Should You Go to a Large or Small University?

Class Size: This is one of the most immediate factors you'll discern when heading off to college.


  • Large University: Going to a large school, you can expect first-year lectures to have up to 500 students in them. It's a great way to make (study) friends quickly and easily, for there's no shortage of faces to talk to. On the downside, it can be hard to make yourself known to the professor, and it'll be unlikely to ever get a family atmosphere-like feeling.



  • Small College: Here, your classmates and teachers will remember your face very soon, which can be both a good and bad thing. While such an intimate setting builds trust and accountability, it can also breed a long memory in others.


Courses: There's a definite correlation to the types and breadth of courses you can take with the size of the school.


  • Large University: The larger the school, the better your chances at taking just about any class you want. Big schools also tend to have professional schools available, like law, medicine, and dentistry, giving students many options to become very highly educated.



  • Small College:You're probably not going to be able to take Poetry of the First World War at a college with a student population of 5,000, but there are certain advantages. For example, you have more chances to build relationships with your professors and fulfill course requirements in more alternative ways.


Reputation: With the right student, the name of the school doesn't matter. But those are one in a million and for the rest, name is almost everything.


  • Large University: There's no doubt that putting Yale or Stanford on your CV will make you stand out from the crowd. And for athletes, there's no better competition and preparation for the pro level by playing for a big-name school like Alabama or Michigan State.



  • Small College: The smaller and less-recognizable your school is, the harder you'll have to work at setting yourself apart from students across the country. And playing sports at a small school means you'll have little chance of facing stiff competition or getting noticed by scouts.