Ideas for Small Colleges to Consider

In reading your description, Dickinson was the first college that sprang to mind. I would run the Net Price Calculator to see if it would hit your budget.

I think that many of the Colleges That Change Lives would be of interest to you. It’s an association of schools that were commended by a NY Times author in a book by that name. The association’s website provides more detailed profiles on each school than are commonly available elsewhere: College Profiles – Colleges That Change Lives.

These schools had some of the highest number/proportion of Spanish majors (of schools east of the Mississippi with 3k or fewer students, the feds’ website College Navigator as the source).

  • Berry (GA) - 5 majors out of 445; 2172 undergrads (has some popular multi/interdisciplinary majors, but they aren’t specified in IPEDS)
  • Centre (KY) - 9 majors out of 339; 1,320 undergrads (23 majors in international/globalization studies)
  • DePauw (IN): 8 majors out of 497; 1,724 undergrads
  • Earlham (IN): 8 majors out of 230; 658 undergrads
  • Kalamazoo (MI): 7 majors out of 384; 1,241 undergrads
  • Susquehanna (PA ): 6 majors out of 529; 2,197 undergrads
  • Washington & Jefferson (PA ): 6 majors out of 246; 1,156 undergrads

These schools had a lesser proportion/number of Spanish majors, but might still be of interest:

  • Knox (IL): 3 majors; 1156 undergrads
  • Lycoming (PA ): 3 majors; 1089 undergrads
  • Nazareth (NY): 3 majors; 2,057 undergrads
  • North Central (IL): 4 majors; 2,404 undergrads
  • Oglethorpe (GA): 3 majors; 1446 undergrads. Also has a flagship match program and it participates in the Atlanta schools consortium so can take classes at Emory, Morehouse, etc.
  • Ohio Wesleyan: 4 majors; 1339 undergrads
  • Randolph-Macon (VA): 4 majors; 1501 undergrads
  • Rhodes (TN): 4 majors; 2050 undergrads
  • Roanoke (VA): 4 majors; 1863 undergrads
  • College of Wooster (OH): 4 majors; 1968 undergrads

I stopped listing the # of international relations/studies type majors, as I knew I would run out of time. I’m sure other colleges besides Centre have a number of majors in those fields.


One more to throw out - and yes it’s an OOS public.

FAU has their Honors College in Jupiter Florida. Under 1K students. Has scholarships. While I don’t know anyone who has gone, seems awesome on line and has both a Spanish and Intl Studies concentration.

FAU | Wilkes Honors College - Homepage

FAU | Wilkes Honors College - Major Concentrations

1 Like

Franklin and Marshall. Hamilton could be a good reach option.

1 Like

You might want to have St. Louis University on your radar. The main campus (~8500 undergrads, only about 20% Greek) is west of the Mississippi, but only by 3 miles. But the particular draw is that they also have a campus in Madrid, where undergrads can do not only traditional semesters abroad, but also a 2+2 plan (2 years in Madrid, 2 in St. Louis) or for some majors, the entire degree in Madrid. Students in Madrid still earn a US degree and are instructed primarily in English. There seem to be soccer opportunities at multiple levels, and and several majors in his areas of interest Degrees and Programs : SLU A bit outside your stated parameters but maybe worth running up the proverbial flagpole.


@momnc Does your son like larger cities or smaller towns? Raleigh has a ton of soccer opportunities including adult and indoor leagues, many high quality pickups and games. Take a look at William Peace University. They have a pretty cool international studies program. The campus is in a super fun area near downtown. Most kids I know are A/B chill students.

If he wants to play collegiate soccer than take a look at St. Andrews. He might have a shot as a walk on if he is good, like showcase classic level good. But the college is very isolated.


Here’s the Parents of B students 2024 group if you haven’t already found it.

There are usually a lot of B+/A- students in those groups too.

BTW, you might want to change your username to something more anonymous.

1 Like

Wow, lots of good places to explore! – thanks everyone!

He prefers places that aren’t too isolated and would like a place that leans to the left politically.

Obviously, visits to many of the potential options will be on the agenda over the next year, but it won’t be possible to visit every place. So narrowing options will be important. In addition to looking at college websites, researching forums like this, and talking to counselors, what are some ways that people have found particularly helpful in narrowing down options and choosing where to actually visit?

Dickinson is among the schools that appear in both of these sites:


A male student from the South would be very attractive to a Wesleyan (CT) adcom. It’s sporty without being fratty; leans left; a green and leafy campus that is a stone’s throw from New Haven, Springfield (MA), Hartford (CT). Worth running its Net Price Calculator:


Furman has a good Spanish department with popular major

“Interested in languages, international relations and culture.”

In addition to checking the other boxes, Wooster is the most internationally diverse college in Ohio and one of the most in the U.S.


Tough one to get into.

Macalaster is a good suggestion and appears to be (very) slightly east (actually north due to the orientation of the river at that point!). I thought of St. Olaf, which might be a hair west (or south) and might be slightly larger than the others. Dickinson sounds like a good choice as well.


By this consideration, this site places Denison ahead of Wooster:

Since we’re talking Ohio colleges, I thought I’d mention Kenyon. It does have some Greek life, but it doesn’t dominate campus life at all and is more like clubs. I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of their foreign languages program. My daughter, who is a very happy junior there, was planning to continue with languages in college but didn’t think she would major. But she liked her language classes so much that she added a second major in Modern Languages. There’s also an opportunity to work as a language TA, if your son is interested. Lots of study abroad options, including Spain. A very collaborative and yet academically rigorous environment. It is a bit isolated, but there’s a bigger town 10 minutes away and Columbus is an hour drive. Sports are quite prominent, although there’s a lot of emphasis on the arts, too. A nice mix.


Dickinson College is an excellent match for the community and his interests.


Agreed he could be a desirable admit to Wesleyan or Vassar which seem to be great fits.


A-B student - I assume when someone notes this that they’re likely not at the elite school level.

Are there similar schools a notch down that might be more realstic? I know lots of been listed - but if these are strong matches, what is their little cousin?


Dickinson, Juniata, Richmond, Wooster, Kenyon-- these are all “little cousins” and fantastic places for a kid looking for that kind of vibe.


Connecticut college? Holy Cross? Skidmore?