Are you a student who likes contact with professors? Are you a student who likes lectures or discussions? Is access to research and internships an important part of your college experience? Students who like small classes, access to professors and discussion classes may fare better at a smaller (2,000-5,000) institution. Students who want to do research, who like lecture classes and who thrive in large classes may do better at a larger school (5,000+), although you will need to check whether undergraduates have access to research and professors. The bottom line? Visit both and see what fits.
Attributing campus size to available resources might prove deceptive. Pomona College, for example, has only 1,500 undergraduates, smaller than many high schools. Yet, as part of the Claremont College Consortium, containing 5 undergraduate and 2 graduate schools, Pomona has a 2,500-seat concert hall, numerous art studios, interscholastic athletic teams, and a 1.9 million volume library. Pomona students can cross register for over 2,500 different courses, study abroad, participate in exchange programs with Swarthmore College, or a 3-2 engineering program with Cal Tech. Consequently, it pays to investigate a college regardless of size. You might find vast resources among small dimensions.
High school students often make the assumption that a certain kind of campus (large vs. small) offers a certain kind of education or community, and so often, they find their assumptions off the mark. Large campuses can appeal hugely to students from small public or independent schools; small campuses can offer a lot to students who come from huge high schools. So much depends on the student and how he or she envisions life beyond high school. And until students actually get onto a large or small campus, it’s hard for them to know what life is really like on a given campus
You have to decide what you specifically want from a college and then make sure that size can offer you those requirements. If you are going to be a science major, you need to make sure you will be guaranteed a science research slot BEFORE your senior year, that work will be important for you to have when doing grad school applications and you also need to know before senior year if you like lab work. Thinking about med or law school? Make sure you will be in small enough classes where the professor will know you so she can write you a letter of recommendation.
Using David Letterman’s “Top Ten List” concept, here are the “Top 10 advantages of smaller colleges over larger ones:” #10) smaller classes, #9) closer relationships with professors, #8) more personal attention, #7) greater mentoring, #6) a finer sense of family and community, #5) a collaborative rather than competitive atmosphere, #4) larger emphasis on student research projects, internships and job connections, #3) better advising, #2) more seminar and discussion classes, and #1) a much higher record for getting into graduate school. By comparison, larger colleges offer more students, majors, courses, access to graduate programs, activities, sports and bureaucracy, rules and regulations (aka, red tape).
I think many people consider SIZE as a reliable factor when, in fact, it doesn’t really mean that much in choosing a college. The real factor should be how you learn best, and many people learn better from individualized attention. It’s easier to get that at a smaller college, but even at huge universities, you can find smaller learning communities that give you exactly what you need. My advice is not to get hung up on size. After four years, it won’t matter anyway. Look at how you learn best instead, and find a community that matches that.
It is very common for high school students to think negatively about a college that is similar in size to their high school. This is NOT a good assumption. Firstly, in college, one’s ‘friends’ come from across all four grades. That is a wide circle of potential friends! Secondly, at a smaller college, one will have the advantage of doing research that usually goes to graduate students. Third, the probability of graduating in 4 years is also higher at a small college because you will get your courses. And yes, your sports team might not be on ESPN every Saturday, but the school spirit can be just as significant at a small college as at a huge university.
Students are often limited in their experience based on what their high school is like and they narrow their college choices based on what they think they know. A good student can find success in any environment, large, medium or small. But a student can optimize their experience when they have the most options. Large universities provide a broader range of types of students to know and learn alongside. Not only breadth of majors, but depth in the academic areas will be more prevalent at a large school. Opportunities to take leadership roles will expand as the number of student run organizations increases, as will the scope of potential items to the student’s resume.
Size is all about perspective: one person’s cozy, intimate experience at a small school is someone else’s claustrophobic cage. Conversely, one student revels in the unlimited choices, both socially and academically, of a large university while another feels lost and overwhelmed in the relative anonymity of large classes and a less personal environment. Sometimes a medium sized school fits the bill if you are looking for some combination of the two; you may find Division 1 sports along with small classes, and lots of research opportunities coupled with knowing your professors well enough to get substantive recommendations. Consider the size of your high school; are you looking to approximate that experience, or try the opposite?
