Big Colleges versus Small Colleges

Which One is Right for YOU?

When trying to find a school that is the best fit for you, one of the major deciding factors in whether or not you want to attend a big or a small school, you’ll need to determine what is most important to you while doing your college research. For example, are you comfortable being 1 of 150 in a classroom, or do you need a smaller classroom setting?

Whatever the size, all schools, have a lot to offer. There are schools as large as 35,000 students and colleges with as little as 1,000 students. If you are undecided about what you want, it is important to plan a visit to a variety of schools that will help you get a feel of what to expect.
While not all large schools are the same, you can expect most will have a wide variety of majors and courses and a wide range of academic choices and student activities.
Most large schools have state-of-the-art research facilities as well as quite distinguished faculty. However, frequently teaching assistants teach classes for the faculty.

The well-funded sports programs at larger schools are also quite appealing for some students. If you crave new experiences and enjoy meeting new people, you will most likely be successful at a large school. With all that a big college has to offer, you still may need to be your advocate and seek out opportunities for yourself. If you are ambitious and outgoing, you might do well to take advantage of the countless opportunities offered at a large school.

If you crave a strong sense of community and know that you learn best in a smaller class setting, you will most likely want to be at a small school. You will have the opportunity to get to know your professors and be exposed to smaller class sizes and more hands-on learning opportunities at a small school. These colleges offer more individually designed majors. They have the luxury of providing a more flexible curriculum in addition to academic advisors who will help with following your unique path. Naturally, the smaller class sizes require class participation and ultimately foster close relationships with peers and faculty. As you walk through campus, you’ll likely run into quite a few people that you know.

There are various things to consider when making such a big decision regarding your future. You must do your homework. Do the research and keep an open mind on your college visits. Try to get a real sense of what your experience would be like in each environment. You should understand who you are, what you want, and your ideal learning environment.

  • Go on visits
  • Do your research
  • Talk to students
  • Learn as much as possible about your school of choice

Keep in mind that not all small schools or large schools are alike. These general statements cannot adequately define the unique environments and communities that exist at each college. College is what you make of it. Your choices, personality, and interests will define your college experience. I think it is important to visit all types of schools before making up your mind. Good luck!

In the end, college is what you make of it. Your choices, personality, and interests will define your experience. Good luck!