Would you rather be a big fish in a little pond? Or be a little fish in a big pond? When you envision college, what do you picture? Do you picture a compact college where you run into both friends and professors? Do you picture a large campus where thousands of fans are cheering on your school’s football team? Either way, both types of schools have their pros and cons.
Larger universities often have more courses to offer than smaller universities do, therefore having more major and degree options. For example, a larger university may have the option of aerospace engineering, whereas a smaller university would not have that option. Smaller universities generally have fewer resources than larger universities; smaller class sizes, smaller libraries, fewer professors and fewer staff. However, a downside of a larger college is that their class size may be so huge there is no way a professor would know each and every student.
Class Size Differences
What is the general ratio of students to professors? At a smaller university, the ratio may be 30:1 whereas at a larger university the ratio may be 300:1. At larger universities, your class may be taught by graduate assistants, and you may not see your professor once during the entire semester. At smaller universities, your class will be taught by the professor, and you most likely will develop a one-on-one relationship with him/her.
Sense of Community
Every college has its own sense of community. However, there is a great difference between the community of both large and small universities. At larger universities, there are so many students that you couldn’t possibly get to know everyone. At smaller universities, you may get to know way more people and many of the faculty and staff over time through both classes and clubs.
When you envision your college’s program, do you picture a large arena packed with fans? Or do you picture a calmer sports scene? An advantage of larger universities is their athletic program. Most schools teams are NCAA Division 1 schools, with televised games, high-profile players and pep-rallies. With smaller universities, you can participate in intramural clubs and witness groups of friends spending Saturday afternoons tossing Frisbees around.
Greek Life is a priority for some students when it comes to choosing a college. Some smaller colleges do not offer Greek Life on campus, or their is a limited amount of opportunity to get involved in ways a student desires. Larger universities, however, usually have many different options for incoming students to go Greek.
Ah, networking. If you’re a freshman, prepare to have this word knocked into your brain countless times during your college years. If you’re a college veteran, you’re probably sick of hearing it. But, networking is a huge part of college, and it’s a significant determining factor of your post-grad life. Keep in mind that smaller college usually don’t have the same networking opportunities as larger universities do. The big-name schools often attract high-regarded faculty with lots of connections. However, at small schools, it’s easier to approach faculty and staff because of the one-on-one personal connections you get with professors. It all depends on what kind of connections you’d like to make.
Size does play a huge part in your decision, but ultimately, it’s the personality, environment and experience of the campus that makes your college experience unique
Seymone is a Freshman at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an undergraduate Computer Science and Math double major. She enjoys hiking, photography and weight lifting.