The size of a college is definitely a factor to consider when selecting a university. Students that chose big institutions tend to be independent, self-starters, and enjoy being in large crowds and among diverse populations. On the other hand, students who like to get to know their professors, fellow students, and like feeling that others know them by name, tend to consider the smaller universities. Larger schools offer more amenities, however smaller schools tend to provide more one-on-one services. There are benefits to attending both large and small institutions; however the benefits are usually determined by a student’s personal preference.
I often hear people telling the young, somewhat shy student that he needs to attend a small college with yes, small class sizes. It might be appropriate but I believe the decision requires self-reflection by the individual that focuses on and examines learning style. Are you an individual who assimilates information in a classroom by absorbing instruction, preparing independently, and by listening intently? Or are you an individual who learns more effectively by being an active contributor in classroom discussion, who enjoys vibrant and challenging debate? The answer to these questions will help determine the learning environment that will better meet your needs.
A student population of 10,000 at one college could feel much more manageable than a student population of 10,000 at another college because of other variables such as a college’s advising system, average class size, or campus environment and location. With this in mind, the sooner you start visiting college campuses, the sooner you will be able to determine the ideal combination of characteristics that your college campus should possess. While size is important to some applicants, others don’t prefer big, medium, or small because to them other factors are far more important.
I admit to a small college bias. My college had 750 students, the same number as my high school class. It never felt too small. For one year I attended a large university and, while I enjoyed the spirit of the place, I disliked the anonymity. At the small school, I was encouraged to form my own opinion, find my voice and try it out. For me, the close community, the relationships I had with faculty who cared about me as a person, and the opportunity to have my independent research encouraged, was more important than anything the large college offered.
Larger universities (over 6,000 undergraduates) offer some advantages over smaller colleges, and are good for students who can advocate for themselves. If a student wants personal relationships with professors and smaller classes then a smaller college would be a better match. Larger public universities can be state funded and therefore charge less tuition. However, smaller colleges may have large endowments with more money to distribute in grants and aid. More students and more alumni can mean more money. That gives large universities a multitude of resources, the ability to hire top faculty and sustain state of the art academic programs and recreational/athletic facilities. Smaller colleges may have more of a “community feel” and great resources as well.
Small colleges have distinct personalities. Are you quirky, free-spirited, intellectual, religious, conservative, or highly social? You will be able to express yourself in a welcoming environment where you are likely to make friends for life. Are you serious about academics? Your professors will get to know you (and challenge you), and you will not compete with graduate students for their attention. Do you have varied interests? You will be able to participate in and even lead many activities. If the school is a good fit for you academically and socially, your college years could be amazing.
Among the benefits of a small liberal arts college is the ease with which faculty gets to know the students. An Occidental professor says that by the second day of class, he knows each student by first name. At Cornell College the faculty pays close attention to each student and can identify whether a student needs help. Students can’t sit in the back of a lecture room and go unnoticed. Also, research opportunities in small schools can be as good as those in major universities. If it’s Big Ten sports you’re seeking or a chance to be anonymous, a large university might suit you.
Colleges and universities range from 55 to over 60,000 students-and the size of a school really does matter! Ask yourself these questions to discover which settings are right for you: how do I envision the environment where I want to spend my time, what does it look and feel like? In what type of setting do I do my best work, small or large classes? What social situations are most comfortable for me? Small to medium events or large crowds? The reality is, in large schools it is possible to find smaller grouping – smaller majors, departments, residence hall situations and extracurricular activities. So look carefully!
