Public University Myths: Debunked!

When I was a younger, I used to think all colleges were the same. The image I pictured went something like this: everyone lived in the dorms or sororities/fraternities, partied 24/7, and had 300-student classes. Needless to say, I was very very wrong.


Photo by Will Richardson

Just like private universities, public universities come with many stereotypes. While campus culture varies with every campus, it is easy to group public university into one image and think all are the same. They’re not! Here are some common myths about public universities.



1)Public universities are party schools

While university is typically portrayed as wild in hollywood films, the average American public university is not as crazy and academically unfocused as it seems. Most public universities hold high merit standards and partying 24/7 is just not an option for students. For example, University of California Santa Barbara, a stereotyped party school, holds 5 Nobel prize winners on their staff. I will be honest, there are parties that do happen, but schools have more value than just their social scene.


2)Public universities are cheap

Public universities typically are more affordable than private universities, but public universities do not offer as many merit based grants and scholarships as private universities do. Also, if you are not an in-state student, out-of-state tuition can cost as much as a private school, and can take a heavy toll on your bank account. Public universities may be a cheaper option but usually if you’re an in-state student.


3)Public universities are dangerous

Campus crime rates vary with every school, public or private. Many schools have implemented various safety precautions to prevent campus crime. For example, University of Oregon keeps their campus well lit at night, has 30 police call boxes distributed throughout the campus, a safe ride shuttle, an in-person safe escort, and an alert text messages to keep students up to date in emergency situations.


4)Public universities have large student-professor ratios

Public universities often hold small student-professor ratios for most of their courses. Some courses offer large style lectures, but after  the lecture, break into smaller groups with teacher assistants to go over the information. Also, professors offer office hours specifically for students to ask question and get extra help!



Public universities can be a more affordable option for in-state students, but watch out for tuition fees if you are transferring from out-of-state! Wherever you end up going to school, make sure to check up on a school’s information and campus culture. While colleges can easily fall into stereotypes, every campus is different!


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  • Dana Sinclair

    Dana is a current high school senior who enjoys writing when she has a free moment. When she’s not studying, reading, or interning, she loves to go exploring the Bay Area with her friends. She loves discovering new activities and learning as much as she can. She hopes to help fellow students achieve their goal by sharing her knowledge on how to navigate high school life.

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