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Ohio’s Small, Private Colleges with Big Time Professional Programs


Many of Ohio’s private colleges were formed in the 1800s as denominationally affiliated liberal arts colleges. These Liberal Arts colleges typically educated students from affluent families with the goal of helping them become well rounded, learned citizens with broad general knowledge and intellectual capabilities. They tended to be small, residential, collegial, and the curriculum included arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences (as opposed to professional or technical subjects). In a few of my prior posts, we looked at the renowned “Big 5 Liberal Arts Colleges of Ohio.”

The “professionals” in the early days, were educated and groomed through some combination of trade schools, technical schools, and/or apprenticeships. Of course things have changed. For one thing, professions have become much more complex, specialized, resource intensive, and demanding – can you say, “engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law, business, and computer science?” For another thing, jobs have become more technical, often requiring professional education for entry. Thus the practical notion of earning a living has moderated the demand for a purely liberal arts education. The professional programs of today compete for our brightest students and challenge them with demanding academic programs. In many of today’s professional programs, yesterday’s liberal arts are transformed into “general education requirements.”

So, what has happened to all these small, Ohio liberal arts colleges that aren’t part of the “Big 5?” Well, the short answer is that they have, to different degrees and in different ways, migrated into adding professional programs…with varying results. So, let’s first take a look at a small set of Ohio’s smaller, private colleges that have found a way to become professional program powerhouses while still maintaining a strong liberal arts core.

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed, click here: