When you’re considering which university or college to attend, you will notice that schools are split into two main categories: public and private. Each comes with its own list of benefits, but attending a private university offers advantages such as smaller class sizes, financial incentives, a community of students, and academic excellence.
Smaller Class Sizes
Most private universities have smaller numbers of students, which means the classes are smaller. This isn’t always the case, but you could be in a class of just 10-15 students. Even most lecture halls at private universities are smaller than what you will find at a public university or college. You won’t be overlooked in a massive classroom with hundreds of students or more. Many students find the smaller class sizes contribute to improved learning, since they get more personalized teaching and can ask questions about the subject as needed.
Another benefit of smaller class sizes is that students can typically get into the classes they need to progress in their majors and graduate on time. The competition isn’t as high to register for classes, even prerequisites that all students across all majors will need. You can typically find courses that work with your schedule, whether you are working or managing other extracurricular activities.
The professors at private universities tend to be some of the best in their respective fields. These individuals have impressive academic track records, including advanced degrees and impressive work in their areas of study. You might also notice the professors you encounter at a private university are more invested in your success. A professor at a private university might feel more loyal to that school, so he or she could feel more invested in the students.
If you have questions about the coursework or need help navigating certain aspects of the subject matter, you can likely meet with your professor to get more information and form a relationship. When you develop strong relationships with important people in your major, such as these prestigious professors, this can open doors to career opportunities and further education. You might need letters of recommendation to go on to pursue a master’s degree or score an internship. Getting a letter from a professor with whom you have a great relationship can help to set you apart.
While the average tuition cost at private universities is higher than the cost at public colleges and universities, students can qualify for incentives to offset the total. If you have an interest in going to a specific school, start looking for merit-based scholarships, grants, and other financial aid available specifically through that school. As you start the application process, look into options for financial aid and scholarships. Many private universities have generous packages available to help prospective students who can’t pay the full amount on their own.
Some alumni and supporters of the university will also set up scholarships specifically for students at the school. Look into these options to see if you meet the requirements for any of these scholarships. When the university is interested in you as well, the admissions and financial counselors may help you find ways to pay for school.
When you attend a public college or university, you may find that a number of the students are less involved in on-campus activities or sticking around to talk to professors after class. Some public universities are commuter campuses, which means the students come from all over the area to attend classes but don’t spend much time there aside from class time. Taking on a leadership role on campus is often easier at a smaller, private university because you won’t have as much competition when you run for a student leadership office.
At a private university, you can get more of the true college experience with dorm living and campus activities. If you want to make the most of your experience, make sure to get involved as much as possible. Join clubs that interest you, form study groups with people in your classes, and develop relationships with professors.
When you arrive for your first campus visit or check out the website of a private university, you will quickly notice that the main focus of the school is the education. The curriculum and coursework at a private university will be challenging, but you’ll learn a great deal about your chosen field. The professors come in with knowledge and expertise, ready to share their wisdom with students that want to learn.
Reflect Your Values
Many private universities have religious affiliations, which allows students to express their beliefs and to interact with students and faculty who share those beliefs. In a public college setting, you won’t have much by way of religion since the classes stay neutral. If you believe in a certain religion or affiliation, you can continue with those beliefs by attending a university that helps you stay close to your religion. When spirituality is important, it’s nice to have an outlet and feel like you’re surrounded with others who share your values.
Completing a degree at a private university also comes with prestige, which can put you at an advantage when you’re applying for jobs. The professors lead their fields, ensuring you get an education that prepares you for the career you want to pursue. Private colleges may also offer research opportunities for undergraduate students, giving you additional chances to learn more about your major and take part in important research related to it.
As you make your decision about where to attend school, consider these advantages of choosing a private university. Every college and university offers its own unique set of benefits to students. However, private universities come with some extras that can make your college experience more positive. As you continue your education, you will prepare for a fulfilling career path, so making the right choice for your lifestyle, learning style, and the factors important to you will ensure you have the experience to remember.