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How to weigh the advantages of big and small universities and choose which size school is right for you

As an international student, deciding which U.S. university to attend can be tricky. While there are many factors to consider, one of the most important questions is which size school is best for you: Big university or small college?
School size is a vital consideration for anyone, especially international students. Big schools and small schools offer different kinds of resources and support for international students.

Here are some things to think about when deciding which size U.S. university is right for you.

Big schools have more international students

Adjusting to a new country can be tough for some people, so having other international students to befriend can make the process a little easier. One advantage of attending a larger university is that there are more students, which means more potential friends.

After all, it is always nice to have someone who understands your situation. Many schools have clubs and organizations for international students, such as the department of International Support Services at The University of Kansas. These groups are likely to have more members at larger schools.

Small schools let you stand out more

For some people, attending a school with tens of thousands of students can be quite overwhelming. You might be intimidated by a large crowd, or you might find that big groups make it harder to develop personal connections. Attending a small school will allow you to interact in smaller groups and connect more closely with your peers.

For international students hoping to establish strong bonds and friendships early on, this can be especially important.

Big schools offer more resources for international students

Big schools generally have more money than small schools, which allows them to provide more resources that can be vital to the success of international students.

For example, big schools are more likely to have international student centers to help with immigration and visa issues. They are also more likely to have advising and counseling services, career centers and writing centers.

While many small schools also offer these services, larger schools are likely to have more full-time employees available to help international students.

Small schools have less competition for resources

Because there are fewer students at small schools, students will have an easier time accessing the resources and support that they need.

At larger schools, classes may fill up before students can register for them. Advising centers may have long lines. Professors may not have time to meet with you because they are busy meeting with all the other students.

These issues are less common at small schools. When there are fewer students in classes, students can develop closer relationships with their professors.

Think about what matters most to you

Big schools generally have more student services and a larger student body. Smaller schools provide tighter communities and the chance to stand out more.
Since both big and small schools have their own advantages, it is important for international students to consider which size school is right for them.

If you are having trouble deciding school is your best fit, consider talking one-on-one with a U.S. News Global Education certified education counselor.