Smaller schools are often more willing evaluate you holistically, evaluating more than your GPA and test scores. And the vast majority of test-optional colleges are smaller schools. You need to know yourself as a learner. If you want to know your professors, that’s much easier to do at a smaller school. If you want discussion-based classes, they’re easy to find at smaller schools, but at larger schools (over 10,000) you might not have them until junior year. You can find Greek life, sports and rah-rah, and friends anywhere, but the academic experience, for which your parents are paying big bucks, will largely be determined by the size of the school.
The size of a school is an important factor when applying to colleges. Some universities have large enrollments with 30,000+ students and lecture hall-style classrooms while other colleges are intimate in size with small classrooms. It is important to understand what campus environment is right for you. Also, realize that large universities can still be “small” in the sense that they provide many opportunities to bond and grow with fellow students and faculty. So, consider size when applying to colleges, but also consider many other factors when making your ultimate decision of where to spend your next few years.
Benefits of a larger school include: more majors and degree programs; bigger, better stocked libraries; more campus activities; bigger, and likely better-funded, sports programs; a wide range of academic and social opportunities; better likelihood of having distinguished or famous faculty; a bigger experience than high school; an education in how to be a self-starter and how to deal with red-tape. Some negatives of a large school include: large class sizes (at least in the first two years—even larger universities usually have smaller classes in upper division courses); courses taught by teaching assistants or graduate students rather than professors; difficulty accessing professors; professors who prioritize research over teaching; the potential to get lost in the crowd.
Understanding your learning style will help you to determine the college size that best fits you. What type of learner are you? Are you the one who learns best when actively engaged in class discussions or do you like to sit at the back of the room and just take notes? Do you find your mind wandering if you can’t ask questions or when listening to a lecture? Do you prepare better for class when you know you’ll be challenged to participate and question? Test out your learning style by sitting in on classes in a similar subject, but try one taught seminar-style and one presented in a large lecture hall format. This should help you to “right-size” your college experience.
Don’t let the number of students in attendance intimidate you from looking at a college that has lots of students, or a smaller one which you think may not have lots of majors or courses to offer. Many large colleges have smaller academic departments that provide more intimate interaction with other students as well as faculty. Likewise, most small colleges tend to have a variety of majors and courses to appeal to its diverse student body. In large and small schools, alike, you are likely to take core courses with larger numbers of students, until you begin taking your major courses. Let your goals for your major and extracurricular activities serve as your priority rather than school size.
Some dream of “Big State U” with all of the spirit and trappings a large campus (and athletic program) bring. Others rhapsodize over an intimate academic experience to be found on a lovely little liberal arts campus. My advice is to stop daydreaming and start visiting. Get out there and see if the feel of the big or the little or, gasp, something in between is right for you. Even better, test drive a campus through a summer college program. Pros and cons abound. What’s key is figuring out where you fit in and which campus fits you best.
My advice is to think hard about how you learn best. Do you like smaller classes with lots of interaction? Do you want close relationships with your professors? Do you want classes that are organized seminar style or are you fine with a primarily lecture format? All of these bear on what kind of learning environment will be best for you–larger or smaller, rural or urban, public or private, etc. Start with your internal landscape and how you learn best, and that will help with the decision about college size, location, etc.
One size doesn’t fit all. Need close-knit community? Love a crowd? Have heart palpitations when you walk into a class of 600? Want to crawl under a desk if it is just you and twelve others in class? Knowing yourself helps determine your college-size comfort zones. Larger universities generally have more offerings—in and out of class. Smaller colleges tout close student-professor relationships. Any size college can have great class options and mentoring. Consider factors besides size: Too far? Too near? Too hot? Too cold? Too specialized? There are many college options that might be just right
A large university can be perfect for many students. Large universities are like a “universe” and offer a wide variety of social options, majors and academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students. For example, UC Berkeley houses the Department of Demography, eight majors with “Bio” as a prefix, and seven programs that study the environment! Large universities have well-established job recruitment and career placement services, and since most large universities are public, the tuition and fees are affordable for working students and families. Students who are interested in a large school should be mature, independent, and willing to self-advocate to get the attention, assistance and classes required to thrive and graduate.
