Are Bigger Colleges Better? The Pros and Cons of a Small School

By Emily Harris

Elm Staff Writer

So Chestertown is small. Noted. It makes sense then that Washington College is not a particularly large school. In fact, it’s not much bigger than my high school. There are a lot of reasons why this is great, and a few reasons why, sometimes, it isn’t. A small school is really appealing to some people, while some write it off immediately. It’s like that Smart Car commercial where some enlightened office guy protests the chorus of “big” with a contradictory “small.” There are big schools everywhere, and WC holds its own against them.

First of all, since there are fewer people, we take up less space. Consequently, you can walk from one side of campus to the other in no time at all. Because it’s just that small. Another bonus is that on that very short walk, you’ll recognize a lot of people. The WC community is a small but friendly place, so everyone says hi to everyone. I doubt that happens as often on a campus of twenty thousand students, as opposed to fewer than two thousand.

Since there aren’t very many WC students, the faculty and administration pay more attention to individuals, for example, the dining hall. I’ve visited larger campuses where all you could find was fast food. It made me miss vegetables. Here at WC, they try to offer healthier options and reach out to vegetarian students to make meal times easy for them too. Small things like this are what make a small college feel more like home and less like a never-ending sea of people.

It’s true, however, that a small school does have its shortcomings. WC doesn’t have a football team, which means students miss out on something that usually brings a college community together. However, there are so many other campus events that bring people together, and they don’t get crazy or out of control because of our small number of students. There may be less of a variety as far as academics, but there are unique opportunities offered here at WC that big schools can’t offer because of their location or because of their size. And maybe WC doesn’t have a Starbucks and a Chick-fil-A and all those other awesome places on campus. But let’s be honest, it has everything a student could need, including kind, respectful people. And the last thing a college student needs is an excuse to eat more food.

“I came here because the campus is pretty,” reasons my very eloquent roommate  and Freshmen Jess Kehler, . And it’s true; the college’s campus always looks nice. Since it’s a small place, it’s not impossible to take care of it and make it a decent place for students to live. This is not always the case on larger campuses with more buildings than trees. I think small campuses are great because you can hardly ever be late for anything, there are familiar faces everywhere, and it’s easier to settle in and feel more at home. It seems like all of these appealing traits keep attracting both old and new students every year, all of them realizing that bigger isn’t always better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *