Private vs. public colleges is an age-old debate. State colleges may be different from private colleges in several aspects but the fact is neither one of them is necessarily better or worse than the other. The right choice for you will depend on your unique circumstances and what you are looking for. Understanding the pros and cons of attending a state university can help you decide whether or not this is the right choice for you.
Pro: Affordable Tuition
The lower tuition fees are one of the most compelling benefits of attending state schools. State schools receive almost 90 % of the funding from the state. That allows them to offer high-quality facilities at a much lower cost of tuition.
Pro: Larger Student Body
State schools have a larger student body, mainly because of their lower tuition fees. If you like the idea of being a part of a large student body, you’ll enjoy studying in a state university. All college events are well-attended with the contestants knowing they will get plenty of support from their peers, whether it is in the sports field or the theater.
Pro: More Diverse Academic Opportunities
To meet the demands of this larger student body, state colleges offer a more diverse range of majors for students to choose from.
As a student attending a state university, you will get the opportunity to pursue majors that may not be available in most private schools. This is a distinct advantage for anyone who is looking to enroll in some of not so common courses.
Pro: Bustling College Life
State colleges do not just attract a large number of students. The students that attend these institutions hail from different ethnicities, backgrounds, social, and financial strata. This allows individuals of all kinds to blend in and find their niche in the social landscape. In addition, state schools also offer a wider variety of extracurricular activities, giving students even more opportunities to socialize.
The diverse demographic is also among the major reasons for a vibrant campus culture which retains its flavor over the years and matures into something unique for each school.
Pro: More On-Campus Employment Opportunities
Working while studying can be challenging but if you can manage it, it is a great way to earn extra money that can help reduce your overall debt. If you decide to work while pursuing a degree, getting a job on campus can be a huge relief as that means you don’t have to spend another hour or so just traveling to and from your place of work.
Con: Larger School Size
While the larger school size has its benefits, it also has its downsides. It’s easy for an introvert to feel intimated or just plain lost in such a large crowd. Every class also tends to be larger as the school has to accommodate a larger number of students. Before you enroll in a public state university, you have to think long and hard about how you will feel about being part of such an environment.
Con: Administrative Hassles
With a larger student body to handle, the administrative staff is usually overworked. Several times, the hierarchy or the responsibility of each department or individual is not clearly known or understood. Simple things like rectifying an error in a transcript can have you running from one department to another as getting in touch with the person who has the authority to reverse any decision is usually never as straightforward you would like.
Con: Professor Accessibility
While it is true that you can often find the best teachers in state schools, they are often not as accessible. The larger class sizes mean you can expect less one-on-one face time with your professor.
Con: Class Availability
Even though class sizes are larger, there is a very high demand for several courses which requires students to be diligent while registering for them. It can be difficult to get enrolled in the courses you want to take up for a particular semester. Being unable to register for a critical course can set you back significantly. It can force you to extend college for another semester. Register for your choice of class as early as possible.
Is A State School For You?
This is a big decision so take time to explore every pro and con in detail. Weigh the pros and cons carefully. Make a list of the aspects that are most important to you and which do not matter as much. If you can, visit the state schools that you are considering attending. See if it measures up to your expectations. Performing each of these steps will give you a clearer picture of whether or not a state school is for you.
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