Is a Large or Small College Right for You?
When you think about college, do you picture a compact campus where you run into friends between classes? Or do you envision big Saturday-afternoon football games, with thousands of fans cheering on your college's team? Are you participating in small-group discussions or listening carefully to your professor lecture?
There are no right answers to these questions—only what feels right to you. A college's size affects many aspects of the college experience, from your classes to your extracurricular activities to your social life.
Learning and Size
A college's size often affects the size of its classes. In general, larger schools tend to have larger classes, especially at the freshman level. You may find yourself taking notes along with a hundred other students in your Introduction to Psychology class. If you prefer being somewhat anonymous in class, large lecture courses are the way to go.
At smaller colleges, you may find fewer lecture courses and more courses that emphasize class participation. These types of classes facilitate closer contact with faculty and other students, which is attractive to some students but not all.
Of course, smaller colleges may still have some large classes, and large universities may offer a variety of small classes (especially in upper-level courses). But if you have a definite preference for a particular style of learning, look more closely at the colleges that offer more classes in that style.
Who teaches your classes can also depend on the college's size. Large universities often have many professors who are tops in their field of research. But undergraduates may not have much contact with these professors. Instead, teaching assistants (graduate students) may do the bulk of the teaching and grading, while the professors only lecture.
"This is not necessarily a negative," notes Marsha Gardner, college counselor at The College Preparatory School (CA). "There are some very good T.A.s [teaching assistants] who are often better teachers than the faculty members." However, she adds, this practice is something to consider if "big-name" professors are one of the reasons a particular college interests you.
At smaller colleges, particularly those with no graduate programs, you may not run into as many "big-name" research professors, but you will likely have far more interaction with the faculty. Many small colleges pride themselves on fostering mentoring-type relationships between professors and students.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. © 2008 National Association for College Admission Counseling.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
WORKBOOKSMay Workbooks are Here!
WE'VE GOT A GREAT ROUND-UP OF ACTIVITIES PERFECT FOR LONG WEEKENDS, STAYCATIONS, VACATIONS ... OR JUST SOME GOOD OLD-FASHIONED FUN!Get Outside! 10 Playful Activities
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Bullying in Schools
- A Teacher's Guide to Differentiating Instruction
- First Grade Sight Words List