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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.

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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.

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Last Reviewed: November 2020