Face off: Pros and cons of smaller universities

Pros of Smaller Schools

By Skylyr VanDerveer

I went on a ton of college tours throughout my high school career. Both my younger brother and I travelled up and down the east coast to find our perfect school. When looking into the schools more, I found myself drawn to the idea of going to a smaller university.

One of the classic favorite parts of attending a smaller school is having smaller class sizes. I can easily focus on the professor, since I don’t have to worry about a million conversations behind me. It’s also really easy to develop a one-on-one relationship with the professors. Having the same professor for multiple classes a semester is amazing, in my opinion. I also like knowing most of the students who share my major and/or minor.

Another pro to smaller schools is housing. Although NSU’s resident halls aren’t a five-star hotel, a lot of the options are so much nicer than ones offered by larger universities. No communal showers and bathrooms! My room in Goodwin last year is twice, maybe three the size of my brother’s at Florida Atlantic University.

My absolute favorite part about attending a smaller university is the sense of community we have. I know it’s cliche and all, but we really can rely on each other when times are rough. Celebrating the good stuff is also really fun, as everyone seems to cheer each other on. It almost feels as if the NSU community is my second family.

Of course not everything is perfect when attending any university. In the end, you have to chose the best place that suits your needs. It’s important that you feel comfortable in your community. Does that mean you have to attend a smaller school? No, each individual has different needs when going to college. But, if I had to recommend, I would say smaller schools.


Cons of a Small University

By Kathleen Crapson

Are small universities better? It’s all relative. Every individual is different, and their experiences may vary. In terms of cost, equal promotion of programs, accessible class times, and the size of campus small universities are lacking. Although NSU is getting larger and larger every year, by definition, we are a small university.

When I graduated high school, NSU seemingly did not have my major. Due to the stressing of science majors, I did not even know that the department of performing and visual arts (PVA) existed until two years ago. In this aspect, the promotion of all the university had to offer was small. If I knew that NSU had PVA, I may have skipped community college and came  straight to NSU.

Small universities also tend to be private. And in our case, small, private universities mean a large price tag. Since the cost of salaries, utilities, and facilities are not shared amongst multiple students, the price per student is higher. “NSU graduates make higher wages upon graduation” is a highlight of promotional flyers. But do higher wages mean higher take home pay or are the numbers by those who are in lucrative fields?

For many programs at a small university, there is less staff on hand. This leads to registration being an interesting jenga challenge. If you need to take certain classes at certain times, you may be out of luck. Specialized programs and classes may only have one professor at a time teaching that class. It leads to prioritization of which classes may not be best for your career skills, but what you need to graduate.

Once you get to your first day of class, you begin to realize that classes have many of the same faces. Sure, you may find that you have things in common, but if you cannot connect beyond your major, it can be isolating. In that respect, it can feel like middle or high school. Some thrive on this university experience, where they can meet new people with every class, and retain some form of anonymity. But some don’t.

About Skylyr Vanderveer and Kathleen Crapson

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