Whether you’re a high school senior choosing a college or are already an underclassman at a university and looking to transfer, you still want to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of your school’s size. I attended a state university that had over 46,000 students, but I’ve had friends who attend small private schools with 5,000 students. I’ll take the next few paragraphs to list some of the pros and cons. This is all based on my personal opinions and experiences at a large university. My assessment of small private schools may be wrong because I have never personally attended one.
From the beginning when you think of a big university (Texas, Ohio State, University of Florida) you think of sports. One of the major benefits of attending a major university is their athletic programs. If you’re a sports fan, attending a Division I soccer academy might factor into your decision. Televised matches, pep rallies, homecoming parades, and rivalries are all part of attending a great university. However, you don’t have to love sports to go to a DI school. There are thousands of students in big universities who want nothing to do with sports, and that’s okay because there are many other things to do.
Large schools are also equipped with large libraries and multimedia centres. There are many places to study and many computer labs to do your work in class. In between classes, I’d go to a computer lab (there were hundreds of computers) and surf the web or complete homework from the night before. In a small school, there may only be one library, and it may be too far out of your way. In a large school, there is a library, study room or computer lab on every corner.
Food is another perk of going to a big university. They have several lunchrooms and not to mention Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Chik-Fil-A, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and pretty much every other fast food restaurant you can think of right in the middle of campus. You can get food anywhere. And the dining halls actually have edible food. No need for Helda’s meatloaf and three-day-old peas. We had freshly baked bacon omelettes and pancakes every morning. Bet you can’t find him at Flagler College.
Some other quick benefits of a great university are the social aspects (fraternities and sororities, intramural, clubs, student government, and so on). Most universities have a distinguished faculty who know what they are doing. Another plus is that there is on-campus housing for freshmen (and sometimes sophomores). This gives you the opportunity to wake up 10 minutes before class starts and get there in your pajamas.
Some disadvantages of a large school are huge class sizes. Chances are you could have a class with 900 people. No matter what you say or how many questions you ask in class, the professor won’t know your name. Many classes are taught by teacher assistants, which means you’re not getting the quality you want. In a large university you are just a number to some people and can get lost in the crowd. Finally, all professors think they are big shots and are more concerned with their own research than with helping students.
Small universities on the other hand have smaller classes. These smaller classes can place more emphasis on learning and hands-on experience. I’ve never attended a small university but they most likely have more individualized majors. It’s not a fixed curriculum that thousands of people follow every semester. With smaller class sizes, students can get to know their professors better. This is great since it’s time to find letters of recommendation. Try getting a letter from a teacher when you were just one of 900 students in the class.
Another benefit to attending a small college is that the counselors know the students very well. Try seeing a counselor at the liberal arts college of a major university. They see a hundred kids a day and will never remember your name or what class you’re in. Plus, there’s a greater sense of community in a small school. You are not just a number on an ID card, here you are a person with a face and a name.
If you have any other questions about the size of the university, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org