The Pros & Cons of Attending a Big University

  • 1
girl smiling

Choosing the right university for you requires thinking about many factors. As well as whether the university offers your preferred major, what extracurriculars are available, and the location, you should consider the size of the university. There are some significant advantages of attending a big university — but also some downsides. Assessing the pros and cons will help you decide if a big university is right for you.

Pro: You’ll Meet More People

A larger student body means more people for you to meet and a higher chance of finding friends with similar interests — perhaps even lifelong friends. Plus, more people tends to mean greater diversity, which will give you more opportunities to learn about different cultures and be exposed to a wider range of opinions.

Con: The Distance Between Classes Can Be Greater

Bigger universities have large campuses, meaning classes are a great distance from each other. You’ll need to think carefully when creating a class schedule to avoid leaving yourself with too little time to make it from one class to the next. Although this can also be a problem at small universities, it’s definitely more of a risk at big universities.

Pro: It Could Pave the Way to More Career Opportunities

Access to more people could also mean more career opportunities, such as through your professors and other faculty members. In addition, big universities have the budget and contacts to invite guest speakers, hold large job fairs, and connect with top companies for internships.

Con: Competition for Leadership Positions May Be Fierce

Becoming president or gaining another leadership role in a campus organization gives you valuable experience. At a small university, it is easier to gain these positions because there’s less competition. Having said that, if you are able to win a top role in a campus organization at a big university, it will look that much more impressive on your resume.

Pro: You’re Likely to Have More Choice

Big universities tend to offer more variety in terms of academics and extracurriculars. For instance, if you’re interested in a specific major, you may need to go to a large school. In addition, you’ll have more choices for classes in general. As for extracurriculars, large universities not only have more options, they tend to have more funding. This means you’ll have access to better equipment, supplies, and resources. It’s important to bear these differences in mind when comparing two universities of different sizes.

Con: Class Sizes Will Be Larger

Some students thrive when class sizes are small because they’re able to participate more and it’s easier to develop relationships with professors. Since class sizes are likely to be large at a big university, you’ll need to put extra effort into making sure you speak up during discussions. You should also take advantage of office hours to ensure your professors know who you are.

If you decide the pros of attending a big university outweigh the cons, a top choice to consider is University of Alberta. Bear in mind that the large number of students attending means high competition for housing. The good news is you can find apartments near University of Alberta at 1Ten on Whyte. Located just 10 minutes from campus, all our suites are fully furnished and rent is all inclusive. Book a tour to see the facilities before you move in.

Compare listings