“The other day I missed the 10:40 bus to get across campus for my 11:20.”
“I never know anyone in my classes so I don’t know who to ask for help! And, they are so big that the professor has no idea who I even am!”
It was over winter break, when I was meeting up with my high school friends, that I truly understood why I decided on a small school. Hearing their conversations about their big schools and big campuses, I gave myself a high five for choosing the perfect sized school for me (not literally, but you understand the point).
“I saw your basketball team beat Uconn. That was amazing. How many people even go to your school? I have never even heard of it.”
When I answer this question, the reactions always tend to be the same. Wide-eyed and opened mouth and people tend to say something along the lines of “Damn, that’s small!” For some, they even explain how their high school had more students enrolled. What follows my nod of affirmation tends to vary, but I am normally proposed with the question, “Why in the world did you choose a school of 2,000?”
“For endless amounts of reasons.”
- I am able to wake up 15 minutes before my class, get dressed, and still make it to my seat with time to spare. I would guess that it takes a total of 5 minutes tops to walk from one end to the complete opposite. (However, wandering around campus on a nice day can provide you with a lovely walk.)
- My first semester, my biggest class was 28 and my smallest was nine. The one-to-one connection you can make with your professors is beyond nice. It truly helps you stay engaged and have better outcomes academically, giving each student more attention from the teacher. It also helps you form connections with peers you might not have gotten to know otherwise. My class of nine allowed me to be on a name to name basis with President Guarasci and we got to attend field trips for free. The learning experience is 10x better with smaller classes, I promise.
- There is always a friendly face. My biggest fear entering college was that I would never make connections with anyone. But anytime I walk through campus, I am assured to see at least one person I know. This helps eliminate some of the fear of eating alone or attending a club meeting and not knowing anyone.
- Opportunities are more available. We are such a close knit community, with the surrounding communities and alumni. This provides our students with endless opportunities whether it is internships, job shadowing, mentors, or work experience. Even though it is small, there is always something going on or something to attend. Rather than beating a crowd of 500 like you might at Uconn, anyone is always welcomed at Wagner.
- Yes, you know the athletes. Some might even be your best friends. My friends at Uconn think of their athletes as superstars, and maybe they are. However, so are ours. In fact, our boys basketball team upset the Uconn boys. So yes, you get to know the “superstars” of college.
- Your classmates are on Broadway. And they know who you are. A fellow freshmen in my computer class had previously spent the night before performing on Broadway’s Chicago. But it’s no biggie, she knows my name and we chit chat regularly.
- Someone is always willing to help or say hi. Due to the size of the school, you tend to recognize everyone’s face after a semester here even if you don’t know their name. However, this makes the little quirks a little bit easier because everyone is so kind and welcoming. We are like a really big family.
The reasons for why a small school, specifically Wagner College, is wonderful could go on for ages. I understand a small campus is not for everyone, but for those who want a tight knit environment with the rest of the world a ferry ride away, Wagner College might just be the place for you.