A large university has much to offer, including many clubs, internships, course offerings, majors, and of course, people to meet. For the independent extrovert, a large school may be just what is needed. However, if it is important to a student to have smaller class sizes, to know their professors well or to have a smaller environment in order to feel confident getting involved, a smaller school can be a good fit. Getting involved is how you make a larger environment feel smaller. Attend the clubs/organizations Open House, and find 1-2 activities that interest you. Be careful not to get overly involved while learning to balance the social and academic life of college.
Small schools are generally more intense social and academic experiences. You see the same people all the time and are in a true community. Large schools are about the diversity of the experience and the people.
We often hear about the advantages and disadvantages of large versus small schools. The fact is that there is tremendous overlap between the two. At a very large university, a student can be in his her own small world, depending on the choice of major or individual college within that university.
Big things come in big packages too! Attending a large-size university has many perks, including more college classes in a wide variety of academic disciplines. Expect campus libraries to have the resources you need. Plus, there’s a strong bet your professors have conducted plenty of research. Want to get out of your high school fishbowl and enjoy a much-needed dose of anonymity? A large school attracts students from all over the map, including international students. Socially, think: diverse clubs and activities, Division I sports teams, and even cool speakers and rock bands to hit your campus. So think BIG!
Do you raise your hand or hate to be called on? Some students learn best in small groups; others thrive when they simply listen and take notes. If you’re the first type, consider a small school. If you’re the second, then maybe a large university is the place for you. This distinction is not absolute; some smaller schools have some pretty big classes and large university introductory courses typically break into smaller sections. Also, if you want a close knit, nurturing environment – think small. If you’re an independent self starter who doesn’t mind a little bit of anonymity – consider big.
A campus of 500 students? 5,000? 10,000+? On a large campus you can select from a variety of courses, majors activities and events. You will enjoy extensive library and lab facilities. You can be anonymous in a crowd or choose friends from many groups of people. You can pursure your own interests but may face stiffer competition for courses, grades and opportunities. You will cope with large impersonal classes, dorms, teams and campuses. At a small college you might be friendly with more teachers, find socialization easier, develop leadership roles and get easier access to the library, labs and facilities. On the other hand a small campus has less diversity and more conformity. A medium campus will be somewhere in between these two extremes.
Students should consider the size of the colleges or universities that they would like to attend. Smaller schools tend to have fewer degree choices, fewer courses, fewer professors and fewer student activities. Smaller schools also tend to have better (lower) student to faculty ratios and it’s generally easier to connect with classmates. Larger colleges have broader choices in regards to classes, scheduling and professors and more student activities to choose from. However, some students may feel lost in large schools they don’t recognize anyone in their classes. Students should carefully weigh the size of their selected colleges carefully to determine the right “fit” for them.
Goldilocks found the perfect porridge, chair, and bed. And you can find the perfect colleges to put on your list. A good place to start is Steven Antonoff’s book, College Finder. It lists colleges under every conceivable category. Look at the categories and then go explore the colleges. You can start in your own area to see whether you like city, suburban, or rural locations. Think about size and cost. Think about closeness to home and weather. Think about the match to your academic and extracurricular strengths. You can develop a great list and go from there.
Colleges are totally focused on the undergraduate experience, while universities also have to serve the needs of their graduate students. At a major university, of perhaps 15,000 students or more, when a professor needs a research assistant he will invariably choose a more experienced graduate student. This is not so at a college. For students who require some nurturing and a supportive environment, choosing a college would make more sense. In order to be successful at a university, you need to be very assertive to satisfy your academic and social needs.
Don’t equate size with opportunity. Your personality determines your experience. Large schools have myriad resources and can be made smaller, if you seek out opportunities and make connections. However, the bells and whistles of a large school matter little if you choose not to access them. Anonymity then would be yours. On the other hand, small schools have less competition for resources, especially if there are no graduate students, so research with professors happens with greater ease. You may co-author papers, travel to conferences, present papers. If you like discussion and the exchange of ideas, small class size is important.
