“One of the wonderful things about going to a small college is you can get into everything”- Art Linkletter.
At this point in your college search, you’re probably most concerned with just getting into college. So what does Art Linkletter mean by “get into everything”? Well, smaller colleges offer you the opportunity to not only invest yourself into your passions, but give new hobbies a try, even if you haven’t had experience in high school. They also allow you to pursue your calling with the support and encouragement of staff and faculty that know you…and not as just a seat in a large lecture hall.
Here are three reasons why when it comes to colleges, less is more:
There are more opportunities to be deeply invested
At a smaller college, you can really invest yourself in people, the community, your passions and your future. With smaller class sizes, you get to know and be inspired by the community. If you have a great conversation with someone in the Student Union, you know you’ll run into them again. If you go to the cafeterias alone, you’ll see familiar, friendly faces you can join. You can be a leader in a club or organization that you may just be a bystander at another school. Larger schools may have more majors, but smaller schools often allow you to cater your major to you and give you more flexibility within your classes. You get to know your professors and benefit from their mentorship and opportunities to grow, like these Communications students who created their own Creative Communications conference.
Many people assume that in order to get research experience, you have to go to a large research university. Not true! You can get in-depth research experience at a smaller school, and because you have smaller class sizes and individual attention, you can often do this research alongside your professors. (Check out why a recent Grove City grad chose to leave her large research university for the Grove City College community here).
At the same time, you don’t have to be super set in your passions…
There is more freedom to try new things
Have you ever wanted to learn how to ballroom dance but were too nervous to try? Have you dreamed of publishing those poems you’ve written and hid under your bed? What about planning an amazing school event or a fundraiser that will have a broad impact on another community? You can give all of these activities and more a try in college—without a lot of experience or a huge time commitment. Larger schools will certainly have plenty of organizations to join, but with more competition for making sports teams, getting published, or getting elected to committees, it’s easy to feel intimidated and overwhelmed.
At a smaller school you can become an integral part of Student Government Association, a ministry group like Young Life, or a sport no matter your experience level. At Grove City, my roommate was able to get amazing committee experience during her senior year in Student Government (without having been a member before), and my friends and I formed an IM bowling team, despite our less than stellar record. I also joined the Grove City College Journal of Law and Public Policy, which I likely would have been too afraid to at a larger school, but I’m so glad I did! These experiences gave me so much confidence in myself, and getting involved taught me that nothing is out of reach. Plus, if there isn’t a group you are really interested in, you can start one! Check out how one student started a bubble soccer team!
There is more individualized attention
This is one of the most valuable aspects of a smaller college—the professors, Career Services, Academic Resources, alumni, and staff know you by name and are eager to help you discover God’s purpose for your life. Our professors teach all of our classes and labs, so you’ll get to know them on an individual level in the classroom and also in office hours, at campus events, and in the Grove City community. You may even find yourself invited over for dinner, like the Sociology professors’ chili cook-off! Our Career Services office will work with you starting freshmen year as you think about your future calling and help you pursue your purpose over all four years. Our 6 full-time staff members will be able to connect you with alumni in your field across the country and provide individualized help with things like resumes, interviewing skills, and learning how to work a career fair. It’s okay to be unsure right now of what you want to do professionally, especially when you have our nationally ranked Career Services office to help!
Larger colleges and universities may seem to have more of everything—more students and professors, more buildings and cafeteria options, and more doors opened for students to succeed. While larger schools will naturally have a larger population and campus, they don’t necessarily have a larger chance for success. Sure, they can provide you with a hallway full of doors, but will they walk alongside you down that hallway to help you choose the right path? The truth is, smaller schools can often open just as many doors for students, while helping them find the right door and making sure it is wide open.
Here’s what current junior Tori Graf said about choosing between a larger and smaller school:
“When I was going through the college search I had it narrowed down to two schools; Grove City College and a large state school. These two schools couldn’t be more different and ultimately the decision came down to if I wanted the big school experience or the comfort of a small school. I can honestly say that for me, I made the right choice. I love walking to class and passing familiar faces, having my professors know my name, and having opportunities I would never have at a big school. At Grove City, I am not just another face in the crowd. I have been able to develop deep friendships with people over the years and get to know so many people through being involved in so many extracurricular activities that would have never been possible at a large school.”
Art Linkletter was right–you can get into everything!*
*Okay, well, maybe not everything. You might be a little busy if you were in ALL of Grove City’s 150+ clubs and organizations. But if you start an IM bowling team, sign me up!