Small Schools vs Large Schools

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Both Big and Small Schools Have Their Pros and Cons. Which One Is Right for You?

As you start to think about graduating high school and moving on to college, you have a lot of decisions to make about where you want to go to college, and what kind of degree to pursue. Although many colleges may offer the degree plan you want to enroll in, one of the biggest choices you will have to make is choosing between attending a large university or a small college.

To give you a frame of reference, any higher learning institution with an enrollment number of more than 15,000 students is considered “big.” Keeping that number in mind, here are a few things to think about:

Big School Pros:

*Larger schools offer more academic programs to choose from
*More scholarship options to apply for
*With that many students, there are more opportunities to join in extracurricular activities and social groups
*Big universities are generally located in more metropolis areas where there are a lot of service providers to choose from (think: cable, internet, restaurant, shopping)
*Larger class sizes mean more peers to collaborate and study with
*More housing options outside of on-campus dorms
*Robust athletic programs
*More employment opportunities for work-study or off campus to earn extra spending money

Big School Cons:

*Although they offer more programs to choose from, they tend to be generalized programs so it may be hard to niche your desired academic program down to a specific concentration
*Students who are not used to so much social activity can easily get caught up in socializing and lose focus of their studies
*With that many students, it’s easy for you to get lost in the mix and become overwhelmed if you’re not used to such large social settings
*Larger class sizes mean less instructor focus per student, making it harder to get the extra help you may need
*Athletic programs are intensely competitive so making the team might not be a reality

Small School Pros:

*Due to their often rural or small town settings, small schools allow for more focus on your schoolwork rather than the distractions of an active social life in the city
*Small schools offer the opportunity for you to be more engaged with like-minded individuals rather than a mass population with general interests (e.g. liberal arts college vs. general education university)
*If you are from a small high school in a small town or rural area, small colleges offer you a similar environment to what you are already familiar with

Small School Cons:

*In some career fields, a degree from a small, unrecognized institution might not hold the same weight with prospective employers
*Small colleges are often located in small townships or rural areas where there aren’t as many service providers (cable, internet, restaurant, shopping)
*Fewer housing options outside of campus dorms, and what is available might be expensive
*Fewer employment opportunities for work-study or off campus to earn extra spending money

Of course, this list of Pros and Cons isn’t exhaustive, but it isn’t meant to be. It’s to get your mental wheels turning to help you make the best decision for your future. Hopefully, these points will have provided enough information that you’ll be able to narrow your college selection down to just the ones that not only offer the academic program you desire, but the ones that are the best fit for your personal interests, tastes, and comfort levels.

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