Colleges are considered ‘small’ when they are less than 5,000 students, ‘mid-sized’ between 5,000 and 15,000 students, and so on. When considering size, contemplate what kind of learning environment and social setting you’re seeking. If you like being surrounded by familiar faces and want intimate, discussion-based classes from the start, go with a smaller school. At larger schools you’ll have an abundance of social opportunities which is great for the student who will take it upon his/herself to find his/her niche. In addition, intro level courses are large and often taught by TA’s, but become smaller as students begin to specialize.
The important piece of the college search is to discover what environment best suits your learning style and provides you the best opportunity for academic success. Large schools can offer lots of student activities, lots of choices for academic major, and an environment where you can blend into the pack (i.e. you can avoid being called on in many classes because of the large size). Small college will offer fewer student activities, fewer choices for major, and an environment where you cannot hide in a classroom. You need to explore how you learn and what sort of college student you wish to be, and then pursue college options that fit you.
What are my interests? Is there a type of person that brings out the best in me? Who can best enable my success? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself. A key component of a good college match, is finding a group where you can belong. Once students find a community where they can become an active member, college begins to feel like home – no matter the size. Examples include cultural clubs, athletic teams, Greek systems, or academic departments. Finding out if a school has a community for you to engage is more critical than considering the size of the school.
Some feel huge classes and uncaring administrators are par for the course on a large campus, but there are some great advantages to a bigger college. The range of academic and social opportunities is much greater on a big campus. Students have the chance to choose more specialized majors and programs. This can be especially important for a student who has a specific career goal. For example, if the student wants to pursue sports marketing or biomedical engineering, he or she will need a highly specialized department. One of the keys to succeeding on a large campus is to learn about the variety of programs available and to jump in and get involved.
large school has more departments and graduate schools. if the graduate students is more than undergraduate students, you should consider the school as large and disadvatages of large school is the classroom design and relationships with the faculties. you should expect individual attention and better relationship with facutlies at a small school.
Whether a school is too big or too small is the ultimate personal determination. The numbers are what they are, but the perspective is an individual one. Large schools may tout their greater opportunities but others may see only more competition for those opportunities. Small schools may trumpet their close knit community—a state that some student may find stifling. Knowing everyone may be nirvana for some while an anathema for others. Seeing new students every day—a common occurrence at a big school–might be exciting for some but scream anonymity or overwhelming to others. In the end, nothing better illustrates the importance of finding the right fit between a student and a school than the issue of size. Central to the college search is a self-assessment of what the student wants at that time in their life and the appropriateness of school size is little more than an answer to that inquiry.
10’s of 1,000’s of students constitute a large school, while 1,500-2,000 would be a small school. A big fish in a little pond could do well instead of being lost at a school with 50,000 students, but it’s the curriculum that’s most important – not the enrollment size.
The size of the school can depend on a number of different things. One major factor would be the size of the campus and it’s ability to expand. If you have a campus in a downtown area and they have buildings on all of their acreage then that would limit the amount of students they could admit. Also if you have a small campus and they like it that way, meaning they like being able to offer small classes to their students etc. That is also a major advantage to going to a small school. At some small campuses the resources are limited. Whereas large campuses have more resources because they have more funds coming in.
Everyone has a different definition of big and little. Depending on your high school/town size what may seem huge to you is tiny to someone else. Regardless, it is critical to determine what feels right for you. While large schools can be made to feel small (through Honors Programs, residential learning colleges, etc.), a small school may not offer enough variety over time. Major institutions typically support athletics, diversity in the student body and a wide array of majors/minors. Smaller schools offer the promise of more dedicated face time with faculty, strong connections among the student body, and a more liberal arts education in general. You’ll know what feels right to you as you begin touring schools and realizing just what those enrollment numbers stand for.
Numbers are relative. What appears big to one could seem tiny to another. Students at many big colleges rely heavily on Greek life to create smaller pockets of community. Smaller colleges often are criticized for not offering enough diversity or for being “cliquey”.
