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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SAU chapter.

When I began the process of having to choose what school I would go to after high school, one of the first questions that my parents asked me was, “Do you want to go to a big school or a small school?” That’s a pretty important question right?

I grew up going to the “big” high schools in my town, with graduating classes of around 300 students. I didn’t know what it was like to go to a school that had thousands of students. I didn’t know what it would be like having to take a bus just to get from my dorm to some of my classes. When I was in high school, I was under the impression that going to a big university would be the best fit for me. I went with my brother when he toured big schools and I loved the campuses. I loved that with a bigger campus came a lot of opportunity. But when it came down to it, I chose a small school. Why? If I loved the bigger schools that I had looked at, then why did a choose a small school?

1. Athletics. Now you might be thinking, aren’t students usually more involved in the athletics on campus at bigger schools? Like, Saturday college football games? Technically, yes, but that wasn’t the athletics that I cared about. I have been a competitive swimmer for over 11 years and when I was in high school I knew that with my ability level, I would never be able to swim at a big D1 school. And swimming is something that I really wanted to continue in college. This was probably one of the biggest factors that caused me to choose going to a small school.

2. Big schools can be overwhelming. Didn’t I say that I liked the big campuses and schools because of the amount of possibilities that came along with them? Well, yes. When I was early in my high school career that’s what I thought. I believed in my ability to face any situation head on and not stress over it too much. But as I continued on with high school, I started struggling with anxiety. That sense of wonder that I felt about the possibilities that came along with a big campus started to scare me and turned into something that would just overwhelm me. I realized that even with going to a smaller school, there are still plenty of opportunities to try new things and have new experiences. Just on a little bit of a smaller scale.

3. Small campus means less walking. Being a competitive swimmer, I don’t really do well with ‘land sports’ or things like having to physically run to class or walk for extended periods of time. I know people who went to big schools and have to take buses from their dorms to their classes and that’s just too much for me. I am always chronically early to things but having to coordinate classes and my schedule around bus times just feels like too much. I love my small campus where I can walk from one corner of campus to the other corner in less than 15 minutes. I can make it across campus in about 10 minutes depending on how fast I walk.

4. Smaller classes are truly a blessing. There is nothing more that I love about this school than having small class sizes. In my 2 years at this school, the biggest class I have had was probably about 30 people. In my third year, I have a class with only 4 people in it. Including me. I can’t even imagine what the classes would be like at a larger university. I love being able to walk up to the chemistry floor of the science building and being greeted by all of the chemistry professors and getting to have meaningful conversations. When your professors know your name and know who you are, they truly have your best interest at heart and want to see you succeed. They will do everything in their power to help you out however they can. You also get to know your classmates really well. There is one person I’ve had in a few classes before and we had never really talked, but after being in a class of four people, we talk all the time and has become one of my favorite people to talk to about classes. Having small classes lets you get to know the people who are learning and struggling right beside you. And I couldn’t do that in a 300 person lecture hall.

I’m sure that someone from a bigger school can rave about things at their school that are comparable to the things that I have listed. At the end of the day, I like the advice that my mom gave me when I was choosing schools. She said “I don’t care where you go, just as long as at the end of the day, it feels like home. You are going to be there for four years so make sure it’s somewhere where you can enjoy it.” We might have less academic programs and less events on campus, but I wouldn’t change my small university for the world.

Madeline is a VP and Creative Director at HC @ SAU. She oversees social media posting on all platforms. Beyond HC, Madeline is involved in Chemistry Club and the Women's Swimming and Dive Team. She also works in the Chemistry Department as a Lab Prep worker. Madeline is majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. In her free time, Madeline enjoys crocheting, reading, streaming on Twitch, learning languages, and writing and playing songs. Fun fact: she would be 3/4 of an inch taller if she didn't have scoliosis. "Find inspiration in the ordinary."