The Pros and Cons of Attending a Small, Private University
Guest post from AroundCampus
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend a university with a small student body, you probably did a quick Google search and found an opinion piece from someone who wants you to attend a small, private university. What you really want to see, however, is the truth told from the perspective of someone with firsthand knowledge of the good and bad qualities of small colleges. I attend a university with a total enrollment of 6,739.
- Small class size
- This could be a pro or a con, depending on what kind of person you are. If you’re like me, you’re not really a huge fan of getting lost in a crowd and not receiving a whole lot of individual attention from your professors. Even if you don’t need the attention, it’s nice to know that the professor knows your name and your face. I’ll take a class of 30 students over a class of 200 any day.
- Campus size
- Chances are if you go to a university with a smaller student body, the campus size is likely to be on the smaller end as well. A smaller campus usually means a few things, all of them positive. First of all, it takes less time to walk from your dorm to class, which means less time that you need in the morning to get ready for class and more time in bed, and nobody will complain about that. Secondly, smaller campus = less parking, which doesn’t sound like a positive until you see how cheap it is to park your car on campus, especially compared to your friends who attend bigger schools with more parking. Lastly, there are fewer places to get lost and confused when you’re a freshman and new to campus because trust me, it will happen, but you’ll survive because you’re probably closer to wherever you’re trying to go than you think.
- You see everybody!
- The combination of small student bodies and small campuses inevitably create a world where you run into people you know constantly. Whether you’re going to lunch or to class, you’ll probably be late at least once because you were already pushing it when you stopped to talk to each of the 17 people you know that you ran into on the way there.
- The sporting events leave a lot to be desired
- While you most likely didn’t choose your small university for sports, it would still be nice to have something to rally around and bond with fellow students over, and nothing has the power to do that like sports. While not all small colleges are totally inept at sports, the odds that you’ll have that much to get excited about in the sports world aren’t very good.
- You see EVERYBODY
- The downside to constantly running into people you know is that you PROBABLY aren’t exactly buddy-buddy with everyone that you know. We all have our own reasons for not wanting to see someone while we’re walking across campus, but the likelihood that you see them only goes up as student body size goes down.
- Smaller colleges means smaller college towns
- Sure we can’t all have Franklin Street right outside our windows (looking at you UNC Chapel Hill), but it would be nice to have something at least resembling a college town on or right outside of campus. My university has a few stores and a “main street” that’s about a quarter mile long, which is better than some schools, but students often find themselves driving up to an hour away if they want to hang out in a real city instead of a small town. You won’t have to share your college town with many locals, but you might wish you did if it means it would be a bit bigger.
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