Small College Advantages
- Small Class Sizes
- More Contact with Teachers
- Better Relationships with Advisers
- Unique Majors
- Less Competition
One of the most important decisions that you need to make when looking at colleges is whether big or small colleges offer the opportunities that you need. Large colleges can often feel overwhelming because you take classes with hundreds of other students. Those campuses are often hard to navigate as well, especially as a new student. When you look at some of the advantages of smaller schools, you may decide that a smaller campus is best for you.
Small Class Sizes
Students often select smaller campuses because of the smaller class sizes. When you attend a major university and take a freshmen lecture, you might sit in a lecture hall with 200 to 300 other students. Trying to ask a question or get feedback on a paper you wrote is almost impossible. A smaller school might have classes with 20 or fewer students. These smaller classes help you get answers to questions you have and allow you to express your opinions.
More Contact with Teachers
Another advantage to a small school is that you will have more contact with your professors both in and out of the classroom. You can stop by before or after class to speak with the professor for a few minutes, or you can take advantage of office hours. When you attend a larger school, professors will often let their teaching assistants lead class discussions, grade papers and meet with students. You may never have the chance to speak with one of your teachers in person because those teachers do not have time in their schedules to meet with all students.
Better Relationships with Advisers
No matter what major you select, you must meet with a professor from that department who serves as your adviser. Your adviser is responsible for checking the requirements for your program, helping you pick the classes to take each semester and ensuring that you meet the minimum requirements. The adviser you have on a larger campus will work with dozens or even hundreds of students and will likely due the bare minimum. An adviser working on a smaller campus will get to know you as a person and can remember things like what you want to do with your degree and the classes you took in the past.
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Large colleges often offer more majors than small colleges do, but small campuses offer more unique majors as well as personalized majors. One option is an interdisciplinary studies major. This type of program includes courses from different departments and programs that you take to meet the requirements for graduation as well as study topics that interest you and work with your career goals. Some schools will also give you the chance to build your own program from the ground up with help from your adviser.
If you're the type of person who thrives on competition, you might prefer a larger campus. Most students will like the lack of competition found on smaller campuses. These schools often receive fewer applications and have a higher acceptance rate, which means that your chances of getting in are higher. As there are less students enrolled on that campus, you have less competition when it comes to getting a spot in a popular class, signing up for an internship or even snagging one of the college's scholarships.
Larger campuses have benefits like more activities and clubs for students, but some students may find those campuses overwhelming and just a little too much to handle. When comparing small colleges to large ones, think about the benefits of small campuses like smaller class sizes and unique majors.