As small institutions face growing challenges in terms of higher debt, cash flow shortages and bankruptcy, it’s more important than ever to prove the value of your academic programs. Rather than copying the marketing tactics of larger institutions, put your smaller college in a category of its own. Play to your strengths, stand out from your competitors and attract cost-conscious students in search of a quality school.

Let’s explore the best ways to promote your small but robust college.

Advocate Your Small Scale Status

The best place to declare your small size advantage is on your homepage. Even if students don’t land here first, they will eventually. By addressing your school’s size head-on, you don’t have to defend it later on. Be proud of your intimate culture and share the benefits of choosing a small college. It will resonate with the right audience. A higher education is a substantial investment. Students want to know that their presence on campus will make a difference.

Illustrate Your Flexible Governance

Big universities often run like big businesses. Decisions are made by higher-ups rather than the student body. Things have to be done this way to keep the campuses running. Smaller institutions, on the other hand, have more flexibility. Students are often a core part of the governance. They can voice their opinions, petition for change and have an impact on the policies set. Let prospects know that by coming to your school, their voices will be heard.

Highlight Campus Resources

Sometimes, small schools have the image of being limited on technology and resources. To clear up any doubt that prospects may have, let your campus resources be known. Though your school may be small, explain to students that they have access to the latest technology and research facilities. If you are limited on resources, consider partnering up with other schools and community organizations to expand your offerings.

Authenticate Personalized Learning

Most colleges and universities claim that they offer personalized, student-centered learning. While this may be true to some degree, small institutions are able to confirm these claims. Discuss your small class sizes and low student-to-teacher ratios. Give examples of how students can interact with their instructors to form supportive relationships. Also point out that students have many opportunities to participate in class, connect with their peers and become invested in their school’s community.


There’s nothing wrong with being a smaller college. Be proud of what you have to offer. Use content to highlight your programs, resources and technology services. Share success stories of past students, and highlight relationships that have been formed between faculty members and students. Post images of your intimate class sizes and student participation. Students in search of a smaller institution to start their lives will be engaged and willing to take the next step.