Wondering what size college you should choose? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve developed a What size college should I apply to? quiz to help you decide whether you’re best suited for a small, medium, or large college.
First, take the What Size College Should I Apply to quiz, and then read on to learn about how school size will affect your college experience and what school size best suits your personality. This is an important decision, but we’ve laid out all the crucial factors here to help you decide.
Table of Contents
- Do You Want Lots of Variety?
- Do You Mind Walking A Lot?
- Are You Looking for Personal Attention?
- Have You Scheduled School Visits?
Do You Want Lots of Variety?
If you’re hoping to meet lots of different kinds of people and have the chance to join different interest groups and hobbies every semester, then you should be looking at medium to large colleges. These campuses tend to have more variety in extracurriculars, classes, and people due to the large student body and diverse professional staff.
On the other hand, if you’re hoping to make a close group of friends with similar interests and take classes with them, you should probably focus your school search on small colleges. You’ll feel right at home knowing your way around campus after the first few days and being able to meet friends for dinner at a small number of dining rooms. If you’re looking for a close-knit community in a more intimate setting, focus your search on small colleges.
Do You Mind Walking A Lot?
Although it may seem like not a big deal, large schools can mean a lot of walking. If you’re not interested in logging miles every day to get to and from class, you may want to consider a smaller college where your dorm, class, and the gym are minutes apart.
As a Texan studying in Wisconsin, I learned very quickly that long walks in the snow and ice are very different than long walks under the Texas sun. Be sure to consider the climate where the school is located when making your decision (and get snow boots if you need to!).
Are You Looking for Personal Attention?
If you’d prefer a lot of individual attention and assistance picking your classes, understanding the requirements of your major, and handling all other school-related tasks, a small or medium college might be the best fit for you. You’re more likely to have an advisor who knows your goals and can assist you with deciding which courses and professors might be best for you.
Also, you’ll get more help with handling your course load and staying on track to graduate on time. So, if you often struggle with keeping track of details and managing course requirements, a smaller college would likely suit you best.
In contrast, at large campuses with student bodies over 20,000, you can’t expect a lot of personalized attention. Instead, you’ll be expected to navigate the bureaucracy of the administrative system on your own. Think about whether you’d like the challenge of handling these things by yourself.
Additionally, you’ll likely have a good deal of classes taught by grad students, so take some time to consider whether that would work for you. If you’re looking to only be taught by an expert in a small group setting, a large college probably isn’t for you.
Have You Scheduled School Visits?
Finally, while considering all of the questions presented here will help you think about whether you’d prefer a large or small college, one of the best ways to put together your college list is to visit a variety of schools.
Venture onto large campuses and see how you feel lost in a crowd of people. Invigorated or overwhelmed? Next, take a stroll through a small campus and consider how you feel. Do you feel tucked in a cozy place or like you need something more to explore?
Wandering through campus and sitting in on classes is a great way to get a feel for how a college will be. Don’t forget to ask your guide or current students about their experiences so far. Talking to students and asking questions on your visit is crucial to understanding the culture of a campus. So, be sure to speak up on your tour and get your questions answered!
If you’re still not sure, try taking the What size college should I apply to? quiz one more time. Think carefully about each of your responses in light of the information above and see if you get a different answer than before. If so, take some time to write out the pros and cons of each size college and don’t hesitate to read more tips on finding the right school for you. College is four years of your life—take the time to make the choice that’s best for you!