Colleges With Low Student-to-Faculty Ratios

If you prefer a more intimate higher learning experience, you may want to consider these colleges.

By Ashley Henshaw | February 17, 2017

Caltech's campus is located just steps from Old Town Pasadena.

If you’re worried about getting lost in the shuffle in huge college courses, then consider looking for a school with a low student-to-faculty ratio. This number signifies how many students there are for each faculty member at the college; a low number indicates that professors may be more accessible to students. Check out these schools with low student-to-faculty ratios and their rankings according to U.S. News and World Report to see what they have to offer prospective students.

While many of the schools with the lowest student-to-faculty ratios are ranked highly, it’s important to keep in mind that the two things don’t always go hand-in-hand.

California Institute of Technology

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3:1
Location: Pasadena, California
Ranking: #10 among national universities

Caltech beats out all the competition when it comes to student-to-faculty ratio. With an amazing ratio of 3:1, this school is a great option for students who want lots of one-on-one time with their professors. U.S. News and World Report notes that nearly 59 percent of classes at this college have fewer than 20 students. In addition, Kiplinger reports that professors are often found having lunch with students or sticking around after classes to answer questions. Considering that Caltech is one of the top research universities in the country, those looking to participate in research can often find willing mentors to provide guidance during their studies.

Rice University

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 4:1
Location: Houston, Texas
Ranking: #18 among national universities

With over 3,800 students enrolled, Rice University is one of the larger schools to boast such a stellar student-to-faculty ratio. Boasting Division I athletics, an urban campus and plenty of majors from which to choose, this school offers many of the perks of a large college campus, while also offering plenty of interaction with faculty members. Nearly 70 percent of classes have 20 students or fewer, so many professors at Rice get to know their students by name.

Duncan Hall is Rice University's computational engineering building.

Princeton University

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Ranking: #1 among national universities

It’s a major bonus that Princeton, one of the most prestigious colleges in the U.S., offers a low student-to-faculty ratio in addition to their top-notch academic programs. This university is also known for having a high percentage of students who graduate in four years (90 percent), which is surely due in part to faculty involvement. The Ivy League school also has a beautiful campus and a relatively large student body (over 5,300 enrolled). In short, Princeton is a top choice for academically gifted students who value one-on-one time with professors.

Columbia University

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Location: New York, New York
Ranking: #4 among national universities

While a place like Manhattan can cause some people to feel anonymous, that won’t happen to students who attend Columbia University. This school boasts a great student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1 and nearly 80 percent of classes with fewer than 20 students. At most schools, this type of ratio simply means that students will get plenty of chances to participate in class discussions and ask their professors for academic advice. But at Columbia, it’s an opportunity to meet some of the greatest minds in the world. As of 2010, Columbia had 79 Nobel laureates as faculty, adjunct faculty, researchers or alumni.

Three U.S. Presidents have graduated from Columbia.

University of Chicago

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Ranking: #5 among national universities

The University of Chicago is consistently a top-ranked school in the U.S. The university’s low student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1 also makes it a great choice for students who want a challenging and intimate academic experience. The University of Chicago also has over 77 percent of classes with 20 students or less, and the level of student satisfaction is famously high (the freshman retention rate is an incredible 98.5 percent). Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, this campus boasts an especially tight-knit community. In fact, many of the college’s professors are known to live in the neighborhood, so students will regularly see faculty members both in and out of the classroom.

While many of the schools with the lowest student-to-faculty ratios are ranked highly, it’s important to keep in mind that the two things don’t always go hand-in-hand. Some of the schools with the lowest ratios, like Virginia Intermont College and Bryn Athyn College, received Rank Not Published (RNP) designations from U.S. News and World Report, which means that their numerical ranking was in the bottom quarter of the rankings results. So do your homework when it comes to these schools; always look beyond the bare statistics to get a full picture of what each college has to offer.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: What Does it Mean?
Small, Medium or Large? Finding the Right Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Explore Colleges By Region, Size and Specialty
What Does a Typical College Class Schedule Look Like?

See All Finding the Right College Articles

Quick Search: Find the College that's Right for You!

OR

Visit Our Student Center

Get on track!

Visit our Student Center

And find out everything you need to know about planning for college.