Comparing Types of Colleges: The Pros and Cons of Private Colleges

December 13th, 2011 by rebeccac

private-schools-colleges-ts83742629Higher education is becoming the chief aim of manypeople, both those who are about to graduate and those who are returning to school after raising families, working at careers, or who otherwise want to embark on a new career path. In our attempt to help all students – especially non-traditional ones – assess which type of college is best for their situation, we’ve highlighted for-profit schools, technical schools and community colleges. Now it’s time to take a look at private colleges.

Advantages of Private Schools
The biggest advantage of private universities is that, on the whole, the class sizes are a lot smaller. Unlike sprawling public universities, private schools and colleges often have much smaller student populations, so you’re more likely to have class sizes of 20 people or less, and this gives you the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with your instructors. Smaller student bodies also mean fewer crowds and a more intimate, on-campus environment.

On the whole, private schools also tend to have strong alumni connections, which gives students an exclusive advantage when it comes to networking with successful graduates. It also benefits the schools as these alumni often contribute regularly, which funds scholarships and grants for incoming students.

Disadvantages of Private Schools
While there are a lot of benefits to the smaller student populations and class sizes at private colleges, it does lend to some disadvantages as well. Oftentimes, because of their smaller size and because they do not have the advantage of state funding, these schools are limited in their graduate and undergraduate offerings. Their number of faculty is more limited, too, so they don’t have the resources to provide as many course offerings.

Private colleges also generally don’t provide as much exposure to diversity as public universities do. Many times they were founded by a particular religious denomination or some other exclusive group that has specific goals and ideals that they favor when it comes time for admissions decisions. This means that you are more likely to be interacting with similar types of people from similar backgrounds.

Obviously, this article bases a lot on generalities, and each school or college has its own criteria, its own unique environment. There is a lot to consider in choosing a university or college to attend, and what’s right for you might not be right for the person next to you. It is a good idea to research the school thoroughly before making your final decision.

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