On the daily, I am impressed by this school’s ability to inspire kindness and a passion for learning. How is CMU able to reach students in such a meaningful way, you may ask? That would be because of our size – we’re a small university! Here are 10 reasons why studying at a small university is a smart choice.

As a person from a rural community, I was nervous about moving to the city. I was drawn to CMU because it seemed like a natural transition from high school. With the small size, I didn’t feel like I was going to get lost in the hustle-n-bustle of first year university. The familiarity made it easier to adapt to post-secondary education, which ultimately helped me do better.

Secondly, it’s important to know that you will not be a number. For the longest time I didn’t even know my student number. There is an unspoken first-name-basis rule between professors and students, which breaks down awkward walls of hierarchy. We learn together here.

With a smaller university there is a higher standard for a quality education. As you may find in your first year, classes are super small – the smallest I’ve ever had was 6 students! These intimate class settings allow for more thorough class discussions and engagements, which means you will get more out of your class.

Personal mentoring is a luxury that comes along with being a part of a small university. In my second year, one of my profs emailed me saying, “Alex, I was thinking about your paper topic and thought you might want to look at [this book].” The faculty go above and beyond here to ensure your success!

Reason number five: relationship building. It’s a given that when you’re in a smaller space, you will probably become fond of the people around you. I’ve developed relationships with not only my peers, but also with professors, that I hope to maintain after I graduate.

The community: a word that CMU may as well start to trademark. You hear this word a lot around here. No matter how involved you are on campus, whether you’re leading every single extra curricular activity possible, or maybe you choose not to participate, there are always familiar faces that will help you find where you belong.

Hospitality: something that this university not only teaches, but practices. On the first day of my first year, I recall driving up to Poettcker Hall, when all of the sudden, what seemed like dozens of students ran up to my car to help me move in and find my way around the school. It was a terrifying but much appreciated experience.

Since attending CMU, I have been challenged to grow in my faith. Last winter a Face2Face community gathering was held by CMU, exploring the topic of young adult involvement within the church. Since this discussion I have been challenged to think about my own definition of “church.” Through conversations in class with profs and with my peers, I feel more equipped to wrestle with the tough questions.

It’s safe to say that CMU cares about the personal development of their students. These past couple of weeks, myself, along with a couple of friends have been working on a job proposal for the summer. Psychology prof, Vonda Plett has been dedicating time to helping us develop a good proposal, outside of the classroom. CMU wants to inspire leaders and encourage growth.

Finally, reason number 10: at a small university you will have a voice. Maybe there was a Monday morning forum you found interesting, perhaps you want to contribute something to your fellowship group, or maybe you want to post a thought-provoking article on the Wittenberg door—there are numerous outlets for you to express your opinion and open up a conversation with your peers or staff.

These are just 10 ways that CMU has helped positively shape my university experience – hopefully you have the opportunity to experience the same!

Alex Tiessen is one of CMU’s Student Ambassadors