The Millennium Phoenix

The Millennium Phoenix

The Millennium Phoenix

Top 5 Benefits of Large and Small Schools

Many people can agree that NYC teens lead a different life than most kids, from commuting across burrows to the absence of typical High School experiences like football games and homecoming. One major difference between kids going to school in NYC and kids in other places is the high school admissions process.


Similar to the college process many seniors throughout the country go through in high school, the high school process in NYC has 8th graders applying to 12 out of the hundreds of high schools throughout the 5 boroughs. 


Between these schools there are many different characteristics that set each apart, including size. Size can be a definitive reason why a person chooses to go to a school or not, during high school and college years. 


In this article I will be going over some general benefits and disadvantages of different sized schools in general, both college and high school. This is applicable for students to consider when going through the college process, and also the high school process. 


Large Schools:


  1. Larger alumni network: Schools alumni networks show how successful students are after college, and create opportunities for students during and after their college years. Colleges like Penn State, which host 25 thousand undergrad students a year, have an incredibly large alumni network that is able to connect students with a vast range of interests to opportunities. While contrasting to a smaller school with less students who may not be able to get such opportunities because their post grad plans won’t connect them to alumni and create such opportunities.   According to Andrew Margie, co-founder and CEO of Alumnifire,  “Alumni networks … are powerful and willing communities that can create jobs and internships and increase the marketplace value of their institutions’ degrees. ”
  2. More Resources: Larger schools have access to more resources because generally they have increased funding. This creates more opportunities like more curriculum offerings, including study abroad opportunities. Additionally with bigger schools there is more research and job opportunities both inside and outside of school. Having more extracurricular opportunities can help students with specific interests/career paths.
  3. Large, diverse, populations of students: Having only been to relatively small schools as a student, one major part of big schools that appeals to me is the ability to meet a wide range of personalities. Not being restricted to a small amount of people to socialize with can be a dealbreaker for many people. There is the upside as well as most of these schools are very diverse, so people aren’t only exposed to people with experiences that mirror their own. Diverse schools also allow people to find people with shared culture within their communities. Finding a social circle that students feel comfortable and happy in can majorly influence their quality of life throughout college. There is the downside, however, that meeting people in bigger schools requires more self-advocacy when it comes to socializing as people aren’t pushed together through classes in the same way that they are in smaller schools.
  4. Better Athletics: Larger schools have a wider range of athletes and can be more picky when it comes to selecting students on school teams. This results in larger schools normally having more competitive sports atmospheres when it comes to intramural sports and more options in general. This means that while it might be harder to be on a sports team for your school, athletes are more competitive and stronger.
  5. More School Spirit: Larger schools are generally more well known because of their size, ie. Penn State, the UCs and UMich. Because of this, they normally are very spirited. Parts of this include slogans such as Penn State’s “We are.” This sometimes means that the party culture and greek life at larger schools are more integrated into social life.


Small Schools


  1. Closer Knit community: One of the best parts of going to a small school is how a community is formed because there aren’t so many people. The small population pushes people together, which for some people is comforting. Putting yourself out there, especially in a new place, is scary. In small schools, there’s an opportunity for everyone to know your name.
  2. More individual attention/Personalized learning: Many people choose small schools because the schools can give them a lot more individual attention than larger schools can. Teachers give individual attention to students and personalize their learning. For some students, this is vital in their education and plays a major role in choosing which school they go to. Although students who are independent feel as though they are able to advocate for themselves in a big school environment as well.
  3. More accessibility with teachers: Going hand and hand with that, being able to access a teacher is usually easier in small schools as they have less classes to teach and therefore more time to give opportunities outside of class to reach them. This means that there are more opportunities for students to really understand the class content with teachers so they don’t fall behind.
  4. More opportunity to form connections with staff: When teachers have hundreds of students that they teach on a daily basis, it’s easy for you to become one of the many. With smaller schools, teachers are able to really get to know you as a student, which can be really beneficial. That personal connection can lead to recommendation letters, research and internship opportunities, and just general advice from a knowledgeable adult.
  5. More collaborative opportunities: Over mid-winter break, I’ve had the opportunity to go on many college tours. In smaller schools, tour guides have been quick to mention the large amount of opportunities for research as an undergrad. They contribute this to the size of the school. Small schools mostly have smaller class sizes, and discussion based learning is very common, both in high school and college.
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About the Contributor
Maya Piel, Online Managing Editor/Administrator