When you’re deciding where to go to college there are a million different things running through your mind. You’re probably considering the cost, location, programs, activities offered etc. One thing you may want to consider above all is whether a private or state school is right for you. With each option there are different pros and cons for everyone. As I have attended both a state university and a private college, I feel as though these are some of the things you might want to think about when you are trying to choose between the two:
People like to assume right away that a private school is going to be way more expensive than a state school, but that’s not always the case. Typically, the outright cost for a private college is more expensive than a state school, but when it comes to financial aid, scholarships, and grants, they may make up for the difference. Because private colleges are funded by tuition, endowments and donations, there is no limit to how much money they can give you. On the other hand, state schools are largely funded by our taxes, so you may not be awarded as much money due to restrictions and budgets. It really depends on your situation – if you apply to a private college and you are awarded more than half of the cost in scholarships and grants then it may be worth it to go, but if you apply to a state school and receive free tuition due to MCAS scores or any other achievements, it may be worth it to go there instead. Don’t rule out either before you do your research and figure out the real cost of each.
Typically, state schools are a lot larger than private schools, so if you’re interested in classes of 20 people or less, you might want to consider a private college. If you’re looking for a large school with lots of diversity and large lectures, a state school may be a better choice for you. For me personally, I attended a pretty large high school, so I knew that I wanted something on a smaller scale so that I could really take advantage of professors and small class sizes. I also wanted to find a tight knit group of friends because I never really had that in high school.
If you decide to go to the large state school in the state you have lived in your whole life, than you have to expect to see a lot of the kids you’ve seen in your hometown and high school. If you want a completely fresh start with new people and new experiences, you may want to consider a private or out of state school. Something else to consider is the diversity at each type of school. Typically, private schools attract people who have gone to private high schools who are either on the wealthy side or upper middle class. At a state school, you will probably experience a much diverse student body and people from all social classes. Again, it really depends on exactly where you are going.
For some reason, people tend to assume that the quality of the education they receive at a private college is better than the education at a state school. As someone who has attended both a state and private college, I can honestly say that I found the quality to be the same. At a state school it may seem like less quality because of the larger class sizes, but other than that I didn’t find that it was much different. At both the state and private schools that I have attended I have had amazing professors and not so great professors, as well as hard classes and easy classes. I honestly could not tell the difference between the quality education that I have received at each school, and I don’t think that you should assume a state school education isn’t as good as a private school education.
So, as you’re considering where to go to college, take these points into consideration and do your research. Everyone has an opinion, but you don’t want to base your higher education decision on what anyone else assumes. Really weigh your options and consider what is best for you before you decide! Good luck!