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chelle21689's avatar

Is it better to go to a more famous college or a small college?

Asked by chelle21689 (5291 points ) June 18th, 2010

It’s a little too soon for me to be worrying about this but I was wondering what you guys thought. I have the opportunity to go to Ohio State University which is the largest campus in America. The pro is it’s brand name. It’s really well known and for some reason people tend to think bigger=better. It also has a lot of cons like classrooms with over 50 students, extremely expensive parking, long distance traveling from class to class, and tuition costs more.

Or I could go to a smaller university, smaller class rooms, but it’s name isn’t really famous.

Do people really care about what college you go to? I mean, would going to a more “famous” school help you?

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25 Answers

jazmina88's avatar

I went to small liberal arts Murray State in KY. It was perfect. Depending on your major interests, that can be a big factor. Name is nothing. It’s the college experience.

You dont’t want to be a jelly in the gulf.

chelle21689's avatar

So if I went to a smaller university it wouldn’t put me at a disadvantage if someone went to a larger university when it comes down to resumes and getting a job?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I went to a college that is both small and famous (Dartmouth), they exist.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think some of it depends on your major, but generally speaking I don’t think it matters. I think it’s best to go with what makes you the most comfortable and which one would be better for you personally. If you would have more success with the smaller university, that is the way to go.

I went to a Community College for my ADN and never have had a problem getting a job as a nurse anywhere. I even moved to states that had never heard of my school. They really didn’t care about the school, just my nursing license and the degree that I had.

unused_bagels's avatar

I went to a small college. Class size, relationships with professors, and lack of cliques were the perks. I recommend it.

chelle21689's avatar

I like smaller universities because it’s less of a hassle. But for some reason I feel like having a bigger university’s brand would help a lot.

chelle21689's avatar

I want to go for business and the bigger university has a #33 ranking in business in the nation. I don’t know if that means I should go

unused_bagels's avatar

Don’t go just because it’s going to look good on paper or help you get a job. College doesn’t give people jobs, it gives them a unique learning experience. Follow your heart and don’t get caught up in brand naming. If you think the bigger college is going to provide you a better education in your field, that should be a deciding factor, not looks.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Since you want to study business, research which universities are in the top 10 for that. If you can get into one of those and can afford it, then go there. Barring that, it honestly doesn’t matter, in my opinion.

In all my years in the business world, no one ever asked me where I got my degree. They were only interested in the fact that I had one.

Iclamae's avatar

I think it really really depends on your personality.

Can you handle taking classes with 400 students in a room?
Are you outgoing with your professors?

I went to a school with 4,000 undergrads, but a good name. It’s considered on the small size but the common courses like “Intro to Chemistry” and such still had 200–400 students in one room. If you can learn in that kind of atmosphere and are an outgoing person, I think you’ll be fine at a large school.

If you need more one on one work with your professor, it is possible to arrange that but you have to actively arrange it outside of class and around their work schedule. You won’t get much in class help in classes that size.

Also, at the end of it all, if you need letters of recommendation from professors, at a big school, it will really depend on how outgoing you were and how much you tried to make professors know you existed.

Going to a school like mine had its perks in terms of facilities, activities, people from all over the world. But you have to be more in control of your education. In a school with a huge population, it’s really easy to lose yourself in the masses and drown if you don’t work to keep your head up.

chelle21689's avatar

I’d be happier at a small-medium university :)

dpworkin's avatar

I think for your undergraduate work you should go wherever you feel most comfortable, and then choose your school carefully for your advanced degree.

Merriment's avatar

I just read a very good article about a book Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money And Failing Our Kids-and What We Can Do About It Written by Claudia Dreifus and Andrew Hacker.

Their advice is don’t send your kids to a status symbol. They charge that these big names schools are too expensive ($250,000 for four years) and what kids have to show for it is indebtedness that shackles their futures.

That astronomical $$ doesn’t go into better teachers, either. Instead it is directed to “institutional growth, empire building and full-time pay and perks”.

These big names also set the bar for tuitions across the board. For example Harvard raised it’s fee to over $50,000.00 a year and that will trigger increases throughout the system because Harvard sets the trend. Sets the trend is a kind euphemism for the similarity of tuition costs that would “make an anti-trust lawyer salivate”.