In the search for the appropriate fit, if a student can establish their ideal size preference, this is a key component In making best fit decisions.
The difference between a college and a university is size. Usually a college is more focused on their specialty. A university will have several colleges, each with its own area of expertise, within its campus.
A school that is considered large usually has about 15,000 undergraduate students or more. A medium sized school has about 5000-less than 15000 undergraduate students and a small school is usually under 5000 undergraduate students. Going to a large university is not for everyone.
Students that enjoy going to a large university are usually very independent and don’t mind some anonymity. As a freshman student several of your classes may be in a large lecture hall with 300 other students and you won’t be able to get much individual attention, your professor probably will not know you very well. This can be overwhelming for some students. Also at a large university many introductory classes are taught by teaching assistants and graduate students, not an actual professor. However, large school do tend to have a diverse array of majors to choose from, they also tend to have hundreds of clubs and sports to get involved with.
Students that enjoy going to a small university look forward to having a more personal relationship with their instructors. They like a campus where they see familiar faces often and many of their experiences are individualized. However, small schools don’t always have the major a student is looking for or the same research opportunities as a larger school. Whether you pick a large, medium or small school you can always find a school with a strong sense of community.
Large schools have more of everything and students can be anonymous. At a small school you have the opportunity to really know your professors and fellow students.
Everyone has different preferences as far as this is concerned. Large schools often have many programs, resources, culture, sports, etc going on. They are often in a city or they are the city. Small colleges can have even less students than your high school did. The advantage is more individual attention and being part of a tight knit community.
Colleges come in all sizes from very small (2000 students) to huge (50000 students). While size alone does not make a school good or bad, generally smaller schools tend to focus more on teaching undergraduates as opposed to large research universities. Professors (as opposed to TAs) tend to teach more classes with fewer students in them. Smaller schools also tend to have higher retention and graduation rates because the scale is more personal and manageable. Students who attend small schools also tend to go to graduate school more often and be better prepared.
•Size is a major consideration. The size of the college you choose has an effect on your overall college experience. Do you want a small, close-knit community? Medium-sized? Large? How about a jumbo sized university? It is important to determine in which atmosphere you will feel comfortable.
Small School Pros –
– It is more likely that your classes will be small and that you can get to know your professors better
– It is more likely that you can participate in the extracurricular activities of your choice
– Teaching is likely to be valued more highly than research at a smaller school
there are difference in undergraduate colleges and universities and graduate focused national universities.
large or small are designed to have a different focus on classroom size, teaching style, access to faculties, and opportunities for placements.
Large = Over 20,000 students , you need to take a bus to class, class sizes are in 200-300 range and grad students are teaching classes
Couple of different metrics to consider when talking about the “size of a school”:
A small school may have class sizes ranging between 15-30 students. A large school may have several core classes that have 200+ students in them. Some people believe larger schools to be more prestigious, and they very-well may be more well-known, but smaller schools can have just as much (or even higher) academic quality and students can rest assured that the professor will know his or her name.
This is a great question and is an important part of determining the “best fit” school for you. In other words, understanding the pros and cons of attending a large university vs a smaller school is an important part of understanding and identifying your personal educational goals and where you are most likely to thrive and become a successful student.
– Large schools are usually state schools, and have lots of students. Small schools are most often private, with fewer students, usually below 10,000. Larger schools tend to have more diversity, more extracurricular options, more sports enthusiasm, and large numbers of opportunities to try new things. They are a large draw for speakers and musicians who know they will have an audience, so it is a plus if you want to be somewhere where things are happening! Of course, going to a small school in a big city will have the same effect too. However, it can be harder to be noticed by faculty due to the high student:teacher ratio, and socially it can be an overwhelming place as there are just SO many people.
– Small schools are a little less diverse, which can be good or bad depending on how well you connect with others who are very different from you; they have more accessible faculty and the school will often have the ability to spend more time on you, making sure you are doing well in school etc. There may be less extracurricular activities due to less students, but socially as well it can be nicer, more of a learning community if everyone knows everyone. Of course, everyone knowing everyone can also be a bad thing. It all depends on personal preferences!
