Pros And Cons Of Small And Large Universities - Freshered
white university during daytime
Photo by Emily Karakis on Unsplash

Pros And Cons Of Small And Large Universities

Molly Raby June 12, 2023

Choosing which university you are going to can be a harder choice than choosing your degree. You will be living at this university for the next three years, as a minimum, so you want to like it. To help narrow your search down, you need to decide whether you want a small, campus university or a larger university. Both have their pros and cons and there is no correct answer. You simply need to choose which feels right for you.

Pros Of Small Universities

More Attention

Studying at a smaller university means that there will be less students and therefore more time for your tutors to get to know you and your learning styles. With more time to spend on you personally, you will make deeper connections with your tutors and classmates which will only be positive in the long run. Hopefully, this also means that you will be more inclined to ask for help when needed.

Due to the smaller classes, you also have a better chance of standing out amongst the crowd. This relates to classes, sports teams and any other university curriculum you may be involved in. In larger universities, the competition is harder simply because of the sheer volume of people.

Cosy Campus

A small university is like living in a small town or village. Within a few weeks, you will know most people and feel a real sense of community. With a smaller campus, you are more likely to make deep connections with people not just on your course, but those on other courses too.

This will make you feel less alone as you always have someone around that you know whether you like them or not.

Short Walks

One of the main cons of a large university is that you have long walks to each class. Sometimes you may need to get a bus from one class to another which can become expensive and tiring. With small universities, you need not worry about being late to class, as most buildings are near one another.

Photo by Richard Cabusao on Unsplash

Cons Of Small University

Limited Choice

Smaller universities typically have more limited courses. This means that if you decide to change courses at any point, you will not have as much choice as you would have at a larger university.

There are also limited choices in terms of extracurricular activities, student union spaces and sports teams. Of course, you can still have a great experience here, but there will not be as many options on offer to you as there would be at a larger university.


Whilst you may get more attention from teachers, this does not mean that you will enjoy their teaching style or that you enjoy the attention at all. This can become slightly suffocating as there will be more pressure on you to perform well if there are less students.

Small universities may also lack diversity, which some people may struggle with.

Pros Of Large Universities

Ample Choice

Large universities are as such because they offer more courses. This means that you are more likely to be able to find a niche course that is attractive to you rather than a vague course that you could possibly enjoy at a smaller university.

This also means that should you wish to change onto another course at any point, there is ample choice for you to switch to.

More Anonymity

Sometimes these universities can garner classes of over 300 students in each class. This means that they are never going to be able to have a one on one relationship with each and every student, which can be a positive. There is less pressure on you to know everything as the likelihood you will be singled out in class is small.

This also means that if you are having a bad day, regarding your classes, mental health or make up, most people probably won’t recognise you or take much notice anyway.

Career Resources

Larger universities have more resources due to the number of students they have in their care. This typically includes a great list of career resources that you may not get at a small university.

This can span from one-on-one talks with career services to getting help finding work experience and even help with applications.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Cons Of Large University

Long Walks To Class

Some large universities are located across the city, meaning that you may have long commutes between classes. You need to get quickly acquainted with the local public transport or else you could be arriving at classes very sweaty and late.

More Anonymity

Whilst some people may enjoy the anonymity that comes with a larger university, this can also be a negative aspect. It is much harder to stand out in a larger class and you are less likely to create a strong relationship with your tutors.

Where you may be the top in your class at a small university, you may only just scrape the top 50% of people in a large class. This may mean you have to work harder than you would have to at a different university.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Molly Raby is a freelance journalist who works closely with GRV Media and Freshered. After completing her BA (Hons) in English Language and Creative Writing at Salford University 2022, she began her journey into the world of journalism and copywriting. In addition to writing for Freshered, Molly also wrote for The Gold and Green Crowd, interviewing jockeys, horse trainers and others within racing industry. Molly has a passion for film and TV as well as a keen interest in sports.