The Differences Between A Small And Large University


Before I get into this list, I want to point out that these are my personal experiences from transferring from a small school to a larger school. I spent a year and a half at a small school in West Virginia and then decided to transfer into a much larger school in the middle of my sophomore year. A lot of things on this list are not so conventional things that I’ve noticed between the two schools I attended, so it may not be true for all schools. So to begin:

Food Options

This may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re stuck in a small town, 30 minutes away from a major-ish city, you want some decent food options that don’t include a 24/7 gas station. The small university I attended had almost no options after 10:00pm. There were about 5-8 restaurants within the town, and most of them closed around 10:00-11:00pm. For a college student, that’s not too great. However, when arriving at the larger university, food options were abundant! I was so excited- so many restaurants and chains I recognized, and some I did not. It was a dream, especially when I can go get tacos at 3:00am. Granted, the 24/7 gas station in Nowheresville, West Virginia had a great Mozzarella stick burger, it does not beat the idea of having almost anything my heart desires at any time I want.

Free Stuff

As a college student, you live for the free things. Like, if there was a way to only acquire free things through college, I’m sure many people would be utilizing it right now. However, you can’t go through college completely free (tuition, am I right?). But, after going to the larger university, I received so many free things within the first week and a half I was there. T-shirts, water bottles, bumper stickers, planners, towels, koozies, even protein powder! It was so awesome. It’s like every opportunity is an opportunity to receive free stuff. At my smaller school, getting free stuff was hard to come by. Two to three times a year we had an opportunity to receive some free items- granted, a few of those were pretty awesome: a custom license plate, a water bottle with a picture of you and your friends on it, a t-shirt once, and most importantly, Dippin Dots. Now, comparatively, the smaller school may have had some quality items they were giving away; however, it wasn’t often. Some people may view this as a way to treat people for doing well, but as a college kid, you can live off of some of these free items.

Clubs and Organizations

Generally, larger schools have more access to organizations, clubs, and opportunities than a smaller school due to the amount of students that are on campus. If there are more students, there’s more of a desire to get out and do something with those people; there are people who want to start clubs and get others active; there are people that want to lead and others who want to follow. In a smaller school, there may not be as much access to these kinds of things. I remember my “Open House” for the smaller school I attended and it was kind of pathetic. All the organizations could fit under this giant tent on the small courtyard in the middle of campus. And there were not a lot of choices, either. Yet, on the larger campus, I can find almost anything to match any of my interests. Especially for obscure hobbies or interests, such as underwater basket weaving, or Quidditch, or something else that not many people think of.

Possibility of Having an Empty Weight Room

Everyone may not be able to relate to this, however, if you do, let me tell you the joys of being able to have an entire weight room to yourself. Imagine, endless selfies in the mirrors, being able to stand in front of the mirrors and watch yourself workout without having to share, not having to wait for a squat rack, or any other equipment. Doesn’t that sound like heaven? An upside to going to a small school, is there is a higher possibility of having a weight room all to yourself 7 times out of 10, versus having it all to yourself at a larger school. Every time I go to the REC at my larger school, there is always, at least, 20 people there doing something or another. It’s quite sad because sometimes I’d much rather look disgusting and kind of weird without worrying that someone is looking at me funny.

Time That You Have to Wait in Line

This is a serious matter. Have you ever had to wait in line for almost two hours waiting for textbooks? Well, have you? Because I have. And it’s awful. Especially when you are almost late to class and have to run across the biggest campus in the world just to make it to class on time. And let me tell you, it is not fun running with a box of textbooks and a backpack dragging you down. At my smaller school, lines were pretty nonexistent. I could walk into any office on campus and 9 times out of 10, I was the only person there that needed to talk to someone. I never had to wait to talk with someone because they were dealing with another student. Even waiting at the bookstore to purchase something took less than five minutes every time. It was so lovely! But it made having to actually wait in lines difficult- it spoiled me greatly.

Schools Access to Money

This is a more serious topic than the others because it does have a lot of impact on how your school funds many of the activities you might enjoy doing. Sometimes, smaller schools have a harder time gaining access to funds to upkeep certain programs, while it may be easier for a larger school to gain those funds. The biggest reason why I left my school was because it lacked the funds to keep the English degree program open. So when I decided to leave, it made the choice much easier knowing that I could find a school that could actually fund the activities and degrees that I wanted to pursue. So far, at my large school, I’ve had no issues with worrying about whether or not something was going to close because of a lack of money and I’m really glad about that; because now I can enjoy underwater basket weaving without fear that my school will shut down the program due to a lack of money.