At a small college or university you get to have an experience like no other. I attended UMW-a university with less than 5,000 students- and all my friends who went to larger institutions are always so amazed when I describe my unique college experiences. Their classes could have anywhere between 25 and 250 students and they had about 5,000 students or more in their graduating class. Although my college experience did not include debating which major dining hall was the best, cheering on the football team on college game day, or sitting through hours and hours of graduation, it was my perfect fit and I would not have wanted to go anywhere else. Here are a few reasons that I loved the small school vibe:
1. Odds are if someone asks you if you know someone who goes there, you probably do.
Since campus isn’t too big and humans are creatures of habit, you most likely see a familiar face every day on your way to class. You can stop and chat, or bench sit for a bit to see your friends.
2. Nothing is ever too far away.
When you can make it to the furthest building from where you live in less than 10 minutes, you know you go to a smaller school. Making it across campus in the 10 minutes you have to get to your next class becomes a bit of a competition, you think to yourself “What’s the best route I can take?” It’s also nice to be able to roll out of bed 10 minutes before class too.
3. You usually know everything that is going on.
From campus sponsored events to other community activities, you probably have heard word of what is going on that week. It could have been from the Facebook event one of your friends invited you to, students talking about it in class, or the handy bulletin board in the center of campus- and if you haven’t heard yet, you may just run into it happening.
4. Your professors REALLY do know your name.
Most universities and colleges like to advertise their school with the statement that “Professors know your name, even in lecture style classes.” Truthfully, this isn’t always the case at larger schools. Some classes are not even taught by professors, they are taught by Graduate Assistants! At a smaller school, professors REALLY do know the students in their classes, whether they are in their major or not. While at UMW, if the class was 60 students or 10, my professors new my name within the first two weeks of classes.
5. Nothing is ever too crowded.
At a school with about 4,500 students, with a chunk of those students being commuters, you will always be able to find a seat at the library or dining hall. Sure, during finals week or at noon in the dining hall is a whole different story, but for the most part, at a smaller school there will always be a place for you.
6. You will always see people you know around campus.
Whether it is a friend, an ex-boyfriend, girlfriend, or that professor whose class you skipped today- you will see them. On a small campus it is hard to avoid anyone. You will probably also see a few dogs that you know the names of, but their owners- not so much.
7. There are close connections.
When it comes time for you to look for a job, internship, or volunteer opportunity, there is always someone who knows someone that can help you out. Professors are your key at small schools. They know graduates, people in their fields and organizations, and so many other unique opportunities they can offer to their students. AND since they know your name, they can help you out.
8. There are cool secret spots.
Every campus has their special spots. Whether it’s a nearby park, river, or a cool forgotten room on campus- it is fun to find new places to study and keep it all to yourself. Smaller, older schools have unique spaces that used to be libraries, little nooks that overlook downtown, and places that maybe you’re probably not supposed to be in.
9. You don’t just feel at home, you are at home.
If you are in love with your small college or university you will never want to leave. You will feel at home in your college town, because it is your new home.