Home > Resources > College Prep > Choosing the Right School > The Pros & Cons Of Private Colleges

The Pros & Cons Of Private Colleges

Private colleges are each intensely unique. From differences in curriculum and academic standards to mission statements, each private university creates an atmosphere that is truly its own. The students, not politics, are the priority of the private college. Instructors set the bar high at the beginning — and keep students jumping to meet it for the next four years. If education and only education is your prerogative during your college career, attend a private university if possible. Most strive to cultivate the ideal atmosphere for the academic success of their students. As a result, their students become profoundly capable contributors to our society.

Pros

Academic Excellence

At the private college learning is the emphasis more than the curriculum itself. The curriculum is rigorous and the course-work is unending, but learning is the central focus at such schools. If you plan on working during school, it is very difficult to balance a full-time schedule at a private university with a work schedule. The time commitment required to succeed in a given class is high, and this will ultimately interfere with your ability to work.

Close-knit Community

The student community is an integral part of most private colleges. This can be difficult for more independent students who prefer a less hands on approach. The students communicate closely with professors both in and out of class and the students themselves attempt to involve everyone in campus activities. Involvement in the student community is one of the keys to enjoying your college experience at a private college.

Involved Students

The classroom dynamic is much different at a private university than at a public school. Most students are entirely committed to their academic success. They participate actively in classroom discussions, complete coursework, and are fully engaged in the classroom culture.

Top-notch Professors

Like the professors at state universities, the instructors at private universities have track records that attest to their personal academic achievements. While most are reputable, professors at private colleges tend to be more loyal to the college they work for and more interested in the achievements of their students.

Merit Scholarships

The listed tuition is the highest at private colleges; however, what students actually pay for tuition is usually lower. When a student is interested in a private university and the school is interested in the student, both parties begin negotiating tuition by way of grants, merit scholarships, and other financial incentives. Thus, students with a good G.P.A. and knock-out test scores should consider applying to any private institutions that they are interested in.

Class Size

Even at larger private colleges the class size is contained. There are still lecture halls, but typically fewer teaching assistants and more professors. At small private colleges classes can be as small as 10 or 12 students.

Cons

Homogeneous Population

If you are looking for a more diverse student body that recruits kids from all walks of life, you aren’t likely to find it at a private college. If you are interested in a particular university, check it out first. It’s definitely a good idea to get a feel for what type of students they attract and their current student body is a good indicator.

Demanding Schedule

The heavy workload makes it difficult to balance extracurricular activities, a job, and a social life at a private college. It’s a good idea to identify your priorities before setting out to attend a school that cost $30 thousand a year. Your parents will appreciate your consideration and you will avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Cost of Tuition

Tuition is high, even for a good education. If money is no object, go private. If finances are a primary concern, consider all of your alternatives before committing yourself to a decade of debt.

Transferring Credits

Private universities each have different crediting methods. If the university that you choose doesn’t work for you, it may be difficult to transfer and retain all the credits you have earned.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

University of California Seeks New Standardized Test

May 27, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Across the country, both private and public institutions of higher education have announced that they will be test-optional for students applying to enter school in the fall of 2021. This policy, instituted as a response to coronavirus cancellations of standardized testing dates, comes with the caveat that it would only exist during next year’s round of admissions. But the University of California system has gone in an entirely different direction by announcing that will no longer require the SAT or ACT for all California state applicants. [...]

Wrap up May with these Memorial Day Scholarships

May 22, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Time to break out the white pants, beach chairs and barbeque sauce! It’s Memorial Day weekend and we’re excited for the (unofficial) start of summer. But there’s still almost a week left of May, and plenty of scholarships to consider before we jump into June. So, enjoy your three-day weekend – and set aside some time to apply to these scholarships. [...]

What Will College Look Like Come Fall Semester 2020?

May 21, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

As much uncertainty looms around the future of college openings and instruction, one thing is certain: The college landscape won't quickly and easily return to what it was pre-COVID-19...at least for a while. Here's a glimpse as to what college may look like in the near future and what students are hoping to experience in their upcoming semesters. [...]

Last Reviewed: June 2020