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“I was hunting everywhere for scholarship. I couldn’t believe when I learnt about a well-defined process to get scholarship. It works because I got scholarship!”, - Jayanth Barman, Currently pursuing MS at John Hopkins University, USA
Hosted by: Manish (IIT Kanpur & IIM Calcutta) & Pooja (Placed 1200+ students abroad)
When students work on their list of universities to apply to, they often wonder whether it is alright to apply to small college, and why many students opt for a state university over a top-tier university. Here are some answers by students in response to these questions.
#1 What are some of the advantages of going to a small college?
- The class sizes are undoubtedly smaller, which makes for a much better learning environment, in my opinion.
- I’ve had the chance to be in touch with several professors, even still. They’re incredibly intelligent and passionate about helping students. I was offered a chance to be a teacher’s assistant in my senior year (twice actually, though I only did it once), which is a great experience, should I go on to grad school. A few have offered to write me letters of recommendation, passed along potential job offerings, etc. If I went to a larger school, I’m sure I wouldn’t have made these close connections.
- Smaller colleges seem (I’m speaking in generalities, of course) to offer better financial options, especially if you have a good GPA. I’ve been awarded several scholarships through the university, which allowed me to be debt-free through 5 years of college.
- The smaller colleges seem to have a few programs that they specialize in. I would be careful to check this out before enrolling in a smaller college. My college has a great nursing program, for example, but I didn’t want to be a nurse. I ended up with a double major in Communication and Psychology. The Communication department is great, but I wish it would’ve focused a bit more on public relations and advertising, two potential career options. My psychology department is in the middle of a massive overall, switching the focus to evolutionary psychology, the new leading school of thought in psychology. I say that to say this; each school has it’s strengths and weaknesses academically, and small colleges are no exception.
#2 Why would someone choose a state university over a top-tier university?
Graduating free of debt is an amazing gift to be given.
For example, I was lucky enough that my family was willing/financially able to support my college tuition up to the price of a state university.
Had I chosen to attend a private university, my family still would have graciously given me that same amount of money, but I would have been at least 100K in debt by the time I graduated.
I will be graduating in about 6 months from a good university, entirely free of debt.
And right now, because of that, so many more opportunities are open to me. I don’t have to immediately begin working, nervous about paying back thousands of dollars in student loans.
Moreover, if someone attends a university that isn’t from the “top-tier” for their bachelor’s program, they still have the option to attend a top-tier university for graduate school, where they can hopefully secure funding.