Comparing Large and Small Colleges Video

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  • 0:04 Comparing Colleges
  • 0:52 Benefits
  • 2:18 Questions to Ask
  • 4:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Choosing a college can feel overwhelming. There are many elements that you can use to evaluate colleges. In this lesson, we'll look at how the size of a college can influence its school culture, and how to know what size school is right for you.

Comparing Colleges

Russ is very excited. He's a senior in high school and is applying to colleges. He isn't sure where he'll be next year, but he's excited to find out.

Russ has to decide which colleges to apply to. He knows that there are different ways to evaluate colleges: finances, prestige, student support, location and many others. But what should he be looking at when deciding between colleges?

One way to evaluate colleges is to consider the size of the college. By comparing large and small colleges, Russ can begin to get a feel for which size would be best for him. Let's look at the benefits of both large and small colleges, as well as questions that Russ should ask himself when deciding what's right for him.


Both large and small colleges have benefits. The first step in comparing them, then, involves understanding how size affects education. Large schools often have more resources, including a lot of money for faculty research, which could lead to student jobs as research assistants. Russ is going to be a psychology major, so he would love to get a job as a research assistant to a faculty member.

Large schools can also offer more class and major choices than small schools. Many large schools offer a variety of classes. Just in the psychology department, Russ might find courses on neuroscience, education, mental health, technology and a whole host of other classes related to psychology. At a smaller school, the classes offered might be more limited.

On the other hand, small colleges can offer more attention and individual support than large schools. At a large university, Russ' introduction to psychology course might have hundreds of students, whereas at a small school, it might only have 30 or 40. That's a big difference and can mean that he gets more attention and support from the faculty.

Small colleges can also offer a more supportive environment. Russ might find that most people at a small college know him, and his advisor and professors might follow up with him and see how he's doing.

Questions to Ask

So, if both large and small schools have benefits, how can Russ choose which is best for him? Finding the right size college is a highly individual experience. In order to know what size college to choose, Russ should ask himself a few questions.

1. How motivated am I?

At a large school, it's easy to fall between the cracks. The students who do well in large schools are highly motivated go-getters. If Russ is motivated enough to take control of his academic life, he could do very well at a large school. If not, he might find a small school suits him better.

2. Do I have a plan?

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