Do Small Colleges Offer the Same Academics as Large Colleges in Psychology?

Do small colleges offer the same academics as large colleges in psychology is a question that you might ask when comparing schools of different sizes. Psychology students typically take introductory courses while in college, which gives them a broad understanding of basic psychology terms and methods. Though you won’t take more advanced courses until grad school, you’ll have the chance to take some specialized courses as an undergrad. While smaller colleges won’t offer the same range of courses larger schools do, you may still like the benefits associated with those smaller campuses.

Types of Psychology Classes

Before you ask, do small colleges offer the same academics as large colleges in psychology, take a look at some of the psychology courses available across all schools. The first class you take is an introduction to psychology, but you can then take classes on specific topics like personality, abnormal psychology, learning, cognition and social psychology. Larger colleges often offer more specialized courses that specifically look at issues like gender or age, but smaller colleges may offer independent learning courses that let you study those topics on your own.

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Lecture vs. Participation

As you compare larger colleges to smaller schools, keep in mind that some campuses emphasize listening over participating. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, larger colleges often require that students attend lecture classes. A professor will stand in front of the class and spend much of his or her time talking about a topic. In smaller colleges, professors often encourage students to participate more. The NACAC found that smaller colleges often emphasize participation more, because class sizes are so small and that these courses encourage students to learn from others, hear what others think and better get to know both their peers and their professors.

Professors vs. Assistants

Academics may also refer to the people running your classes. Larger colleges use a number of teaching assistants and pay the tuition of those assistants with the agreement that they will teach certain classes. A TA is usually a graduate student. These assistants usually do not have the same experience as professors do and may not understand the material as well as a professor would. While smaller colleges may still hire teaching assistants, those assistants usually only teach lower level classes. You’ll have experienced and knowledgeable professors teaching most of your classes.

Benefits of Smaller Schools

The answer to the question of, do small colleges offer the same academics as large colleges in psychology, is no. Smaller campuses do not have the professors or resources necessary to offer all the same classes that larger colleges do, but there are still some good benefits to attending a smaller school. The lower ratio of professors to students helps you stand out and get the individualized care and support that you need. You’ll also have the chance to standard psychology courses and gain a good understanding of those materials, which may help you when it comes time to apply to grad school.

Related Resource: 49 Most Affordable Small Colleges for a Master’s Degree in Psychology

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When you take an introduction to psychology course on a large campus, you might have 500 other students in that class, but the same class at a smaller school may have just 20 students enrolled. Though the answer to the question of, do small colleges offer the same academics as large colleges in psychology, is no, many students find smaller campuses offer more benefits than larger ones do.