Large universities versus small universities
Whether you’re a high school senior choosing a college or a college freshman looking to transfer, you still want to know the pros and cons of your school size. I went to a state university that had over 46,000 students, but I have friends who attend small private schools with 5,000 students. I will take the following paragraphs to list some of the pros and cons. This is all based on my opinions and my personal experiences at a great university. My assessment of small private schools could be wrong because I have never personally attended one.
Right off the bat, when you think of a great university (Texas, Ohio State, University of Florida), you think of sports. One of the main advantages of going to a great university is its sports programs. If you’re a sports fan, attending a Division I soccer school could influence your decision. Televised games, pep rallies, homecoming parades, and rivalries are part of attending a great college. However, you don’t have to love sports to go to a DI school. There are thousands of students at the big universities who don’t want anything to do with sports, and that’s okay because there are so many other things to do.
Large schools also have large libraries and media centers. There are many places to study and many computer labs to do your work during class. I used to go to a computer lab (there were hundreds of computers there) between my classes and surf the web or complete my 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 advantage of attending a large university. They have multiple dining rooms and not to mention Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Chik-Fil-A, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and basically every other fast food place you can think of right in the middle of campus. You can get food anywhere. And the dining rooms actually have edible food. They don’t serve Helda’s three day old meatloaf with peas. We had fresh baked omelettes with bacon and pancakes every morning. I bet you can’t get that at Flagler College.
Some other quick perks of a great university are the social aspects (fraternities and sororities, intramurals, clubs, student government, etc.). Most universities have a distinguished faculty that knows 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 walk there in your pajamas.
Some disadvantages of a large school are large class sizes. You can probably have a class with 900 people. No matter what you say or how many questions you ask in class, the teacher won’t know your name. Many classes are taught by teaching assistants, which means you don’t get the quality you’d like. In a big university you are just a number to some people and you can get lost in the crowd. Finally, all teachers think they are good and care more about their own research than helping students.
Small colleges, on the other hand, have smaller class sizes. These smaller classes can put more emphasis on learning and hands-on experience. I have never attended a small university, but they most likely have more individualized majors. It is not a fixed curriculum that thousands of people follow each semester. With smaller class sizes, students can get to know their professors better. This is great when it’s time to find letters of recommendation. Try to get a letter from a teacher when you were just one of 900 students in the class.
Another advantage of attending a small university is that the advisors know the students very well. Try to see an advisor in the liberal arts college at a major university. They see a hundred kids a day and they’ll never remember your name or the classes you’re taking. Also, there is 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 further questions about college size, feel free to email me at [email protected]