Best Small Colleges in Ohio 2024

Badge for BEST IN OHIO SMALL COLLEGES

Small colleges in Ohio are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

10 Best Small Colleges in Ohio 2024

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  1. Oberlin College
  2. Denison University
  3. Kenyon College
  4. Ashland University
  5. John Carroll University
  6. Ohio Wesleyan University
  7. Wittenberg University
  8. College of Wooster
  9. Ohio Northern University
  10. Franciscan University of Steubenville
  1. Oberlin College
  2. Kenyon College
  3. Denison University
  4. Wilberforce University
  5. Ohio Wesleyan University
  6. College of Wooster
  7. Wittenberg University
  8. Ashland University
  9. John Carroll University
  10. Marietta College
  1. Hiram College 93%
  2. Wittenberg University 92%
  3. John Carroll University 88%
  4. Muskingum University 86%
  5. Marietta College 83%
  6. Notre Dame College 82%
  7. University of Mount Union 80%
  8. Walsh University 80%
  9. Baldwin Wallace University 79%
  10. Malone University 78%
  1. Central State University 19 to 1
  2. Ashland University 16 to 1
  3. Cedarville University 15 to 1
  4. Franciscan University of Steubenville 15 to 1
  5. Walsh University 15 to 1
  6. Tiffin University 15 to 1
  7. Shawnee State University 14 to 1
  8. John Carroll University 13 to 1
  9. Malone University 13 to 1
  10. Notre Dame College 13 to 1
  1. Kenyon College $63,310
  2. Oberlin College $60,240
  3. Denison University $57,500
  4. College of Wooster $55,500
  5. Ohio Wesleyan University $48,832
  6. John Carroll University $45,514
  7. Wittenberg University $42,288
  8. Capital University $39,338
  9. Marietta College $37,460
  10. Baldwin Wallace University $35,966
  1. University of Mount Union $36,000
  2. Oberlin College $29,692
  3. Ohio Northern University $29,250
  4. John Carroll University $16,082
  5. Union Institute & University $15,911
  6. Marietta College $14,220
  7. Walsh University $13,410
  8. Central State University $13,200
  9. Wilberforce University $12,830
  10. Capital University $12,780
  1. Baldwin Wallace University
  2. Shawnee State University
  3. Muskingum University
  4. Notre Dame College
  5. Walsh University
  6. Malone University
  7. Hiram College
  8. Union Institute & University
  9. Wilberforce University
  10. Capital University
  1. Malone University
  2. Tiffin University
  3. Notre Dame College
  4. Walsh University
  5. Shawnee State University
  6. Capital University
  7. Muskingum University
  8. Cedarville University
  9. Baldwin Wallace University
  10. Union Institute & University
  1. Denison University 28%
  2. Oberlin College 34%
  3. Kenyon College 37%
  4. Wilberforce University 39%
  5. Central State University 59%
  6. College of Wooster 61%
  7. Cedarville University 62%
  8. Franciscan University of Steubenville 68%
  9. Ohio Northern University 69%
  10. Ashland University 70%
  1. Union Institute & University 7 to 1
  2. Marietta College 8 to 1
  3. Denison University 9 to 1
  4. Kenyon College 9 to 1
  5. Oberlin College 9 to 1
  6. Ohio Wesleyan University 10 to 1
  7. Wilberforce University 10 to 1
  8. Baldwin Wallace University 11 to 1
  9. Hiram College 11 to 1
  10. Wittenberg University 11 to 1
  1. Central State University $4,842
  2. Shawnee State University $8,604
  3. Wilberforce University $13,250
  4. Union Institute & University $17,141
  5. Ashland University $23,090
  6. Hiram College $25,000
  7. Tiffin University $28,480
  8. Muskingum University $30,090
  9. Franciscan University of Steubenville $30,180
  10. Notre Dame College $31,350
  1. Hiram College $6,612
  2. Ashland University $6,972
  3. Wittenberg University $8,352
  4. Cedarville University $9,864
  5. Shawnee State University $10,156
  6. Muskingum University $10,350
  7. Baldwin Wallace University $11,363
  8. Malone University $11,700
  9. Franciscan University of Steubenville $12,600
  10. Tiffin University $12,600

Key Takeaways

Colleges and Universities in Ohio

Ohio offers over 120 colleges and universities for students to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. The largest school in the state, Ohio State University, a public institution, serves almost 55,000 students. This university has five regional campuses, which have graduated alumni like writer Harlan Ellison and Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger. The majority of Ohio’s schools, however, are private.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Tuition at these schools varies greatly, with costs as low as $7,000 at God’s Bible School and College, and as high as $56,000 at Kenyon University. The state is also home to nearly 40 higher education institutes with religious affiliations, offering plenty of options for students aiming to blend their faith with higher education. Although tuition costs in Ohio are higher than the national average, Ohio provides several loan forgiveness programs to those pursuing careers as public defenders and prosecutors, dentists, nurses, primary care physicians, and mental health providers. Many of these programs require individuals to work in shortage areas around the state for a certain time period in order to qualify.

