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Discuss school size in your teen's college search.

In the next several posts, I will outline series of factors to consider when choosing a college.  Sophomores and juniors can really benefit by starting a college list early. Reviewing different factors to consider may give students and parents a logical approach for discussing college options that will fit their child's academic, social needs and financial needs.    

 

The size of a college is very important and something that should be considered.  Colleges vary in size from under 100 to up to 60,000 students. Size of school can impact academic opportunities, social atmosphere and accessibility to programs.  As you think about this factor, try to picture the size college that is best for you academically and socially. 

 

Smaller colleges:

  • Allow for greater interaction between student and professor. You’ll have more opportunities to contribute in class and probably will actually know your professors. Better still, your profs will know you, and will be able to write knowledgeable recommendation letters for job or grad school.

  • There tends to be more emphasis on personal development.  Smaller colleges tend to be liberal arts and sciences schools.  These are schools that encourage students to explore possible interests, abilities and career paths. Many studies have highlighted career success have begun with liberal arts and sciences at the starting point.

  • At smaller colleges, teaching is usually the top priority of faculty members, while research is less of a priority.  This may mean more engaging classroom experiences.

  • Smaller colleges provide greater opportunities to be involved in extracurricular clubs and sports.

  • You might enjoy a smaller college if you want to quickly find a new community. Don’t discount the advantages of being a significant fish in a small pond - it can do wonders for your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

     

Larger colleges:

  •  Offer more opportunities for a variety course offerings.  You may be able to explore two fields of study.  Also, students who are undecided feel safe about having many options to explore.  

  • Special, advanced technical and scientific equipment and facilities are sometimes more readily available at larger universities.

  • Students who prefer a learning style that focuses on lectures, instead of discussions and small groups, may thrive at a larger schools. Many students enjoy the anonymity a large school offers.

  • At large universities there are many activities students can choose to participate in, including organizations and clubs that focus on array of interests and serve all kinds of social groups.

  • Large universities can have name brand recognition, that come from well-known sports teams that promote school spirit and camaraderie among students.

Consider these aspects of large and small colleges, but understand that each school is unique.  Do not necessarily cross a school off your list because of its size, but learn about its nature first.  You can, use these considerations to understand what it is you need, as a student.  Think about whether you prefer large or small classes, teacher accessibility, and a place to blend into a crowd or a smaller community.

 

When you reflect upon some of these aspects of small and large colleges, you may begin to see where you fit in a college campus.

 

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