What Now?


Presbyterian College Media Team

The college decision process can be very difficult for students. They can become overwhelmed by the statistics and sale pitches that are thrown in their faces. However, the opposite is also true, students who have a clear path may sail through the process without a problem (Photo Courtesy of Presbyterian College).

Junior and senior year can be summed up into one question, “Where do you want to go to college?” College is quite possibly the biggest life decision a student will make. This decision is made even harder due to all the different options and paths available to students.

“Deciding on a college is a very big decision. It determines the rest of your life,” said junior Donovan Springle.

There are many factors that go into deciding which school to go to, such as location, majors, cost of admission, financial aid availability, opportunities, Greek life and sports. When narrowing down which schools a student is looking at, their first thought is, “Do I want to go to a big university or a small college?” Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Many people feel that big universities are the obvious option compared to small schools because there are many more opportunities and people.

“I think I would go to a bigger university because they have more opportunities. For example, they may have more classes that a smaller school may not offer. I think I might miss out on some of the specialty classes at a small school,” said junior Megan Wetherald.

The word “opportunities” is very vague. How can one decide which school has more “opportunities” when one can’t even define the word? The amount of opportunities is determined by the personal goal of a student. For example, the needs of a student majoring in finance are very different than the needs of a student majoring in nursing.

“Here at Clemson University, we have around 20,000 students. Our opportunities are much different than a school with significantly less students. However, the goal is the same. Will you leave our school prepared to go into the field you want?” said Financial Aid Counselor at Clemson University, Amy Burke, at the Brashier College Panel.

However, small schools would argue that since there are fewer students, there are fewer people fighting for the limited availability of things such as research programs or internships. Small colleges also offer a smaller classroom size. At a school like Presbyterian College, the average class size is 14 to 17 students, whereas at Clemson University the average class size is around 31 students.

“I feel like you would get a more one on one interaction with the professor at a small school. Having an approachable personal relationship makes it easier to succeed,” said junior John Murphy.

At a school with 20,000 students, when someone is walking around campus, it is unlikely that they will recognize any of the passing faces. This could be an advantage because you will constantly be meeting new people.

Located in Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina has a large student body of around 35,000 students (Photo Courtesy of Rachel Allen).

“There are many advantages. There is a lot to do, different people, people from different states, a bigger variety of courses you can take, and there is always something going on. For example, during the hurricane that just passed, even though classes were cancelled, USC still had activities going on for the students to keep busy and open tutoring if you needed help,” said freshman at University of South Carolina, Rachel Allen.

Whereas at a small school with 2,000 people, you will meet plenty of new people, but you will recognize most of the students you pass. This results in a campus wide tight knit community, as compared to many small communities within a large student body, such as clubs or Greek life.

“In my opinion, the biggest advantage to going to a small university is that I see and meet new people every day, but I also have close community readily available and a familiar face around every corner,” said sophomore at Anderson University, Gracyn Taylor.

After spending four years at Brashier, students tend to take one of two approaches. The first is the stance of, “I’m tired of being at a small school; I want to experience something that is on a larger scale.”

“I want to branch out. I’m so used to small schools that I want to go to something bigger. I think it would have more opportunities for me in my career choice,” said junior Mary Grace Sanders.

The second most common stance of students is, “I am so accustomed to a small school that it is the most obvious choice.”

“I would go to a small school because there is more student/teacher interaction because of the smaller ratio and there is a tighter knit community, similar to the community at Brashier,” said sophomore Abby McDonald.

If a student puts forth the effort to get out and create relationships, regardless of the size of the school, they will have the “college experience” that they are searching for.

Located in Clinton, SC, Presbyterian College has a student body of just over 1,000 students. (Photo Courtesy of Presbyterian College)

“Don’t lock yourself in your room. Go out. Be social, even students that are more introverted. Get out of your comfort zone and get to know people. You have to realize everyone is in the same boat. If you put yourself out there and work to try to get to know people, I think that is something that helps students thrive, at big and small schools,” said Presbyterian College Admissions counselor, Wasim Gendi.

In the end, one choice is not decidedly better than the other. Whether a student chooses to go to a school with 100,000 students or 1,000 students, as long as the school is the right fit for the job and career choice of the student, he or she will succeed.