First Year Vibes: The Pros of a Small College

Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor

I graduated from a high school that had a total of 1,000 students, with 250 of them being in the class of 2018. To some people, that may sound like a big group, while others consider it small; regardless, my school was overcrowded compared to the other schools in my county. A typical class size at THS was 25-30 students, and the smallest class I had was 16 students.

When trying to make a decision on college, I was conflicted between going to a state school or attending a private college. I had always gone to a public school, but I was not opposed to trying a private school. My main focus during senior year was deciding on what size school I wanted to attend.

At first, going to a big school like Virginia Tech was enticing. Practically my whole town roots for the Hokies, VT has a great academic reputation, and I have been told going to their football games is one of the most exciting parts of life (I do not believe that entirely). Also, it is very easy to buy Hokie attire in my hometown. Just walk into Walmart and one will see the shelves of orange and maroon.

I was convinced I wanted to go to a big school until April, when I actually toured a big school. Just walking into VT’s dining hall was overwhelming. There were so many people, but I realized that I would probably never see the same person again because of how large the campus is. Even though I was with my parents, I suddenly started feeling like just another face in the crowd. No one knew me, and I did not like that feeling coming from a small, rural town, where everyone knows everyone.

So, like any distressed eighteen-year-old would do, I decided to go to a small school, and I have never regretted my decision.

At first, I was nervous when I found out one of my classes at U of L would only be seven students. I am quiet in class and I hate getting attention, but I knew I would be getting it when there were so few people in the class. But, surprisingly, being in a small class actually gave me confidence to speak up more often. Plus, I was able to get more one-on-one help if needed.

But, the relationships I have developed are the best part of being at a small school. No matter where I am on campus, it is likely that I will run into someone I know. At times, this can be annoying, but overall, I love being waved or spoken to on the way to class, the dining hall, etc. Since I am in Westover, most of my classmates are also my hallmates, which is something I never thought I would like until I started college.

In addition to relationships with classmates, I have also gotten to know my professors personally due to small class sizes. If I were in a class with 100+ students, I could be absent and no one would know to check on me; but, if I miss class here, my professors and classmates realize I am absent. Also, when I see my professors outside of class, they remember my name!

Overall, I could not be any happier that I chose a small school because it has aided my personal growth in so many ways and has given me awesome opportunities.