The Advantages of the Small College with the Resources of a Giant University


  • Enrolling in a school that is part of a Consortium

  • The Small community-feel of certain Big Universities

  • Don't be deceived by the size of the school


Sometimes when I recommend a small, liberal arts school to students, say a school like Pomona College, they're puzzled. Why in the world would they want to pay $45-50,000 a year for a school with 1,500 students (smaller than most high schools) and, in all likelihood, with limited resources? On the surface, such an objection makes sense. However, it doesn't account for the consortium of colleges to which Pomona belongs. This consortium opens a huge network of educational opportunities for all Pomona students, while maintaining Pomona's personal and intimate touch.

Pomona is part of the Claremont College Consortium. There are a total of 5 undergraduate campuses: Claremont McKenna, which specializes in business and economics; Harvey Mudd, engineering; Pitzer, behavior sciences; Scripps, foreign language; and two graduate schools. None of these colleges is much bigger than a mid-sized dorm at UCLA, yet each has its own faculty, administration, admissions office, and curriculum. They also share a number of services and facilities among themselves: art studios, a biological field station, a 2,500-seat concert hall, interscholastic athletic teams, and the Claremont library that houses over 1.9 million volumes. Students at any of the member Claremont College Consortium can cross register for over 2,500 different courses given by its members. While the average class size at Pomona College is 14 students, a Pomona student has access to almost unlimited educational resources-and I haven't even touched on Pomona's exchange programs with Swarthmore and Colby (on the East Coast), or the Study Abroad Program, or the 3-2 engineering program with Cal Tech.

The Claremont Consortium is by no means a rarity. A number of smaller schools band together to offer cross registration of courses, share study abroad programs, or their facilities. One of the best listings of consortia can be found on page 771 of "Fiske Guide to Colleges, 2009." It lists some of the "largest and oldest" of these programs:


  • The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (www.acm.edu ): 14 institutions including Carleton, Macalester, University of Chicago, Colorado College, and Grinnell (Iowa)

  • The Associated Colleges of the South (www.colleges.org): 16 institutions including  Davidson, University of Richmond, and Washington and Lee

  • Five College Consortium (www.fivecolleges.edu) : including Smith College, Amherst College and three others; allows any undergraduate at the member schools to cross register

  • Great Lakes Colleges Association (www.glca.org): joins together 12 liberal arts schools including DePauw, Kenyon (Ohio), and Kalamazoo, to offer study abroad programs.The listing above is by no means comprehensive. There are consortiums among Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Pennsylvania; the Colleges of Worcester Consortium (including Tufts, Holy Cross, and others); The Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities...the list goes on.


On the flip side of small schools magnifying resources through joining a consortium, are big universities that gain the feel of a small school through special honors programs, residential colleges, and special programs. Honors programs in schools such as UCLA (http://www.ugeducation.ucla.edu/honors/hchome.html ), University of Michigan, or University of Wisconsin, emphasize small class size, select faculty, and "community atmosphere in a large university." Other schools build a sense of community through a residential college program, initiated by Oxbridge, and incorporated by Yale, Harvard, and Pennsylvania universities (among many). Then there are special programs, with very limited enrollment and very low student/faculty ratios. One example is Cornell University's College of Human Ecology and its Interior Design program. It has about 100 students and 14 faculty members, with access to a university of over 13,000 undergraduates.

The moral to take from this is to not be deceived by the size of a school. In many cases, a small school can access the resources of a giant, while a giant school might very well have programs that make it feel like an intimate community. Uncovering these features requires research, questioning and, better still, a visit, if at all possible. There are no rules for what a school's size means, only potential opportunities that beckon investigation.