Then there is the mistaken notion that all that big$$ indicates better teachers. The truth is over 70% of college teachers at even top schools (Yale, Harvard, Stanford) are graduate students, adjuncts or gypsy visiting professors.

Some colleges have as few as 24 full-time faculty and about 90 adjuncts per term. And 181,000 teaching assistants work at 280 universities. Assistants who at Yale, only earn $20,000.00 per year. So Students aren’t being taught by the cream of the crop they are being taught, in many cases, by the cheapest labor.

If you aren’t getting high-end instruction why pay high-end costs?

I think you are better off getting a degree you can afford without hocking your entire future with mega student loans.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would look for a smaller college with a good business program reputation, and then a strong MBA program. With a business major, you will want to position yourself to have minimum debt for undergrad, but strong enough academics for grad school acceptance. Keep in mind that “business” is an undergrad major is rather nebulous; many industries tend towards hiring liberal arts undergraduate majors. And a significant number of students change their mind about their major their first two years of college (like 85%)

If you’re in Ohio, you have lots of great in-state choices, both large and small.

saservp's avatar

My advice is to go to school wherever you can get MONEY to go there. Don’t pay for school, if you have to pay, pay the least amount possible. All that matters these days is that you have the qualification. A bachelors degree will no longer help you get into a job, it is merely a checkbox that needs to be completed.

DavisSt's avatar

All depend upon your interest and needs. Do whatever you feel perfect, but only after analysing the things properly.

Remember 1 thing that wherever the talents are, they find the place to move on to success. They do not rely on getting best for them, they make their own way to the best for being successful. So, make your decision thinking about that.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

For me I go for a combo of “reputation not totally in the dumper” and “large campus”. I’d rather have a large campus with tons of diversity than small classrooms. But, it does help that the easiest way for me to learn is from a lecture with visual aids and reading material, which can be done well at any class size.

mrrich724's avatar

Go to a famous “medium” university . . . FSU!

ItsAHabit's avatar

There is no best college for everyone. Some prefer a large anonymous university whereas other s thrive in a small college with a strong sense of community. I think that the prestige of the institution s a factor that is generally over-rated. This is certainly the case after you get your first job.

janbb's avatar

Go to whatever school you feel will fit your learning style and social comfort level the best. Enjoyment and positive learning are the best things you can get out of undergraduate school; prestige is a much more nebulous quality.

MarthaStewart's avatar

I don’t think that large classes are anything to be concerned about. I’ve studied at large universities and small colleges and many of the large classes were the best I’ve ever taken. But Ohio State isn’t Harvard; outside of the football world, I’m not sure whom you think is raving about it. I would suggest you place the greatest emphasis on finding a college that is best at what YOU want to study, and one in which you FEEL good while you’re there. If you feel the place is too big or too small, keep looking.

chelle21689's avatar

Probably got it from ohio state students who are too proud lol

bolwerk's avatar

@chelle21689: Going to college to get a job is really probably a waste, unless you’re on a professional track of some sort. However, many employers do expect a BA or BS these days, regardless of what it’s in, so it may be a waste you’ll have to endure. However, it’s really unlikely to make a huge difference on your resume.

You should probably pick school based on your interests, not its size. Size can be good if you are unsure what your interests are; find a place with a lot of offerings and dabble. But it can be a drawback because it’s less personal. If you know what you want, pick a program that fits your needs regardless of its size.

Anyway, the distinction between OSU vs. a small liberal arts college is actually probably about research. A strong research-oriented school is typically going to be bigger and more expensive to operate than an equivalent school elsewhere. Sometimes that extra cost will be reflected in the tuition, sometimes not. California makes this pretty abundantly clear: the University of California system is full of big research schools, while Cal State’s smaller system is for liberal arts schools and drooling morons who just need a BA.

shared3's avatar

Go to the better one. Don’t let fame OR size be the deciding factors.

Will the smaller, less famous one provide you with a better education? Better post-graduation opportunities?

mattbrowne's avatar

Good reputation matters not size.

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