Keeping it Reel

3 Benefits of Going to a Small College

One of the questions that seems to come up during the college search is “Do I want to go to a big school or a small one?” It is not a question that is often asked by friends or family members, but when 2 of your top 4 picks are colleges of 500 students and 2 are colleges of 20,000 students, it will inevitably come up. So, you might as well figure out the answer now, right?

The benefits of going to a large college are pretty well known. They generally have more programs and classes available, they have good sports teams, and there is a lot to do around their campuses. But what about the benefits of going to a small college? What can a college of 1,000 offer that a college of 30,000 can’t? The answers might surprise you…

1. Project Versus Lecture

At a larger college, introductory and beginner’s level courses are often filled with a lot of students. If you have a class of two hundred the odds are that you won’t be breaking up into groups to do some fun activity, you will most likely be in store for a lot of lecturing. Now, this is great if you want to go to class, sleep for an hour or two and head back to your room, but if you are looking to become one of the greats, you need to take advantage of every opportunity you’re given to hone your skills, even in entry level classes. At a smaller college you will most likely have a smaller class size and thus gain the opportunity to perform in some regard. This could allow you to become more familiar with the procedures and material that will be required of you later in college or in a career.

2. Mentor Versus Teacher

Another benefit of going to a small college that has to do with class size is the personal attention you’ll receive from professors. Feedback on assignments, in-class help, and general discussion about course material can be limited depending on how many students a professor has to manage. A good professor will try to find the time to work with every student who asks, but even the best professors can be bogged down if the demand is too high. At a smaller college, the student to teacher ratio will likely be lower, allowing a teacher to spend more time getting to know their students as individuals and to act asĀ mentors as well as teachers. With fewer students in a classroom, a teacher is able to learn a students strengths, weaknesses, passions, fears, hopes, and dreams, and truly guide them through the learning process. This can help students receive instruction that is more personal to them.

3. Big Fish Small Pond Versus Small Fish Big Pond

If you aren’t familiar with the old idiom of “a big fish in a small pond” or “a small fish in a big pond,” it refers to either being a part of a group and what your place in that group is. Would you rather be the star player on a terrible team or the worst player on a great team? Or more appropriately: Would you rather go to a college where you have a chance to shine or one where you are just another student? At a small college, you will most likely have the chance to showcase your talents. You might be featured on the college’s website or social media channels. You might be recognized for your abilities by your fellow students or faculty members (potentially leading to jobs or projects). You might be recommended for scholarships, grants, or positions. Depending on the type of individual you are, having the chance to truly stand out could have a big effect on your education and future.

Think a small college is right for you? Download our Application Checklist below to see what you have to do to become a student at Columbia College Hollywood!

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.