If you’re someone with a wide variety of interests, Ohio might just be the place for you. In The Buckeye State, individuals can visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, take a trip through Amish Country, attend a professional sporting event, and hike waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It seems this state has something for everyone, including those pursuing a higher education degree.

Learn more about the numerous excellent degree paths and career prospects available in Ohio.


What are Ohio’s Colleges & Universities?

Ohio’s Best Overall

Ohio's Best Small Colleges and Universities Badge
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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Ohio is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 52 small colleges in Ohio. The list below of the 25 best small colleges in Ohio. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

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Ohio: Small Colleges, Big Student Outcomes

Ohio has a wide range of higher education learning environments like small colleges, large schools, and world-class research institutions. The major cities both have large and medium-sized schools, while others have a mix of public and private universities with some liberal arts institution and research university options.

With a handful of large universities in Ohio, is enrolling in a small college worth it? What are the best small colleges in Ohio that deliver the same quality of education as the bigger ones? And why should you attend a small college?

Why Attending a Small College is a Wise Choice

Most of the time, the first college of choice for many students is the bigger and larger universities, because these schools are known to deliver the best quality education. But did you know that smaller colleges are great choices as well?

There are so many advantages to attending small colleges in Ohio. These schools are more personalized, and they offer the chance to get more one-on-one attention. Below are a few of the compelling reasons for attending a smaller college.

Smaller Class Sizes: Smaller colleges have smaller class sizes. Therefore, they encourage greater participation in class. Most of the time, students get more out of their classes in small colleges than they can get jotting down notes in big lecture halls at large public universities.

In terms of classroom and small group discussions, students have a better grasp of concepts, develop critical thinking skills, and get to meet and keep new friends.

Better Interaction with Professors: In large colleges and universities, students often do not get much personal interaction with their professors. There are even cases where classes are taught by adjunct professors or graduate students. This is not typical in a small college.

Professors in small colleges are normally available during office hours. Students have the chance to get to know their professors on a more personal level. This can be especially advantageous when asking for letters of reference later. The same applies to college administrators and other school personnel.

Less Competition for Scholarships and Financial Aid: Fewer students means less competition for scholarships and financial aid. As a result, students in smaller schools often get more financial support.

Students also have better chances of obtaining a work-study program. Students are likely to land a position at a smaller school because the competition for campus jobs is more manageable.

Stronger Sense of Community: Small colleges typically have a strong sense of community. Because of the small size of the student body, students have an easier time making friends not only within their program, but in other departments as well.

And another added benefit is that a close community makes it less likely for students to feel alone or homesick.

Better Curriculum Flexibility: Small colleges provide their students with more flexibility in terms of creating and developing their curricula. Students get to follow different procedures and work with the relevant departments in forming their own major or self-study programs. This is something that may be more difficult in a larger schools.

Student Performance is Evaluated More Carefully: In larger universities, professors and advisers may be overwhelmed by the stacks of exams to grade and papers to read. This makes it very difficult for them to provide meaningful feedback or give individual attention to their students.

In smaller schools, professors have more time to give feedback and guidance. Some students may find this intimidating, but it is one of the most efficient ways to grow and learn intellectually.

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Best Small Colleges in Ohio 2023

  1. #1

    Oberlin College

    Oberlin , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    34%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1315/30

    Career Outlook for degree at Oberlin College

    Cost of Degree: $62,024
    Expenses: $22,206
    Starting Salary: $27,447
    Salary after 4 years: $43,742
    Cost Recoup Time: 23 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. #2

    Denison University

    Granville , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    28%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1325/30

    Career Outlook for degree at Denison University

    Cost of Degree: $60,000
    Expenses: $16,900
    Starting Salary: $38,931
    Salary after 4 years: $48,386
    Cost Recoup Time: 21 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  3. #3

    Kenyon College

    Gambier , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1370/31

    Career Outlook for degree at Kenyon College

    Cost of Degree: $66,490
    Expenses: $17,310
    Starting Salary: $37,122
    Salary after 4 years: $50,859
    Cost Recoup Time: 21 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  4. #5

    John Carroll University

    University Heights , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/25

    Career Outlook for degree at John Carroll University

    Cost of Degree: $47,290
    Expenses: $17,950
    Starting Salary: $42,855
    Salary after 4 years: $55,840
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio Wesleyan University

    Cost of Degree: $49,822
    Expenses: $16,785
    Starting Salary: $29,248
    Salary after 4 years: $44,074
    Cost Recoup Time: 20 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  6. #7

    Wittenberg University

    Springfield , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Wittenberg University

    Cost of Degree: $43,106
    Expenses: $14,480
    Starting Salary: $49,000
    Salary after 4 years: $51,006
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  7. #8

    College of Wooster

    Wooster , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at College of Wooster

    Cost of Degree: $57,500
    Expenses: $15,750
    Starting Salary: $32,093
    Salary after 4 years: $42,277
    Cost Recoup Time: 22 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  8. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio Northern University

    Cost of Degree: $36,530
    Expenses: $16,433
    Starting Salary: $50,591
    Salary after 4 years: $63,513
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  9. Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Career Outlook for degree at Franciscan University of Steubenville

    Cost of Degree: $31,080
    Expenses: $12,460
    Starting Salary: $41,059
    Salary after 4 years: $41,935
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Franciscan University of Steubenville known for?

