So you’re ready to start applying to colleges, and you have no idea whether a state or private school is the best fit for you. Some will tell you state school for the variety, while others will swear by private for the more personal educational experience. Whatever your choice may be, there are always pros and cons that need to be considered for both. I personally went for the state school for various reasons, but I still made sure to apply to local private schools as well in case I changed my mind last minute. While each university or private college will always have slight differences, here are some general things to know about the two.
The first thing to consider is tuition. The costs of a state school will always generally be much cheaper than that of a private school, which is a huge plus. If the state school is equivalent academically to the private school, it’s always better to avoid being in complete debt post-graduation. Unfortunately, several students find themselves in this situation and later regret attending the private school simply for the monetary aspect.
State schools also have a much bigger population of students, while private schools do not. Some state schools can have up to 50,000 students, while private colleges may hold less than 5,000 students total. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on your personality. If you’re looking for a variety of students and larger classes, then opt for the state school. If you feel more comfortable in a personal setting where several of your classes will only hold 30 students or less, then private school is the better option. Oftentimes at private schools, you will have classes with the same people. The percentage of students that dorm will probably be higher at a state school also since the dorms are specifically cut out for people who are living away from home for most of the year. Private schools will generally have a higher percentage of commuters that choose not to live on campus. With that being said, the campuses will be more spread out and bigger at the universities as opposed to the compact layout that private schools offer. State universities are also usually located in college towns where the nightlife is more popular and bars surround the college.
The sports at state and private schools will also differ. The D1 sports teams come from the state universities for the most part. This doesn’t necessarily mean that private schools do not have exciting sporting events to attend. It simply means that if you want to attend a school with a big sports name, then a state school will have more to offer.
In the end, there are several factors that need to be considered when deciding between the two. I personally knew that I wanted to attend a large university with a variety of students, so an out-of-state university was the perfect option for me. Naturally, I’m biased towards state schools since I feel that they have more to offer, whether that’s simply in regards to classes, extracurriculars, etc. Some of my major classes are small and more personal, where I am able to meet people with similar interests as me, while the general elective classes hold about 300 students at a time. I always appreciate having a variety of students to meet and communicate wit, while I have friends that could not imagine being in a class of 300 students. It’s all a matter of preference.