10 Best Small Colleges in Arizona | Expert List

10 Best Small Colleges in Arizona | Expert List

Looking for the best small colleges in Arizona? Do you want to know if there are schools in Arizona with a really small population fit for students who want to attend colleges with small class sizes?

Welcome to Arizona, then!

The Grand Canyon State isn’t just known for its stunning natural wonders; it’s also home to some exceptional small colleges that offer unique and personalized educational experiences. In this article, we’ll guide you on a journey through Arizona’s educational landscape.

From the cozy classrooms of Prescott College to the tight-knit communities of Northern Arizona University, these institutions offer more than just degrees. They provide an environment where your professors know your name and where you’re not just another student ID.

We’ll take you through the characteristics that set these colleges apart, from specialized programs to scenic campuses and the strong sense of community that makes you feel right at home. So, if you’re considering a college experience that combines quality education with a personal touch, keep reading.

Arizona’s best small colleges might be your perfect fit!

If not, check out other small colleges in Alaska and Alabama or explore our archive of the best small colleges in other states of the US.

What is the difference between small colleges and large colleges in Arizona?

The primary difference between small and large colleges in Arizona lies in the scale and scope of the institutions.

Small colleges, like Prescott College or Northern Arizona University, typically have smaller student populations, resulting in more intimate class sizes and close-knit communities. In contrast, large colleges such as Arizona State University have significantly larger enrollments, leading to larger classes and a more diverse student body.

Small colleges often emphasize personalized attention, allowing students to build stronger relationships with professors and peers. They may offer more specialized and niche programs tailored to unique interests. Large colleges, on the other hand, often provide a broader array of programs and extensive research opportunities due to their size and resources.

In summary, the key distinctions revolve around the size of the institution, class sizes, the range of academic programs, and the level of personalization and community interaction, with each type offering its own set of advantages and considerations for students.

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What are the best small colleges in Arizona?


1. Northern Arizona University

  • Enrollment: 23,772
  • Phone: +1 928-523-9011
  • Address: S San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86011

Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff, stands out as one of Arizona’s best small colleges. The university is a public research university founded in 1899 and became the final public university established in the Arizona Territory.

Northern Arizona University commits to academic excellence and a strong sense of community. The school offers a personalized learning experience, which is promoted by the small class sizes.

Its stunning mountainous backdrop and a wide range of degree programs make it an appealing choice for students seeking a small college with diverse opportunities.


2. Arizona Christian University

  • Enrollment: 1,012 
  • Phone: +1 602-386-4100
  • Address: 1 W. Firestorm Way, Glendale, AZ 85306

Arizona Christian University, situated in Phoenix, is a top choice for those seeking a faith-based education. The school is an award-winning, culturally and theologically conservative university where students and their professors are serious about deepening their Christian faith.

With a smaller campus size and a focus on Christian values, ACU provides a close-knit community and a strong sense of purpose. If you seek a university that is courageously Christian, then Arizona Christian University is the place for you.

It’s an excellent option for students who want both a quality education and a supportive environment that aligns with their spiritual beliefs.


3. Prescott College

  • Enrollment: 383
  • Phone: +1 877-350-2100
  • Address: 220 Grove Ave., Prescott, AZ 86301, United States

Prescott College, nestled in the heart of Prescott, is one of the small colleges in Arizona known for its emphasis on experiential learning and environmental sustainability.

This private school has a small class size and employs an immersive education approach, which makes it a standout choice for students passionate about ecological issues.

With a picturesque campus and a commitment to hands-on learning, Prescott College offers a unique and engaging educational experience. When you think Prescott, think community, adventure, advocacy, and hands-on real-world learning to prepare you for a leadership role in creating a more just and sustainable world.


4. Central Arizona College

  • Enrollment: 4,388
  • Phone: +1 800-237-9814
  • Address: 8470 N Overfield Rd., Coolidge, AZ 85128

Central Arizona College, with multiple campuses, provides accessible and quality education across the region. Its smaller class sizes ensure that students receive individualized attention while pursuing their academic goals.

CAC is an excellent option for those looking to begin their college journey in a supportive and community-focused environment. CAC serves the population of Pinal County.

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5. Phoenix College

  • Enrolment: 6,674
  • Phone: +1 602-285-7800
  • Address: 1202 W Thomas Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85013

Phoenix College, located in the heart of Arizona’s capital, offers a dynamic and diverse educational experience. With smaller class sizes, PC provides students with the personalized attention they need to succeed in various academic disciplines.

