What is it Like to Go to a Big College?

Go to a Big College

One of the first things that most people will likely say to you when you are considering going to a big college is that you will no longer be a “big fish in a small pond”. Basically, what this is saying, is that when you are going to college with a large population, you are going to be surrounded by people that are smart, athletic, good looking, etc.

Many people may have been the smartest or prettiest at their high school but become just another person at a big college. It is important to realize this beforehand.

You are never going to be the best when you are going to a large university and that’s okay! Honestly, I thought it was kind of nice to just be an average student at my school. There isn’t as much pressure on you and you can learn more about yourself.

Obviously, there are places, clubs, activities, and classes where you can stand out, you just simply aren’t going to be the best at everything or the top person in everything you do. I think that it helps you grow and understand how life works because there is always going to be someone better than you.

I met two lacrosse players at Ohio State University, and they are freshman. I said you guys must be really good at lacrosse to make a D1 university sports team. They said they were good at lacrosse, hence making the team.

Yet as we talked, they told me the hardest thing was in high school they were the best and the studs on the team. Going to Ohio State University everyone is as good as them or better and it was an adjustment for them.  

Basically, you are now just going to be a “big fish in a big pond”.

What this means is that you will still be smart and good at everything else you were before; you just may be surrounded by more talented people as well. Instead of standing out as the best or the most talented, you will just be surrounded by even more talent.

I think that it helps you to stay determined, focused and hopefully work harder. It is always good to have competition and it makes you try harder. Sometimes you stop trying when you are the best and you have no competition. The best way to better yourself is to always seek out the harder competition.


A definite plus side to going to a bigger school is the opportunities that you will have. There really is power in numbers. Bigger schools often have more clubs, career fairs, and many other things.

Bigger schools will have campus recruiters. This is basically a representative from larger companies looking for students at these universities to give internships. Most of the time an internship will end up into a full-time career.

Having these types of opportunities really puts you ahead when it comes to finding a career. On the social side, bigger schools often have super fun sporting events to go too and lots of Greek life which can make the social side of your college experience even better. One of my favorite things about going to a big college is all the diverse opportunities I have had through clubs, undergraduate research, and internships.

I had an internship this past summer where I worked directly for my university.

Academics are the utmost important thing about college, but you are also living there for four years and need to enjoy your time there. You need to make sure that the extracurricular activities of the school will keep you happy throughout your entire college journey.

It Can Still be Small

The great thing about a big university is that the opportunities give you the chance to make it small. There are so many groups that you can join that will help your big school seem small. As an example,

I am involved in a scholar’s program and in a social sorority. Because of these two involvements, I feel that I found a great group of determined people to surround myself with. Even though there are over 60,000 people at my school, I still see connect with many people I know when I am around campus.

I highly recommend trying to be a part of some sort of learning community, scholars, honors, etc. It is a great way to meet new people right off the bat and have a group of people to feel connected to.

Coming back as a second year, I have noticed that my school no longer seems so big as it seemed my freshman year. I still have all the amazing opportunities, clubs, game days, and internship help, but I also have a small school feel when it comes to friends, professors, and my classes.

The big lectures usually end after your first year because they are only for very common classes. This means that after your first year, you are getting more one on one time with professors and you have smaller classes.


The one downside to a larger college is that a lot of people are trying to do the same thing. This means that you can end up waiting at a lot of places like food halls, restaurants, gyms, etc. The good thing is that there is usually some way around this.

There are normally multiple gyms on large campuses so scout out all the gyms and see which are the least busy and which are closest to you.

Another good thing about technology on the rise is that there are also some easier ways to get food. Some schools may link apps like grub hub to dining halls which means that you can pre-order food to have ready for pickup or have food delivered to you.

You need to see how the food system works at your school so that you can get around the longer waits. There are also apps like Post Mates and Uber Eats which will deliver normal restaurant and fast food to you.

This is super easy and convenient.

The apps will give you more time to spend on your studies and hanging out with your friends.


Obviously, if you are going to a large university, even if it isn’t in a big city, there is going to be traffic. No matter where you are, with that many people, traffic is inevitable. There are also many ways to get around this.

  • First – Most big schools may not even let you bring a car as a first-year, so that deals with some of your problems.
  • Secondly – there are usually different busing systems that can get you where you need to go. Where I go to school, the city busing is included in our tuition, so we basically had access to the buses at any time. I used them frequently to explore the city and try new restaurants.
  • Third – Another great thing about big cities is the use of Lyft and Uber. You can pretty much get access to either of these if you have the app. It is especially nice in emergencies or if the weather is bad. My university even started offering discounted Lyfts during certain hours to promote campus safety. It is so nice that we have this sort of opportunities with rides because before technology evolved, they weren’t available. It also just makes me feel safer on campus because I know that I always have a way out and can get home if needed.

When it really comes down to it, inconveniences like these are worth the excess opportunities of going to a large college. If you want to get everything out of a bigger school, you are going to have to deal with the downfalls. Just like with everything else, there are always going to be good and bad to everything.


Overall there are obviously many ups and downs to any choice of a school. It is important to figure what is most important to you when it comes to attending a university and go from there. If size, opportunity, and location matter to you, then you should consider looking into bigger schools.

It is also okay to admit that you don’t like them as well. If you are used to small towns and you have no interest in going to a school that has as many students as some cities’ populations, then just admit that to yourself and cross bigger schools of your list.

You are going to be living at your school of choice for four years and it is going to be a big part of your life. Make sure that you stay true to yourself an choose the school that you want to go to rather than listening to everyone else or doing what you think everyone else is doing.

Big schools aren’t for everyone and that’s okay. But at the same time learning that you do like big schools is awesome as well because know you have more opportunities to explore and places to visit.

You may also want to read going to college where to start.

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