Private Universities vs. Public Universities

As college acceptances are beginning to roll out, and decision day is slowly creeping up on everyone, and high school seniors are asking themselves, “which school is right for me? Do I choose the private school? Do I go to the public school? I’m a female; do I go to the one women’s college I just got accepted to, or do I choose one of the many co-ed schools? Which do I choose?” While I may not be able to make that decision for you, I can give you some information on both the private and the public university lifestyle. Keep in mind that every school is different and there are highs and lows for every school you pick. 

I started college at a private women’s university. What I loved most was that the school was tiny. The students were able to form a sisterhood even if they didn’t rush a sorority. We were able to form bonds with one another. As a small school, classes were also kept to 35 students or less. Because of this, the professors and students were able to form those relationships. The professors could actually put a face to a student’s name because of how small the classes were. What most people don’t like about private universities is the much higher cost of tuition. Unless you have a full ride or a decent income, you may struggle to pay your bill, but it is possible through payment plans with the accounting office. There’s also the preppy, rich kid stereotype for those attending private universities because people believe the students don’t struggle to pay. The university started out right for me, but after two years, it wound up not being the correct school for me, and that is okay. 

For my junior year, I transferred to the University of Louisville which is a much larger public university. What I love about being at a public university is that there’s so much more to do. If you want to attend a large event at a college, you don’t have to travel to another university. You just have to take a little walk to a stadium or wherever it is. Larger schools tend to also have more opportunities to network with the larger alumni network. Many careers thrive off of networking, so having a larger network while you’re still in college can be more beneficial. Your tuition is also a lot lower. As an out-of-state student, I am paying less than half of what I was paying as an in-state student at a private university. One downside is that classes are typically larger, so unless you take the first step, you may not get that professor-student relationship that could give you that letter of recommendation. You may just be another name on a sheet of paper, so reach out to the professor early on and make that connection. I encourage you to make this connection because it truly can help in the long run. 

Like I said, I can’t make your college decision for you, but I can help you figure out what my favorite and least favorite aspects of private and public universities. Everyone has different opinions and there’s a school for everyone. Sit down and weigh your options. Are you a legacy? Are you a first-generation student? Did you receive a full ride? Are you more comfortable on a university campus that nobody in your family attended? If you need to, make a pro and con list of each university. I promise you will discover which is right for you. Don’t just jump in and say you’re going to this school or that school. You want to feel at home, and you will if you truly think about where you want to go.