The vibrant urban setting and a wide array of programs make Phoenix College an attractive choice for those seeking a small college experience in a bustling city. An exception to Phoenix College is that the school is open to training students for a career, preparing them for a four-year university, or learning just for the fun of it.


6. Scottsdale Community College

  • Enrollment: 4,764
  • Phone: +1 480-423-6000
  • Address: 9000 E Chaparral Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85256, United States

Scottsdale Community College, situated in the beautiful city of Scottsdale, is an ideal choice for students looking to start their college education.

The college is student-centered, with a focus on active, engaged, and intellectually rigorous learning. The college is known for high-quality, accessible educational opportunities and innovative teaching, learning, and support services

Its smaller campus fosters a close-knit community, and SCC provides diverse academic programs and transfer options. With a focus on student success and a picturesque desert backdrop, this college offers an engaging start to one’s academic journey.


7. Eastern Arizona College

  • Enrolment: 3,187
  • Phone: +1 928-428-8472
  • Address: 615 N Stadium Ave., Thatcher, AZ 85552

Eastern Arizona College is one of the small colleges in Arizona, with campuses in Thatcher, Gila County, Greenlee County, and other locations. The community college offers a small college experience with a strong sense of community. It is the oldest community college in Arizona and the only one in the state with a marching band

EAC’s focus on quality education, smaller class sizes, and academic support services makes it an excellent choice for those seeking a well-rounded and personalized education in a rural setting.


8. Arizona State University West Campus

  • Enrollment: 3,663 
  • Phone: +1 602-543-5500
  • Address: 4701 W Thunderbird Rd., Glendale, AZ 85306

Arizona State University’s West Campus, located in Glendale, provides a smaller, more intimate experience within the larger ASU system. It is one of five university campuses that compose Arizona State University.

Its diverse academic programs and smaller class sizes ensure that students receive personalized attention.

With the prestige of the ASU name and a close-knit community, the West Campus offers an appealing option for those who want a larger university’s resources while enjoying the benefits of a smaller campus environment.


9. GateWay Community College-Washington Campus

  • Enrolment: 3,691
  • Phone: +1 602-286-8000
  • Address: 108 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

GateWay Community College’s Washington Campus in Phoenix is known for its commitment to career-focused education.

Smaller classes enable students to receive specialized instruction and hands-on training in various technical and vocational fields. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to acquire practical skills and certifications for their future careers.

Keep in mind that Gateway is one of ten regionally accredited colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District.

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10. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott Campus

  • Enrolment: 3,015
  • Phone: +1 928-777-6600
  • Address: 3700 Willow Creek Rd., Prescott, AZ 86301

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott Campus stands out as a premier institution for those interested in aviation and aerospace. ERAU offers a tailored education in these high-demand fields.

The school is a private, not-for-profit university based in Prescott, Arizona. It is an institution with an enrollment of over 681 bachelor’s degree candidates. The admission criteria are somewhat competitive, with an acceptance rate of 76%.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott Campus has a smaller campus size and specialized programs. The campus’s stunning location in Prescott and its strong ties to the aviation industry make it a top choice for aspiring pilots and aerospace professionals.


FAQs on the best small colleges in Arizona

Are small schools in Arizona as academically rigorous as larger universities?

Absolutely! Small colleges in Arizona maintain high academic standards and often offer more personalized attention, which can enhance the learning experience. Many have dedicated faculty and rigorous programs that provide a solid educational foundation.

Do Arizona’s small colleges offer a variety of academic programs?

Yes, they do. While they may not have the sheer volume of programs as larger universities, small colleges in Arizona often offer specialized and unique programs tailored to their strengths. Whether it’s environmental sciences, theology, or aviation, you can find diverse options.

Can I still enjoy a vibrant campus life at small colleges in Arizona?

Certainly! Many small schools in Arizona have active student communities, clubs, and events. The smaller size often means you’ll have closer connections with your peers, making it easier to engage in extracurricular activities.

Are there scholarship opportunities at these small colleges in Arizona?

Yes, many small colleges offer scholarships, grants, and financial aid to support their students. These opportunities can make education more affordable and accessible, so it’s wise to explore the options available.

What is the benefit of attending a small college in Arizona over a larger one?

Small colleges in Arizona offer a more intimate and community-oriented educational experience. With smaller class sizes and a close-knit environment, you’ll have the opportunity to build strong relationships with professors and peers, creating a more personalized and supportive learning environment.


In conclusion, the small colleges in Arizona offer a distinct and personalized approach to higher education, fostering strong student-faculty relationships and specialized programs that cater to diverse interests.

With their commitment to academic excellence and close-knit communities, these institutions provide a unique and enriching educational experience in the Grand Canyon State.



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