Small School Vs. Big School

It's Decision Time Folks! In about 2 weeks students will be committing to the colleges they will be attending for the next four years. I know for me, I had trouble deciding what exactly I was looking for when it came to schools and their sizes. So I'm going to break it down for you. What are the biggest differences between a small school and a big school? What are their perks? What are their flaws? I'll let you know.

Perks

Small School 

Campus Life

  • Easy to get involved--Clubs are always looking for interested people to join in on the organization and be a part of something awesome!
  • Leadership Positions--With less people competing for leadership roles, it's easy to obtain them starting as early as your Freshman year. These positions will give you hands on experience, a new skill-set, and will great on a college resume.
  • Many options--It may seem like with a small school there wouldn't be many clubs-NOT TRUE! Wagner, a school with roughly 1,800 students has about 70 registered student organizations. These range from academic clubs to sororities to leadership councils.
  • Smaller crowds--When it comes to dining halls and residence halls, with less students there is less congestion. The dining hall never feels always crowded and I've never had to wait to take a shower.

Academic Culture 

  •  Small class sizes--I've never had a class with more then 25 students and have had many with as little as 15. Having such small class sizes really allows for a close bond between teachers and students.
  • No TA's--All courses are taught by professors, no TA's are responsible for delivering information between students and teachers.
  • Office Hours--Many small schools, like Wagner, require their professors to have as many office hours as they have class hours. This way, you can always find your professors and get any help or feedback you may need.
  • Academic Resources--For every department, there are peer tutors. These people have been recommended by professors because they excelled in the course and are a resource for you to go to with any questions. There is also a writing center where you can recieve feedback on any wrtiting samples.

Big School

Campus Life 

  • LOTS OF FUN--With a big campus, there is ALWAYS going to be some sort of party going on--whether it's a school sponsored event or taking place in dorms or campus houses. This where those party's you see on the TV shows and movies will take place.
  • Spaces--When you have a big campus, you have a wide variety of facilities on campus, such as a TV studio, a radio station, ect. (Many small schools have this too though)
  • Options--With a big school, there are so many different options--dining options, dorming options, club options--and none of them are alike. There are a lot of opportunities to find what you would perfer in all of those departments. Many big campuses have several fast food or seating dining options on campus that you can use. Most big schools also have apartment style living if you're interested in that.
  • Diversity--There are going to be a wide variety of people coming from varied walks of life around that you can get to know and learn more about.

Academic Culture

  • Variety--Big schools have more of a liberty to offer more varied classes within majors or electives. You can take some really interesting classes in a variety of areas you may not be able to at a small school. Also, even if you're in one major, you can take classes in another that a smaller school may not have.
  • Notable Professors--Usually professors are drawn to bigger schools if they really want to increase the size of their wallets. This is why big schools draw in a lot of iconic and notable professors. And these professors know their ish! Get your foot in the door with them and they can lurch you forward into your successful future.
  • Strong Departments--Bigger schools tend to top the lists of Best Business College or Best Science College etc etc. With a big school, there are so many resources, whether financially or academically, that it's easy for these departments to lead to many opportunities with their strong programs. Additionally, within the departments, there are usually programs that help students gain real life experience.
  • Study Help--While there are bigger class sizes at a bigger school, there are more students meaning more people to connect with in your classes to be able to work with to study or complete projects.

Flaws

Small School

  • Less dining options--A small school isn't going to have fast food restaurants on it's campus. Depending on the campus location, there may be dining options around it, but on campus small schools are usually limited to just a few options ran by a dining service.
  • Less dorming options--With a smaller school, you won't always be able to get the dorming/housing experience you want because there aren't as many options on where you can live.
  • Everyone knows everyone--This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're looking for somewhere you can blend in and have no one know you, this could be hard. Additionally, things spread quickly. Any gossip or drama and a lot of people will know about it in very little time.
  • Not as many parties--While there are parties on campus, some weekends are so dry and boring and if you don't have the means to go out to bars, then some nights are going to be extremely bland.

Big School

  • Easy to get lost--With such a huge environment, it can be extremely overwhelming to put yourself out there and take on the opportunities presented to you. Also, many people will find their niche early and you could be lost in translation.
  • Busy--Even with a lot of options and opportunities, it doesn't mean that things aren't always crowded. Waiting for buses or in lines can get pretty long and chaotic at a bigger school.
  • Battling for Resources--With more students, there is a higher demand for jobs, internships, academic help, housing, dining, and involvement. That being said, there will be a lot of challenges within students of the same institution battling for the same things.
  • Harder to move forward--It won't be easy to obtain leadership positions in organizations starting your freshman year.  Many of these positions are coveted positions obtained only by juniors and seniors.

You always have to keep in mind that the "Flaws" aren't always bad things. Also, you have to understand that when sacrificing one thing, you are gaining another. For example, a big school may have more dining options, but it doesn't have class sizes of 15-25 students. Ya see what I mean? It's all about figuring out what YOU are looking for in a school and choosing the school that has those benefits that will also help you excel and make yourself the perfect candidate for jobs and graduate school placement.

Good luck!

Dillon Quinn

Author: Dillon Quinn

Wazzup?! My name is Dillon! I'm a Sophomore, Arts Administration major and Film and Media Studies minor, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota! I'm addicted to all things pop culture and I enjoy flavored creamer, fine literature, tourist traps, stand-up comedy, febreze, musical theatre, and poetry. You can find me, or hear me from afar, on campus being overly social or eating. My dream is to work in TV or Film but ya never know where life is gonna take you! Stay true!

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