Big School vs. Small School: Less Complicated Than You ThinkMay 10, 2005 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line As long as you actively try, you can still learn a lot at a big university and you can still have a blast at a small college!
I'm here to address a question older than mankind itself! Ok, not really, but close... So you're a student who just graduated from high school and now you need to decide which colleges you're going to apply to or which one you're going to attend. If you think you've always been a small school person or a big school person, think again!
You ARE going to the school to learn, remember? So what's the difference between a small school or a big school in terms of academics? We'll start with a small school. Small schools give their students lots of attention because, frankly, they don't have many to divide it among! Though I don't attend a small school, I have many friends who do and they tell me all about it.
A good small school academics example: My friend at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. told me about a review session his professor was holding. At a big school, review sessions are held in a school building and usually each individual TA and the professor hold a review session that anyone enrolled in the class can attend. These review sessions are basically lectures that cover the entire course and prepare the students for the test. At Lawrence, however, my friend was invited to his professor's house along with the rest of his small class. His professor had cooked them some food and they stayed over there covering the material until they were satisfied that they were ready for the test.
So what does the big school have that the small school doesn't in terms of academics? Well there are usually many opportunities for someone at a big school to learn if they take the initiative of finding them. One can find all sorts of clubs that host tutoring sessions throughout the semester. A student at a big school can also make appointments with any of their TAs or their professor and get great help there. Also, big schools typically do research which means undergraduates can usually find research jobs with professors if they try hard enough. This is very valuable experience. It's also cool when someone you know calls you and says "Hey, I just read in the paper about the breakthrough that was made in ______ at your college!" It's cool to know that you're part of something that people around the world recognize.
The atmosphere of small colleges and large universities are very different. Here I will discuss the pros and cons of each.
Pros of a large university:
At a large university, the social possibilities are limitless. If you're not satisfied with your friends or your amount of friends, you can always find more if you just try at it. There are so many people that you'll continue to meet new and interesting people throughout your entire 4+ years at the same school! Big universities also usually come with good campus locations. With lots of students, there's lots of demand for fun and interesting things to do, and so people come and supply this demand in the form of cool concerts, nice restaurants, and various other things to do. Finally, being at a big school can just be inspiring. It's great to see students everywhere you go and to see vendors miles away from campus still expressing school spirit. Big events that draw lots of kids (football games, for example) are a lot of fun to experience too.
Cons of a large university:
Most people are large university have very good friends. However, if you're the type of person who likes to just hang out with friends and have intelligent conversations instead of going out, a large university isn't as good for that. Lots of times, you become friends with people but then you shortly lose contact and don't hang out anymore. This is because everyone knows that the social life is flexible and everyone knows that if they lose one friend they can just find another. Despite how annoying this is, it's true and practical. I'm not saying it's impossible to make good friends, you just need to look for kids that you relate with most. They are there, but most kids get caught up in the social scene and spend their nights at parties on the brink of consciousness! I personally don't drink, but I enjoy both parties and hanging out with friends so I can handle the hedonistic life of a large university.
Pros of a small university:
At a small university you really get to KNOW people. Your friends really depend on you and you get to know the whole school pretty quickly. Unlike at a large university, you do have a reputation and although not everyone knows you well, they know who you are and they know what you're like (generally.) If you want to party, small school usually have them, but you have to look. Usually partying consists of kids just hanging out in a dorm room drinking, listening to music, and talking. This way, you get to know people really well and you make really good friendships. You also get a large network of friends because people depend on their friends rather then always thinking they can find better ones.
Cons of a small university:
Typically if you go to a small university, you won't be in a good college town. Most people think this isn't a big deal, but eventually you'll want to get out and do things that aren't completely involved in campus life. My friends at small schools say that they usually just chill with their friends and play video games. Once again, you get to know people really well, but this can get a little boring. Also, if you're the crazy type, you can't get drunk every night and be an idiot. People know you and people find out about these things. At a big university you can because most the people who see you won't remember you or your face anyways.
Despite the differences between small and large schools, most people fit into either one. This is because though the differences between small and big schools are present, they are general. You can always find exceptions. The academics of a school depend WAY more on the credentials of the school rather than the size.
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