5 Differences Between Large colleges and Small colleges

Campus size has a very significant impact on students. Large colleges give a very different experience to that of small colleges. Starting from the resources available, the accommodation and even the class experience, almost everything is different.

Lets check out these differences so that you can have a good idea of where you want to study. But before I start, let’s take a small campus to contain less than 5000 students and a large campus with more than 20000 students. Now let’s kick off

1. Classroom experience

Are you looking for the personalized classroom experience where you get to connect with other students and your professors? Then small campuses are for you. The classes comprise of few students, typically around 50.

In such a class, students have opportunities to know each other and create personal relationships with their lecturers. They can also hold discussions in their rooms occasionally and have course-specific parties once in a while. Since we are social beings, this is a very good environment to strive in.

When it comes to large campuses, things are quite different. Imagine attending a lecture with 400 students and only but one professor (or a teaching practice lecturer); you just listen and take your notes, asking a question seems like wasting other students’ time and the professor never gives personal attention.

By the end of the semester, you have barely talked to a quarter of your course-mates. If you strive in an impersonal classroom experience, then large colleges are for you.

2. Major

Large universities have a wide selection of courses to pursue. You find some with more than 200 majors and given a chance to choose you might be torn between majors to pursue. This factor gives you an opportunity to specialize on a specific skill.

For instance, a college can have majors not only in surgery but also neurosurgery and skin surgery. If you are more interested in the brain, you pursue neurosurgery rather than the surgery. You can also choose to take a wide variety of interesting courses that you feel will be important for your career.

Small colleges, on the other hand, offer fewer majors. The main idea behind small colleges is providing the highest quality education and personal attention to their students and this will be very uneconomical if they had a myriad of majors to offer. Nevertheless, these colleges specialize in the courses they offer hence their high-quality services.

3. Facilities

This is a no-brainer, larger colleges have more facilities than smaller colleges. Take a look at the Kenyatta University Library with a capacity of 13000 students, this must be a pretty big library with hundreds of thousands if not millions of books.

Larger colleges are also resourceful when it comes to extra-curriculum activities like sports and clubs. There might be more sports teams and clubs than you might ever discover in your term as a student.

On the other hand, small colleges don’t do much of diversification. They have fewer sports and clubs but these groups specialize in their activities hence maximizing on quality again.

When a small college decides to set up a gymnasium, it will focus on the quality of services it can offer to its students; it doesn’t budget on providing services for many students.

4. Campus frenzy

With a multitude of students, comes numerous activities and this brings about the campus frenzy. The sports are major promoters of college spirit. Remember back in high school when we used to rate schools by their superiority in sports?

Larger campuses have a myriad of activities, from games, functions, club meetings, motivational speaking, religious services, parties and much more, happening and most without your knowledge.

Guys are always hyped and this contagious enthusiasm might drown you. Unless you have order and you can manage your time, you will be caught up with this frenzy and you might graduate without basic knowledge and skills from your major.

Smaller campuses are a bit relaxed and orderly. Since the faculty-student ratio is larger, there is more control. The campus spirit is also there, but it isn’t wild.

Occasionally, there are things that will always remind your purpose, such include, random assessment tests, research activities and compulsory school functions.

5. Change

Smaller campuses respond to issues quickly and put things in order sooner. When someone loses a laptop to an alleged outsider who found his way into the campus compound, the entire institution security system is improved and even sometimes the campus adds more guards and checkpoints.

In large campuses students don’t necessarily bring impact for change unless one is exceptionally talented in publicity stunts or through mass action like strikes.

When someone’s room is broken and all gadgets are stolen, and the victim reports the incident, the best hostel attendants can do is to add a lock on the door and ask the victim to buy a bigger padlock from the campus shop.

The only time students force the administration to bring change is when something serious happens like raising fees. This impacts students and when they come forward to present their views, they are backed up by the rest in the spirit of comradeship.

Basically, these are some of the major differences between the two and if you take a keen look, they tend to draw, though it all comes down to the individual; what you prefer. Thanks for your time, feel free to leave a comment or question.

12 thoughts on “5 Differences Between Large colleges and Small colleges”

  1. Great article and an even better sense of humour especially that part ,” The best they can do is advice you to buy a bigger padlock.”

  2. I went to FAU, a very large campus and it was actually perfect for me. They had a club for practically every interest and every day as you walked through the hallways, there were tables set up where students of these clubs would try to recruit you. Yes, it could be a bit annoying sometimes especially if I was in a hurry to be on time to class, but when I had free time, which was often, it was fun to learn about all the different ways students were having fun. So just because the class sizes were often very large, there was still a ton of opportunities to socialize, especially if you live on campus like I did. Also, not every class was huge and even in the classes of hundreds of students, the teachers would usually ask if there were any questions throughout the lecture – at least at the very end. Many times we would have projects too that would require us to get into groups, and you would then get to know some of your classmates. For someone like me that went to a private high school and had a lot of rules growing up, a large campus was completely liberating. It was the perfect environment for me to learn about many different people and ways of life, which helped me learn a lot about myself.

    • Thanks for sharing you past experience, of course everything is relative, os as you have said, large colleges give enough opportunities for socializing too and the you get to meet lots of unique people, the experience is just awesome

  3. Great article! I admit I did not think about any of this when I went off to college over twenty years ago. We had two major state schools and both were huge and that was my choice. In hindsight, I wonder if a smaller state school would have been a better fit. On the plus side, once in my major, which was small, it was sort if like going to a little college within a huge one!

    • Majors that are within large colleges but have few pursuers give a the small college experience in a large campus hence you end up enjoying both ends, thanks for your inisghts

  4. This is a really interesting article. I am from the UK, and as such the US college system is a bit different to ours over here. For a start, we even call it something different, university.
    But my niece is taking law at A level and wants to become a human right lawyer and is thinking of studying in the states, but she has never been so I was searching for something to help her choose and give her some idea about college life over there. This will do the job..
    (she wants to go to harvard – doesn’t the rest of the world!?)

    • Wow, please direct her to this website, it will be of help. I also wanted Harvard by the way, though its quite tough to get in, the rest of the world want it to, i hope your niece will secure an opportunity at Harvard and pursue her dreams. thanks for your comment

  5. I agree with the previous comment. the cost of college is ridiculous. You could be onto something here. People are looking for tremendous value these days and your post highlights the problems with larger colleges. I think you focus on the problem of larger colleges rather than exploring the smaller college option but I get the impression this is what you will focus the rest of the site on. I, like the other poster, wish I could have got rid of the trimmings and got my college course done in two years. Come to think of it,I probably could have done that.

  6. If I could do it all over again, I’d go to a small college that offered a reasonable tuition. A lot of tuition costs at larger colleges go to support gyms, conference centers, sports, etc. If you don’t use those, then part of your tuition is literally wasted on things that have no value for you. Honestly, I’d love to see four-year no frills colleges that focus solely on education, not the fluff that ends up driving up the costs of tuition. College has gotten crazy expensive. Today’s graduates enter the work world with a lot of expensive tuition debt. Just my humble opinion.


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