It depends on the individual the typical standard is 10,000 is considered average, 5000 roughly small, over 10,000 large. Advantages/disadvantages depend upon your interests and what you want to be involved in and how many people you are comfortable being around. Additionally, you also have to think about where you are going after undergraduate education and if your first school is noted for the program you are choosing because it can limit your graduate school acceptance if you attend an institution regardless of the size that does not have a quality program.
Are you ‘the bigger the better’ or ‘good things come in small packages’ person? What are the advantages of small school or a big university?
One of the questions that we get a lot from students who attend large high schools and are looking for a “big” experience in college is, “What are smaller colleges going to be able to offer me and is it going to be too small?”
A large or small school is determined by size. That said, you need to do your research. A small private college can have 15,000 students. A large state college can have 70,000. Advantages and disadvantages depend on what you are looking for and what you are comfortable with. A small college is like a community or town. You will get to know more people closely. You will know what the school has to offer you. You may know your professors on a more personal level, yes, and even party with them. It can be a warm, fuzzy family setting. This is more of a suburban setting. If they offer what you want to study, that becomes the most important requirement. On the other side, a large school is like a urban city. Big and large in every way. You will meet more students, but mostly in your major because you see them, all of a sudden, in all of your classes. You will have the larger sports teams and events. You may know some of your professors, but not as personally. So if you want the small home town feeling, go with the smaller schools. But, if you like the lights, excitement and the big city, go for the larger schools. The key is your preference, if they have your major, what you can afford, and what you will be most comfortable with for four to six to eight years, and beyond!
A liberal arts school is usually on the smaller side. You will only have “undergraduate” students and there may not be as much research opportunities, but you will get the small class size and intimate relationship with college professors. People will know you. You cannot hide in a small college. This is good for people who like to be heard, seen and critiqued. A large school has more research opportunities. You will have graduate and PHD students. More library resources… You may have teaching assistants. You may have more course selections/ more majors to choose from/ a larger and more diverse population.
That can be relative, but coming from a university of 47,000 students, I consider that extremely large. Are you from a small or large town. Do you feel comfortable on a large campus or smaller one? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. A community feeling is always easier on a smaller campus. Try visitations to see the feel!
Many students interested in attending small schools are drawn to the strong sense of community, the opportunity to know their professors and the ease of navigating administrative processes . While these characteristics are a common part of small campus life, they can also exist at large universities. When evaluating the warm and fuzzy factor of a large campus, look at the student to teacher ratio; the strength of the advisory program, the availability of professors to their students, the ease of the interface between students and administration and the percentage of TAs who teach classes. Some universities admit you directly into a college. Consequently a university that has 30,000 students may feel like a college that had 5,000 students.
Most colleges is in the US are Small or Large, fewer are Medium sized unfortunately. Medium sized schools (around 2,000-10,000) seem to be the most attractive since they offer the best of both worlds. A small school is usually less than 2,000 students and the benefits range from smaller class sizes, a more close knit community, to a feeling of comfort you likely will not have at a larger school. A large school is typically over 10,000 students and the benefits there are that you have a lot of majors and classes to choose from, more club options, and the feeling throughout college that you can always meet new people. Students at larger schools typically don’t find it difficult to meet others that are like minded since there are so many students to choose from, whereas students at smaller schools may find that most students are pretty homogenous (so you should make sure that you can relate to the type of students who go there for showing up on campus your first day!). There is of course also the matter of class size. Smaller schools will typically have smaller classes where students get to know their professors really well and have discussion oriented classes. Larger schools are mainly lecture focuses, especially the first few years and may be taught by teaching assistants.
