordia boasts numerous study-abroad programs, 40 different programs and majors, and is also well-known for its athletic program. Many students opt to attend Concordia University not just for its stellar academic programs, but also for its sports teams. So whether in the classroom or on the field, excelling at Concordia is possible.

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