People have different preferences when it comes to a big school and a small school. Things such as the population and the actual size of the campus can greatly affect a person’s first college experience. However, there are a couple of hidden things that you may not think of at first when you’re visiting a school and how it may affect you in the long run. If you’re having a little bit of trouble, here are a couple of factors you should think about when picking a certain sized school.
1. Resources for financial aid
Going to a big, public school, I’ve started to learn the ins and outs of financial aid. I always fill out the FAFSA, but there are other opportunities such as grants and scholarships related to the university, college, and major I’m in. There are even opportunities when it comes to community service and of course, getting a certain GPA both in the school and in the major. When it comes to big schools, they need to have enough money to accommodate more people. Therefore, they need to have offer as many opportunities as possible. However, when it comes to small schools, since you may have a smaller population, they may take your case in particular, into consideration. They may be able to care about each and every person and therefore, they may be able to offer you certain resources in order to help you out.
2. Housing: Options vs. Community
When it comes picking housing, the more options, the better for some people. Going to a big school can mean having a ton of options both on campus and off campus. That can include the style of the room, where it’s located and how many people it can accommodate. On campus and off campus housing will need to have enough room to make sure everyone has a place to live. However, on a small campus, there are fewer options due to a smaller population. That can be a good thing, however. That can mean building a better community and getting to know everyone that you’re sharing a space with, whether it’s in a dorm or an apartment. Having that community based housing can really make someone’s living experience in college and make someone feel at home.
3. Class availability
Another place where more options can be a good thing is scheduling for classes. If you’re going to a big school and you need to take a required class such as Psychology 101 or Algebra, it’s likely that you’ll have a chance to take it. For some classes, there might be 20 different options all throughout the day, so you probably won’t have to worry about some classes not working with your schedule. For smaller schools, there may be a chance that there’s only one time to take a class during that semester. However, that ends up being an advantage because if you want to take a class with a friend, you’ll get to be in the same class together. Also, if it’s only available once a year, some professors may be more willing to let you into the only section of that class if you happen to be in your last year and need it to graduate. If the class is widely available and has 15 sections, then they might not be as nice and will simply say to find another section, even if there isn’t one that works for you.
Hopefully this list helps you out with deciding on a big school or small school. Although these aren’t things that people think about when they’re first visiting a school, these are just some things I’ve learned that are very different when I talk about my school and compare it to my friend’s schools. All of these are reoccurring, so it’s good to think about these and whether they will work for you at the beginning and end of your college career.