The Pros and Cons of Attending a Small University

People always ask me what it’s like to attend a small university, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to write down some of the pros and cons of going to a school that has only 1,100 students. If you’re in high school and you’re considering going to a smaller university, read on! Maybe this will aid you in your decision-making.

Pros

1. You get to know most of your year. There are about 275 first-years at my school (the University of King’s College) – I would say that I’m friends with 25% of them, have talked to 55% of them and could name 85% of them. When you live with the same people from September to April, you’re bound to meet the majority of them (or at least learn their names). You’ll also run into most of them at the nearest grocery store, mall, or Starbucks.

2. You get to meet important people, such as the director of your program or the president, on a regular basis. A couple weeks ago I needed to interview our president, Dr. William Barker, for a journalism assignment. He answered all of my questions and made me feel very comfortable around him, given the fact that he’s a president of a university – for a student, it doesn’t get more intimidating than that! As well, I’m on a first-name basis with the head of our journalism school (as are many first-year journalism students at King’s), which is shocking to some of my friends who don’t even know what the director of their program looks like.

3. You’re a person, not a number. One of the most common complaints I get from my friends who go to huge universities is that they feel like they’re small fish in a big pond. Since there are fewer kids at a smaller university, there will be more opportunities available to you, such as being on executive committees, getting starring roles in musicals and plays, and taking on important leadership roles.

Cons

1. You’re a person, not a number. (If you’re confused right now, that’s a good thing.) What I mean by this is that, since everyone knows who you are, they also know what you do, when you do it, and who you do it with. There are times when this will work against you and there are times when this will work to your advantage.

2. No one’s heard of it! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people that I go to King’s and their response was “You go where?” This gives me a chance to spread the word about my amazing school, but at the same time, I sometimes feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere because no one knows about us.

3. If you’re looking for keggers, ragers, mixers, sororities, fraternities, or anything else Elle Woods mentioned in Legally Blonde, you probably won’t find them at a small university. Sure, King’s has an on-campus pub which is frequented by local musicians and there’s a dance party in one of the dorms at least once a week, but it’s usually the big schools that are home to those insane American Pie parties.

Cons aside, I love going to a small university because there really is a sense of community here. And I’m not just saying that because I want all of you youngsters to come to King’s (which I do) – I’m saying it because it’s true. I feel like I have a voice at King’s, and the people here have really encouraged me to use it! 🙂

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