Ralph Becker
Founder, Ivy College Prep LLC
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대학의 자원을 접할 있는 작은 대학의 장점


  • Consortium 속하는 대학 연구

  • 대학 중에서 작은 이웃처럼 느끼기

  • 학교의 크기에 신경 쓰지 말라


필자가 학생들에게 Pomona college처럼 규모가 작은 인문과학대학을 추천하면,  그들은 고개를 갸우뚱한다.  학비 45-50,000불을 내고 학생수는 1,500 명(일반 공립고보다 작은 숫자)이고, 자원이 풍부하지 않는 학교를 다닐 것인가?  겉으로는 이러한 반대의견이 맞다.  그러나, 이는 Pomona 대학이 속해있는 consortium대학들을 고려하지 않은 탓이다.  이러한 consortium에서는 속한 대학의 학생들에게 엄청난 교육의 기회를 제공한다.  또한 Pomona의 가족적인 친밀한 관계도 유지할 수 있다.

Pomona는 Claremont College Consortium에 속한다.  총 5개교가 참여하고 있다: Claremont McKenna는 경영과 경제를 전문으로 한다; Harvey Mudd는 공학전문; Pitzer는 행동과학전문; Scripps는 외국어 전문; 그리고 2개교의 대학원이 있다.  5개교 각각은 UCLA의 기숙사보다 크지 않지만, 자체 교수진과, 행정부, 입학사정실과 교과과정을 갖고 있다.  반면, 많은 서비스와 시설은 공유한다: art studios, 생물학 현장, 2500좌석의 음악당, 운동부, 190만권의 장서를 가진 Claremont 도서실.  이 대학들의 학생들은 2,500의 개설과목들을 어느 대학에서나 등록할 수 있다.  Pomona의 수업당 학생수는 평균 14명이며, 이 학생들은 거의 무한의 교육자원을 얻을 수 있다.  필자가 경험하지는 않았지만, 이대학은 East Coast에 있는 Swarthmore, Colby대학과 교환프로그램이 있으며, 해외유학 프로그램과 Cal Tech에서의 공학프로그램도 있다.

Claremont Consortium만 특이한 것이 아니다.  많은 작은 대학들이 수강신청, 해외유학 프로그램과 시설을 공유하여 신청하도록 한다.  아래의 자료는 오래되고 유명한 프로그램들이다(Fiske Guide to Colleges, 2009, p. 771참고).


  • The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (www.acm.edu ): 14 institutions including Carleton, Macalester, University of Chicago, Colorado College, and Grinnell (Iowa)

  • The Associated Colleges of the South (www.colleges.org): 16 institutions including  Davidson, University of Richmond, and Washington and Lee

  • Five College Consortium (www.fivecolleges.edu) : including Smith College, Amherst College and three others; allows any undergraduate at the member schools to cross register

  • Great Lakes Colleges Association (www.glca.org): joins together 12 liberal arts schools including DePauw, Kenyon (Ohio), and Kalamazoo, to offer study abroad programs.


위 자료만이 전부가 아니다.  그 외에도 Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Pennsylvania; the Colleges of Worcester Consortium (including Tufts, Holy Cross, and others); The Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities등 이상의 리스트가 있다.

작은 대학들이 consortium으로 자원을 극대화하는 반면, 큰 대학들은 honors programs를 제공하며 작은 대학의 환경을 만들어준다.  UCLA, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin의 honors programs은 소규모수업, 탁월한 교수진과 가족 같은 분위기를 내세운다.  Oxbridge대학은 residential college program을 만들어 가족 같은 분위기를 조성하며, Yale, Harvard, Pennsylvania 대학들도 시도하고 있다.  또한 적은 학생수에 교수비율의 특별 프로그램을 시행하는 대학도 있다.  Cornell대학의 College of Human Ecology와  Interior Design program은 13,000명의 재학생 중에서 100명의 학생과 14명의 교수진을 갖고 있다.

여기에서 배울 점은 대학의 크기에 좌우되지 말라는 점이다.  작은 대학들은 무한의 자원에 접할 수 있는 프로그램이 있으며, 큰 대학들은 친밀한 분위기를 가질 수 있는 프로그램을 갖고 있다.  이러한 자세한 특성들은 자료연구, 질문, 방문 등 여러 가지 방법으로 가능하다.  그러므로 학교의 크기가 의미하는 바보다는 심층조사로 잠재적 기회를 포착해야 한다.