To determine if a school is large or small, look at the undergraduate enrollment. I consider a school of less than 10,000 students small, and a school over 15,000 large. Consider the number of commuter students, and this affects the student life at the school (a State school with 20,000 students may only have 3,000 living on campus, which will make the campus seem smaller in the evenings and on weekends). Also consider part-time enrollment, which will make the school seem smaller as these students tend to have an independent life (full-time jobs; older students).
Not all guidebooks and websites use the same numbers to define large and small when it comes to school populations, but generally, a small school has less than 5,000 students (some would say 2,000) and a large school has a population over 10,000 (or 15,000 in some books). Smaller schools usually mean smaller or even much smaller classes, more access to professors, more full time professors versus those who teach part-time, few or no teaching assistants in the classroom, a more residential population of students, and usually lesser emphasis on sports (although not always). Larger schools tend to feature more lecture style classes with discussion sections led by teaching assistants, big sports programs, a bigger commuter student/ part-time student population, and more options in terms of courses and majors. Which of these facts matter most to you? This needs to be how you decide on which schools to apply to rather than the popularity of the campus. Your happiness may depend on it!
Do you want to be a small fish in a large pond or a large fish in a small pond? What kind of attention do you need to learn. Class size may be a better number than size of school.
Size does matter depending on you.
Size generally refers to enrollment, but students also should make themselves aware of average class size, percentage of lecture classes with more than 100 students, student/faculty ratio and physical space…is this a compact or spread-out campus?
The size of a school is based on its population. UCLA is a large school though it is not the largest physical campus of the UCs. It has about 60,000 students, both part and full time. The lecture halls for freshmen are about 500 students per class.. this is large. USC on the other hand is considered small.. medium…. There can be a few large lecture classes of up to 500 with TAs teaching small 15-20 student labs. Most of the classes are smaller, the student population is more like 17000 students in total +/-~~~ UC Santa Cruz, while the second largest campus in the UCs is only a population of 15000 students ( undergrad and grad)– and then school like the Claremont Colleges or Occidental are small … Occidental has something like 500 students total on campus The Ivy league schools are also considered small with each admissions class being about 1000 +
As the graduate of a large public ivy, I know well the plethora of resources, opportunities and access to notable faculty and a diverse student body. Less appealing for some are the large class sizes and the sometimes frustrating task of arranging meetings with faculty. At the same time, some larger institutions provide faculty mentors in addition to your declared major advisor. The size of the school often depends on the number of personal connections and your circle of friends. Having also worked at small liberal arts colleges, I also recognive the value of chances to be “a big fish” in a small pond. There is something to be said for dwelling on a campus where “everyone knows your name.” A primary benefit of small campuses beyond class size and recognition by faculty are select opportunities, especially at small liberal arts colleges to receive scholarships and awards such as the The Watson fellowship and the funds for community service locally and abroad.
A college is considered large in size if it has an enrollment of 10,000 students or more in full-time attendance. A college is considered small in size if it has an enrollment of 1000 students or less in full-time attendance.
What makes a school large or small to an applicant is the applicant’s frame of reference. A student coming from a high school with 4,000+ students may find a college of the same size to be similar or even too small while a student coming from a high school of 300 students may find a college with 4,000 students to be much bigger. Size alone may not determine a student’s experience at college. So much depends on class size and how the colleges are organzied. Are students split up into residential colleges where they spend all four years? Are most classes held as large lectures or smaller seminiars. In terms of advantages and disadvantages, again size does not always correlate. For example some of the small liberal arts colleges have incredible athletic and research facilities which one might expect to find only at large schools and some large schools may cap class size below a smaller college. Which college is the right size for you? Only you can decide once you done your research and taken into account your personal priorities.
10’s of 1,000’s of students constitute a large school, while 1,500-2,000 would be a small school. A big fish in a little pond couild do well instead of being lost at a school with 50,000 students, but it’s the curriculum that’s most important – not the enrollment size.
There are colleges with student populations in the hundreds and there are others with student populations in the tens of thousands. In any case, what will make for a successful college/university experience will be for the student to find his/her niche in the institution to which he/she chooses to go. That can be done in a small school or a large school.
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