pros and cons

State vs Private School

July 29, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

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.

FSU's large campus holds 40,000 students.

FSU’s large campus holds 40,000 students.

The Pros & Cons of Private and State Colleges

November 22, 2013 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

Public vs. Private College Experience

State vs. Private College Experience


One positive aspect of attending a private school which I really appreciate is the small class size. Most of my classes have under twenty students; as a result, I get to know more people, and I have more access to my professor. My professors tend to be very available and interested in getting to know their students personally, which is difficult if not nearly impossible with classes of 80+ students found at many public universities. In general, private schools tend to offer more financial aid to their students. The downside is that private school are almost always significantly more expensive than state schools. Also, private schools tend to have more of what has been called “homogeneous populations.” There tends to be less diversity on private school campuses compared to state schools, most likely due to the fact that state schools have much larger student populations and therefore a greater variety of students with different ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds.


In general, state schools are way cheaper than private schools. For some, tuition can be as little as under $3000 a year. But although this is true with the majority of colleges, it is not always the case. Especially if you are an in-state student. State schools also tend to offer a wider variety of majors and are more research-based. Because they are so big and less expensive, you will most likely find greater diversity in the student body. And usually, it is easer to get accepted into state schools than private schools, which tend to be more exclusive. However, some state universities, such as UCLA, only accept 25% of applicants. But it is generally the case that a student has a higher chance of being accepted to a state college.  With a large student body, it can be hard to get plugged in, especially for state colleges that don’t offer housing and are only commuter schools. Classes are much larger than in the private school setting. Hundreds of students are often in one giant lecture hall together, and as a result, it can be hard to get to know people as well as get to know your professors or being able to meet with them. 

Clearly, there are positive and negative aspects of both types of institutions. Once you decide what you are looking for in your college experience, it will be easier to make a decision on which type of college is right for you.

Sources & Further Reading:

Public or Private – Which One Will You Choose?

August 16, 2013 in Academics, Admissions, Colleges

When you first start applying to college, there’s a few things you have to ask yourself right away. How much are you willing or able to spend on an education? What kind of learning environment do you prefer? And most importantly, where do you want to go to school?

Your answers will probably force you to make this decision: state school… or private/out-of-state? As a UCSB student, I have to say that I love my state school! But as an only child with parents who moved to the US from Europe, I have to say that I honestly had no idea what the difference was between a public university in my home state and a private college elsewhere. Every university has its upsides and downsides, and all colleges are different, but here’s a breakdown on the overall pros and cons of state schools.

Which will you choose?!

Which will you choose?!

The Good

Public universities are usually cheaper
One of the benefits of a state school is that annual tuition can be up to $12,000 less than at a school in a different state! As a resident of your state, you receive a discount on your education since you or your family live and work there. If finances are a major factor in your college choice, consider public state universities first before moving onto private or out-of-state schools.

They’re close to home
I’m not gonna lie – I was one of those kids longing to leave my home state and explore the world. But for those of you who want to visit your hometown every other weekend or who live in a big state like California, public universities are great in that you can have the college experience AND the ability to go home whenever necessary.

You’ll make a ton of friends
One of the best parts of a big public university is just that – they’re big! Even the smaller or more recent state schools are generally home to a large amount of students, which means more students to meet and more clubs, organizations, and sports teams to become a part of. If you’re looking to branch out or to explore a big city and get thrown in with a bunch of new people you’ve never seen before, a public school may be just the thing for you.

The bad

You’re stuck
If you can’t wait to leave your home state and visit the rest of the country, or if you’re from a small state and you’ve visited literally every inch of it, a public school may not be what you’re looking for. If that’s the case, you probably won’t want to attend a state school close to home.

Large class sizes
Since state schools have less funds and accept more students, class sizes are much larger than in high school (at least until you get to your major-specific courses). Get ready for big lectures and a distant professor! Some people are able to deal with that and jump right into the “responsible college student” role, but other people benefit from more individualized attention and more personal classes. Make sure you think about your personal preferences – college is all about learning, so your learning environment is a major part of your overall experience.

Less opportunity for scholarships
While public schools may offer lower tuition, they can’t offer as many scholarships as private schools can. If you’re hoping for a sports scholarship or for some aid aside from student loans, consider applying to some private schools in order to see if they’ll make attending worth it with a big scholarship!

Should you have a Greek life?

March 3, 2013 in Academics, Alive Campus

Before stepping into college, most high school students put “join fraternity or sorority” into their to-do lists, when they imagine their college life. Greek life seems so exciting in their eyes, full of parties, excitement, new friends and college experiments. If you don’t join it, you would feel left out. You would be miserably eating cup noodles alone in the dorm at Friday night when all your friends go out for fun. You would end up single through out four years of college, because girls may want to date cool frats. However, still some people prefer to stay independent from Greek life. Following are pros and cons of being part of Greek life.



It is a boost to your social life.

You can meet a lot of friends through Greek life, people that you have a lot common with, people that may help you in your later career. You won’t need to worry about being alone and have trouble to find company anytime. Belonging to a group of enthusiastic, creative and outgoing people will help you expand your college life to the most.


Only meet “sisters” and “brothers.”

The strong sense of belonging and loyalty may also isolate you from other social groups. You may focus too much on the social life inside fraternity or sorority and screen out other chances to meet people somewhere else. Compared to the “outside world”, fraternity and sorority are still limited closed communities. Only certain people are allowed to join in. When you enjoy the superior feeling “being chosen”, at the same time, you also put barriers over your social life.



  A way to keep grades up

Most fraternities and sororities have certain requirements for grades. In order to be part of it, you need to work hard while party hard. It is not only about academic achievement, but they also present personal accomplishment, responsibility and honors. It doesn’t necessarily mean there are no losers in the community, but people try harder not to be.



Time consuming

Time management may be one of the biggest problems that need to be faced: how to balance Greek life and academic life. Before you realize, you may be caught up in the middle of endless party organizing, group meetings and classes. You may devote too much time to Greek life and have no free time for yourself. However, college is the most significant time for self-exploration and life-planning.


Greek life seems a double-edged sword so you should not just follow the trend and end up doing something you may not enjoy later. Not being part of Greek life doesn’t mean a failure at college, but more freedom and flexibility.