Going to college is scary.
There are so many things to consider when you make the decision to attend college. Do you see yourself in a big university, a smaller one, or a private college? What is your major going to be and which university or college has the best program for it? The list of questions goes on and on. Over a lot of a deliberation and prayer, I chose to make the decision to go to a smaller university. For me personally, I am really pleased with my decision and I thought I would tell you why.
Smaller class sizes.
Having smaller class sizes is really important to me. I like being able to sit in a smaller classroom (about the size or a little larger than a high school classroom) and to make personal connections with my peers as well as my professor. I am a very hands on and visual learner so being able to ask questions and contribute during class is very important to me. I also think I am just more comfortable in a smaller classroom. There is something more relaxing or less stressful being in a smaller classroom than a large auditorium. Some people would disagree with this, (and probably all of my reasons) but for me personally, I feel more relaxed being in a smaller classroom and enjoy making connections with my professors.
Campus is easier to navigate.
I am the worst with directions. If I go to a new place it will take me quite a while to learn my way around and to feel at ease. This is another reason why I chose to go to a smaller university. There are still many buildings and it took me a while to be able to go places without looking at a map, but I feel as though the process was easier because it was on a smaller scale. I remember when I toured bigger universities and how lost and stressed I felt. I knew that universities were going to be more spread out with more buildings than my high school, but some just made me too uncomfortable. I like being able to walk from one side of my campus to the other in 10-15 minutes. It just made the transition from high school to college easier for me because I wasn't as stressed being on a smaller campus.
More choices for housing.
Deciding where I wanted to live at college was a big deal for me. When I toured bigger universities, some of them had housing policies in which freshmen were randomly assigned to certain dorms and sometimes roommates. I didn't like that at all. I wanted to have some say in where I live and who I live with, even if it wasn't exactly my ideal situation, I wanted to be able to provide some input. At the smaller university I attend now, students do get some say in where they live their freshman year and even more so in the years to follow. Before I moved into my dorm freshman year, I took a questionairre about qualities and life style choices that were important to me as well as my top 5 dorms I would like to live in. The questionnaire was about my future roommate (I did a random roommate assignment) and asked questions like if I was a night owl, a quite or loud person, my personal interests and so on. This was to match me with a roommate who would in theory have some of the same qualities as me. I really liked how my university did this and that I got to choose my favorite dorms.
A greater sense of community.
As I walk to and from class, I will usually see someone I know or recognize. Every time I go to the dining hall or other places to eat on or near campus, I will most likely see a familiar face. Since I go to a smaller university, there is a smaller number of students who attend so it's pretty normal to run into people a lot; I personally like this. I like being able to walk around on campus and to wave hi to people. Going to college is stressful and sometimes when I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, sometimes just seeing a familiar face or friend will help me feel a little better. It is kind of ironic how in college you can feel alone when you're surrounded by thousands of people. It can be harder to make lasting friendships and connections with others in college, but by going to a smaller university these friendships are a little easier to form.
More scholarship opportunities.
Scholarships are very important in college. They can provide a lot of money to a college student and make their loan payments a little less. All in all, scholarships rock. Also, I found when you attend a smaller university you can have more scholarship opportunities, this was really important to me and my family. For example, say you're applying for a scholarship within your major. If you attend a bigger university you would probably be competing against a lot of other people for this scholarship. Consequently, if you go to a smaller university where there is less students, you will have less people competing for it. Furthermore, some specialty programs will come with scholarships that you don't even have to apply for. As long as you're in the program, you will get the scholarship(s). This was another big incentive for me to attend a smaller university. Especially when some universities would offer scholarships for being in a program and others didn't.
At the end of the day what really matters most is if you're happy where you are. If you feel as though you would be happier in a larger university then go for it. These just happen to be my personal preferences that some will relate to and others won't. However, I would consider all of these aspects (and many more) when you're deciding where to go to college. It is a big decision no doubt, but the perfect college or university for you is out there, you just have to do your research and look.