College Experts: Advantages of Small and Large Schools

“My brother keeps telling me that I should consider size as I start applying to schools
but I’m not sold – what makes a school large or small, and what are some of the
more subtle advantages/disadvantages of both?”– John W., Portland, OR.
A: Super-Size Me! The BIG advantages of attending a large university
Big things come in big packages too! Attending a large-size university has many perks, including more
college classes in a wide variety of academic disciplines. Expect campus libraries to have the
resources you need. Plus, there’s a strong bet your professors have conducted plenty of research.
Want to get out of your high school fishbowl and enjoy a much-needed dose of anonymity? A large
school attracts students from all over the map, including international students. Socially, think:
diverse clubs and activities, Division I sports teams, and even cool speakers and rock bands to hit your
campus. So think BIG!
-Laura Miller – Director of College Guidance – North Shore Hebrew Academy High School
A: Size of the college is one variable to consider in your college search
Larger universities (over 6,000 undergraduates) offer some advantages over smaller colleges, and are
good for students who can advocate for themselves. If a student wants personal relationships with
professors and smaller classes then a smaller college would be a better match. Larger public
universities can be state funded and therefore charge less tuition. However, smaller colleges may
have large endowments with more money to distribute in grants and aid. More students and more
alumni can mean more money. That gives large universities a multitude of resources, the ability to
hire top faculty and sustain state of the art academic programs and recreational/athletic facilities.
– Jeannie Borin— Founder & President – College Connections
A: One size college does not “fit” all students
You have to decide what you specifically want from a college and then make sure that size can offer
you those requirements. If you are going to be a science major, you need to make sure you will be
guaranteed a science research slot BEFORE your senior year, that work will be important for you to
have when doing grad school applications and you also need to know before senior year if you like lab
work. Thinking about med or law school? Make sure you will be in small enough classes where the
professor will know you so she can write you a letter of recommendation.
-Francine Block– President – American College Admissions Consultants
Don’t miss answers by the Dean of Admissions at University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan University, and more – at To send your question to our experts, visit