College Size: Small, Medium or Large? - COLLEGEdata - Explore Colleges
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the college from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the scholarship from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your College List.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed SAT or ACT scores from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed application details from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed activities and awards from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed your weighted GPA from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to complete your Admissions Profile.

College Size: Small, Medium or Large?

The size of a campus can definitely affect your college experience. A huge university can feel overwhelming—or exciting. A small college can feel friendly—or isolated.

Explore what feels comfortable. You might feel great cheering the team on with thousands of fans at a big university, or feel right at home chatting with a few friends over coffee on a small campus.

Colleges Considered Small, Medium, or Large

  • Colleges considered "small" have fewer than 5,000 students. These are typically private colleges like Hobart, Colgate, Grinnell, and Reed. Yet, it is entirely possible to find small public colleges, such as SUNY Geneseo and Delaware State University.
  • Many colleges fall into the "medium" category, between 5,000 to 15,000 students. Yale, Brown, Howard, Duke, University of Arkansas, University of Montana, and Binghamton University are all medium-sized.
  • "Large" usually means more than 15,000 students. University of Southern California, New York University, and University of Pennsylvania qualify as large on the private side; UCLA, Michigan State, and University of Texas at Austin on the public side. A label of "huge" would be more accurate for those public universities that have more than 30,000 students.

The Social Side of College Size

Deciding between a large college and a small college often comes down to the social environment you prefer. Knowing whether you feel more comfortable as "a small fish in a big pond" or a "big fish in a small pond" can help you make a decision.

  • Smaller schools can easily set the stage for camaraderie and team spirit. You can get to know just about everybody in a small school, and see familiar faces whether you are in the library, the cafeteria, the quad, or in class.
  • Larger colleges may seem impersonal on the surface, but most offer many opportunities to become part of a smaller community of students with common interests. You may need a bit of self-control to say "no" to all the socializing that tempts you away from your studies.

Small Colleges Don't Have a Monopoly on Small Classes

Small colleges are more likely to offer classes with fewer students, enabling professors to give students more individual attention. At larger colleges, classes may be more lecture-oriented. But many such classes are supported by lively discussion sessions. Also, university honors programs can provide a small-class environment.

Large Campuses Don't Equal High Demand

Size has little to do with demand. A public university may be large because it serves a densely populated area or maintains extensive graduate and research programs. In fact, the size of the undergraduate population may be much smaller than your initial impression.

"Medium" Doesn't Mean Just Right

Many students find that medium-sized colleges have it all. Small enough to easily find friends and participate in social activities, and big enough to offer the academic options they seek. But they do vary widely in other ways. They may not be as intimate as you would like, or as diverse as you would like. So be sure to visit several before making up your mind.

What If Size Is Not a Big Deal to You? What If It Is?

Other college qualities may be more important to you than student body size. If that's the case, you might put both small and large colleges on your application list. But if the number of students on campus significantly affects your comfort level, put it among your top college requirements. And then be sure to validate your impressions. You might become more comfortable with larger or smaller campus sizes as you visit more colleges.

What's Next?

  • To find out the undergraduate student body size at any college, look up its College Profile and see the Students page. To see the physical campus size, look at the Campus Life page.
  • Many students become more at home with larger or smaller colleges as they visit campuses, so be sure to put college visits on your calendar.
  • To find out how other students compared small and large colleges and determined their most important college factors, read the student profiles in College Buzz.
For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

cd$ My Data Locker

You must be logged in to view your Data Locker Dashboard

Log in to see all of your saved colleges, scholarships, articles, profiles and searches in one place. Access your Dashboard from any page.

COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
×
Congratulations!
+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.