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Six Reasons to Study at a Small University

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated March 5, 2016 Updated March 5, 2016

This article is sponsored by IE University. Find out more about the IE student experience >

Are you looking for a university where you can feel like an individual, not a number? Want to challenge yourself academically, and get stuck in to the social side of things too? A smaller university could be ideal – here are six reasons why.

1. More student-faculty interaction

 A smaller student body will often mean smaller teaching groups and more opportunities for study-faculty interaction. So rather than trying to get your question answered from the back of a packed lecture hall, you can actually ask it at a normal volume, without competing for attention.

Of course this also means fewer places to hide – if there’s only ten of you in a seminar, you can’t get away without contributing to the debate! Depending on your learning style, this could make a real difference to your academic performance, ensuring you’re challenged to reach your full potential.

2. A personalized academic track

In addition to benefitting from more opportunities to participate during classes, students at small universities may also profit from personalized study paths. At Spain’s IE University, for example, students follow a tailored academic track that is made possible thanks to the level of interaction the faculty has with each and every one of their undergraduates. These tracks consist of core degree courses, a Concentration Diploma, specific internships, IE Labs, as Advanced Seminars, and a Final Degree Project of their choice, guided by an Advisor

3. Your own academic advisor

Academic advisors create a personalized study path for students and guide them throughout their university years to ensure that students achieve their academic and professional goals. Again, this means every student is fully challenged and supported. This also makes it less likely that students will end up feeling like they’ve made the wrong choices, or that their degree doesn’t really reflect their future ambitions.

Marvyn Paul, an IE student from India, says, “The individual attention is fantastic when the material is difficult. Having a personal Advisor is my favorite part of the program. We are each assigned an Advisor to help assess our professional goals early on, forming a valuable link between university studies and the 'real world'.”

4. More chances to get involved in student clubs

Just as you can get more out of a smaller teaching group, a smaller social community can make it easier for each individual to participate in extra-curricular activities. This includes more opportunities to take on a leading role in helping to form and run student clubs and societies – great fun, and also great experience.  At IE University, students have recently launched a number of new clubs ranging from a girls’ soccer team to a surf club.

5. A tightly-knit alumni community

Graduates from smaller universities often form closely tied alumni circles, which are great for career networking later in life. IE students have already launched their own start-ups among themselves and with the help of professors.

Graduates from smaller universities often form closely tied alumni circles, which are great for career networking later in life. In fact, the networking starts immediately. “From the very first year I was exposed to various start-ups springing up within the IE ecosystem and it was very exciting to see these startups evolve from a mere vision into reality,” says Eshtiaque Khan, a BBA student and entrepreneur.

Other IE students who have launched Tyba, a job search start-up, have found that the smaller class sizes and community enabled them to easily identify other students with similar vision and business ideas to collaborate with. 

6. You feel like you count

At a smaller university, every person's contribution to the community fabric of the institution is more meaningful. For many students, large universities can feel alienating; it can be easy to feel that your voice will not be heard or that it doesn’t really matter if you’re there or not. At smaller universities, it’s much easier for everyone to feel part of the community – an individual, not just a number.

By Faye Harrison, Marketing Manager, IE University

This article was originally published in May 2013 . It was last updated in March 2016

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