If you’re looking at colleges, you may be tempted select a large university. Universities do offer a large variety of options for degrees and coursework, but that doesn’t always mean they’re the best choice. Smaller college campuses may be able to provide you with a superior education as well as a better educational experience. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t dismiss a small college out of hand.
1. Smaller Classrooms
A major advantage of not attending a big university is that you don’t have to deal with large class sizes. At some universities, classes have to be taught in lecture halls that seat more than 100 students. However, according to US News, many smaller schools offer classes with fewer than 20 students in them; some of these colleges have as little as 10 students for every teacher on staff. This means that you can expect far more attention from instructors and will have greater opportunities to participate in classroom discussions.
2. Better Instruction
Along with reduced classroom size, you’re also likely to benefit from better teachers. This is because most small colleges do not offer graduate programs. If you go to a school that only offers undergraduate degrees, a graduate student won’t be assigned to teach your course, which is often the case with larger schools. Instead, you’re far more likely to end up with an instructor who has experience with their subject and isn’t essentially another student. While there is the possibility of taking a class taught by someone who just graduated, this isn’t all that common, and at least your instructor will have finished their education.
3. More Personal Attention
In a smaller school, you’re not likely to end up as another face among the crowd or, even worse, just a number. Since student bodies will be smaller, you’ll be competing with fewer people for your instructors’ attention, so if you have questions or need help, assistance is easier to obtain. This is also true for counselors and administrative staff. Getting help choosing a major, finding student aid or obtaining assistance with changing your coursework tends to be a lot easier when staff aren’t responsible for helping tens of thousands of other students.
4. Customize Your Major
If you decide to go to a large university, it is very likely that you will be required to take a certain set of classes to be able to earn your degree. You may have some choices when it comes to electives, but most large schools don’t give you a lot of leeway when it comes to picking which courses you want to take. However, smaller schools are often more willing to work with students. In addition to giving you more options for selecting courses for existing majors, some schools will even allow you to create your own major.
5. Closer Communities
Another advantage of smaller schools is that you’re likely to have several classes with the same people. At large universities, it can be very difficult to get to know people, especially with class sizes being so large. While this is not the case for everyone, many people find college life to be difficult if they do not have a social circle. If you feel intimidated when you are in large groups of people, a small campus may be a great place for you to make friends.
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While large universities often offer more degree programs and greater name recognition, they may not offer the best environment for you or provide a better education. There’s nothing wrong with picking a large university, but you may not want to write off the benefits of attending a small college.