Small colleges are a preferred choice for many students seeking an environment where classes are taught by professors rather than graduate students; smaller class sizes so those same professors know students and can advise them accordingly; curriculum flexibility so students can tailor their classes and major to a specific career path; and even a desire to play in multiple sports while also in a rigorous academic environment. Students at colleges of less than 1,000 students also provide a stronger social community than those possible at large universities. Those social connections are especially important for students who don’t already have their sights set on their goals and want an opportunity to explore other avenues. Local educational offerings mean non-traditional students don’t have to go out of town either for a good post graduate education.
Small colleges are good for communities too. Colleges are great economic development assets in a community. They provide strong paying jobs, attract an educated workforce; provide significant economic and cultural investments and contributions to a community as well as increasing the appeal of a community to newcomers. A small college also might help reduce the amount of brain drain of a community’s best and brightest by retaining them within the community. The quality of life is enhanced with the presence of a small college too.
It goes without saying that small colleges increase a community’s population — especially when the college’s student population is growing, such as that long experienced at NCCC’s Ottawa campus and recently at Ottawa University too. OU’s 22 percent enrollment increase is a compliment to the university’s efforts as well as the community. That growth couldn’t be happening at a better time either with OU’s coming 150th birthday, new building construction, more curriculum choices offer many reasons to celebrate.
Back to school time is a time of renewed focus on academics and other intellectual pursuits. We’re glad Ottawa’s two small colleges are doing all they can to keep growing their student populations and ensuing payback to the community too.
— Jeanny Sharp,
Editor and Publisher