    Franciscan University of Steubenville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1057/22

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Mount Union

    Cost of Degree: $34,400
    Expenses: $13,056
    Starting Salary: $47,503
    Salary after 4 years: $59,721
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  11. #12

    Cedarville University

    Cedarville , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Career Outlook for degree at Cedarville University

    Cost of Degree: $34,698
    Expenses: $12,494
    Starting Salary: $53,531
    Salary after 4 years: $58,906
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  12. #13

    Marietta College

    Marietta , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/22

    Career Outlook for degree at Marietta College

    Cost of Degree: $38,022
    Expenses: $15,022
    Starting Salary: $91,357
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  13. #14

    Tiffin University

    Tiffin , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at Tiffin University

    Cost of Degree: $30,120
    Expenses: $15,970
    Starting Salary: $45,502
    Salary after 4 years: $51,266
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Tiffin University known for?

    Tiffin University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    Central State University

    Wilberforce , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Central State University

    Cost of Degree: $7,596
    Expenses: $13,600
    Starting Salary: $27,126
    Salary after 4 years: $34,878
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  15. #16

    Capital University

    Columbus , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Capital University

    Cost of Degree: $40,350
    Expenses: $16,632
    Starting Salary: $42,876
    Salary after 4 years: $49,901
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Capital University known for?

    Capital University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Wilberforce University

    Wilberforce , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    790/16

    Career Outlook for degree at Wilberforce University

    Cost of Degree: $13,250
    Expenses: $10,200
    Starting Salary: $43,154
    Salary after 4 years: $49,391
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  17. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Union Institute & University

    Cost of Degree: $17,141
    Expenses: $15,987
    Starting Salary: $68,196
    Salary after 4 years: $77,585
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Union Institute & University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Administration
    • Human Resources Management
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Applied Technology & Business Leadership
    • Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Services Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child & Adolescent Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  18. #19

    Hiram College

    Hiram , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/20

    Career Outlook for degree at Hiram College

    Cost of Degree: $25,500
    Expenses: $13,972
    Starting Salary: $43,141
    Salary after 4 years: $50,930
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Hiram College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting And Financial Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  19. #20

    Malone University

    Canton , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Career Outlook for degree at Malone University

    Cost of Degree: $34,875
    Expenses: $15,100
    Starting Salary: $46,076
    Salary after 4 years: $52,882
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Malone University known for?

    Malone University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Walsh University

    North Canton , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1074/22

    Career Outlook for degree at Walsh University

    Cost of Degree: $32,210
    Expenses: $15,128
    Starting Salary: $46,488
    Salary after 4 years: $52,218
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Walsh University known for?

    Walsh University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #22

    Notre Dame College

    Cleveland , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Notre Dame College

    Cost of Degree: $31,950
    Expenses: $16,168
    Starting Salary: $40,855
    Salary after 4 years: $48,548
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Notre Dame College known for?

    Notre Dame College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Notre Dame College’s Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 82
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 103-107
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Mild/Moderate Intervention Specialist
    • Early Childhood
    • Required Credits: 119
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  22. #23

    Muskingum University

    New Concord , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Muskingum University

    Cost of Degree: $30,690
    Expenses: $15,318
    Starting Salary: $40,266
    Salary after 4 years: $44,467
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Muskingum University known for?

    Muskingum University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Muskingum University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    Degree Concentrations
    • Public
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Occupational Science
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Intervention Specialist
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accelerated
    • Required Credits: 71
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Community Health And Wellness
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Science
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Medical Laboratory Studies
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sport And Fitness Science
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  23. #24

    Shawnee State University

    Portsmouth , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at Shawnee State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,341
    Expenses: $17,304
    Starting Salary: $39,489
    Salary after 4 years: $48,883
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Shawnee State University known for?

    Shawnee State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  24. Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    Career Outlook for degree at Baldwin Wallace University

    Cost of Degree: $36,975
    Expenses: $20,696
    Starting Salary: $45,535
    Salary after 4 years: $52,802
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
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Ohio’s Best Small College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utilized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Oberlin College
  2. Kenyon College
  3. Denison University
  4. College of Wooster
  5. Ohio Wesleyan University
  6. John Carroll University
  7. Hiram College
  8. Wittenberg University
  9. Malone University
  10. University of Mount Union
  11. Marietta College
  12. Otterbein University
  13. Ohio Northern University
  14. Franciscan University of Steubenville
  15. Ursuline College
  16. Antioch University Midwest
  17. Ashland University
  18. Capital University
  19. Muskingum University
  20. Baldwin Wallace University
  21. Cedarville University
  22. University of Findlay
  23. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
  24. Walsh University
  25. Mount St. Joseph University
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