College Search Tips: 5 Advantages of Big and Small Colleges

If you’re a prospective college student, there are many things you need to think about during the college selection process.

Most students will consider academics, school clubs, and a job opportunities as they research potential colleges, but one of the most important aspects of choosing a college (that a lot of students don’t think about) is the size of the campus.

Campus life and the size of campus is just as important as academics in order to guarantee a great college experience. Student enrollment on any college campus can range from 2,000 to 50,000 students, which makes a huge difference in class size, campus resources, and extracurricular activities offered.

Often, campus size if the reason many students transfer colleges. To help with your college selection process, I’ve complied a list of college search tips. Below are 5 benefits of attending small and big colleges:

Class Size

Generally, big colleges have larger classrooms. Some lectures can have over 200 students, which means you may not get the attention you want or be able to ask many during class questions. You might have to rely more on asking a classmate for help or meeting with your professor during office hours.

For smaller colleges, however, professors have more personal and interactive discussions with students. This gives individual students more attention and allows more questions to be asked in class.

Libraries and Resources

Big colleges tend to have more libraries and resources. They also have more campus events like inviting various speakers to give presentations and hosting panel discussions. Some large universities have specific libraries for the different programs, such as a medical library for med students and a fine arts library for fine arts majors, etc.

Smaller schools also have the same resources, but in limited number. They might have one main library and inside there may be different sections for different programs of study. However, because of all the advancements in technology and electronic databases, having less print resources will likely not hinder the level of education received.

Extracurricular activities

Because of their size, big colleges with more students tend to have more extracurricular activities for specific areas of interest. For example, there may be clubs for Spanish and French, as well as Dutch, Arabic, etc. There may also be more members per group.

In smaller schools, there will be some specialized extracurricular activities, but you won’t find as many as you would on a larger campus. For example, language clubs for Spanish and French will likely be available (because they may be sought out more than other languages), but some of the less common languages might not be.


Again because of their size, big colleges have more national recognition. They typically have large alumni bases, professors, writers, and athletics. In smaller schools, they do not have the same recognition in several areas, however, they do have recognition in specific areas, such as a film school or liberal arts college.


Larger schools usually have more students. This means that you will meet a lot of new people everyday. You may have different groups of friends based on different areas of interest. There would also be more people to interact with. This may make some people nervous, but it may also make others very excited.

In smaller schools, it may be more similar to high school. You will see familiar faces everywhere you go and everyone might know everyone. Some people are more comfortable with this idea because it would allow deeper relationships with others, and others might not like it because they want to see new faces.

After you decide the size of the school you want to attend, as well as the specific school, make sure to visit the campus and see what kind of feel you get about it. You should also look into all of the programs and the activities you want to join. You may find that you like a big colleges more than a small ones or the other way around.

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Hanan is a senior at Western Michigan University majoring in communication studies and minoring in advertising and promotion. On a normal day, Hanan can be found working as an assistant manager at her school's student recreation center, hanging out with friends, writing, or sleeping (which is her favorite activity). When she has free time during the weekends, she loves to stay in and watch Adventure Time (her favorite TV show).