Why It Pays to Go Big: The Advantages of the Large State Universities
Higher education has been taking it on the chin with the media and politicians, especially the large state universities. I’m well equipped to discuss the good, as well as the bad, about these schools. Each can make for a fairly long post. I’ll stick to the good points here.
Large State Universities Have ‘More of Everything’
The large state universities have the largest facilities, especially for entertainment and recreation. Large state schools also have the largest selection of majors, including liberal arts and pre-professional subjects. If you’re game to learn a less spoken language you can learn, for example, Scandinavian tongues or Hebrew in classes as as small as you’ll find at a liberal arts school.
Large State Universities Present More Students With More Jobs
The large state universities are the most popular destinations for employers looking for interns or entry-level talent because they have the largest selection of candidates. A major employer in the Chicago area, for example, could fill positions for business, computer science, chemistry and engineering majors by visiting three schools: Purdue, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all less than a half-day from the Windy City.
Large State Universities Have Huge Brand Recognition
No one will ever question that the University of (insert state name), Rutgers-New Brunswick or Purdue are well-known schools. Large alumni bases also help.
Large State Universities Have a College Town Atmosphere
Whenever you have a large residentially-focused university in a community, and it’s close enough to downtown, the downtown business community focuses on the needs of the students, faculty and employees of the college. Thriving college towns such as Athens, Georgia or Madison, Wisconsin have retail mixes that are very similar to urban arts districts in larger cities. You’re more likely to find interesting, and inexpensive, local eating and drinking options as well as bookstores and clothing stores.
Large State Universities Offer Academic Freedom–to Students
At a big state school there will be no one to tell you what to do as long as you don’t become drunk or disorderly or commit a crime against persons or property. The professors do not take attendance in the large lecture classes; they don’t care if you don’t show. There is a tremendous amount to learn when you have a tremendous amount of freedom. You learn how to manage your time and to prioritize. But you also learn the consequences of your actions.
Large State Universities Help You to Learn ‘The System’
No matter where you go to school, if your target is Corporate America, you will go to work in a large bureaucratic organization. There’s no better advance training at navigating a large bureaucracy than to deal with a financial aid office or registrar at a large public university.
I’ll report on the bad points in a later post.
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