Small Town, Big Colleges

Moving from a small school to a big college


Brigette Richard, Business Manager

Coming from a small town like Freedom, many students graduate and move on to big things, such as a large college. With around 100 students in each class, moving to a college in a big city can be a huge adjustment and challenge for students. 

Schools nearby such as the University of Pittsburgh, Slippery Rock University or Indiana University of Pennsylvania, many students often go to these different colleges after high school. Some colleges have class sizes that average over 100 students. Schools that have an average of 20 students per class can feel a lot different in a sense of a learning environment with over 100 students per class.

Looking at it from the perspective of a high school senior, seeing class size averages in these bigger colleges can be dreadful. Students from Freedom are acclimated to having a close teacher-student bond since the ratio between students per teacher is quite smaller than in other schools near Freedom, around 16:1.

“One really good advantage of diversity. You get to meet so many new people from different backgrounds than you. It really has helped me learn so much already,” 2022 Alumni Carter Huggins said.

Searching for familiar faces in a large school can be a stressful task to complete when you are in considerable crowds and in a new environment. Being surrounded by new faces and meeting new people can assist you in learning more about different places and cultures. Seeing so many different people on the way to classes and within classes can be a huge change from the same people you see in high school hallways.

When transitioning to a large university, it is good to find “your thing.” Joining clubs, intramural sports and different organizations can vastly help you make new friends and make you feel more comfortable around campus. Having the knowledge that you at least know a few people on campus, can make the transition a lot easier to handle a new environment.

Becoming homesick can also be a downside of being in a big city college, especially if you went far from home. According to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, about 20% of college students feel homesick in the first 12 months of being in college. Moving away from home can be a tough transition, going from seeing your family and friends that you have known most of your life can be rough. Going to college can be similar to restarting your first day of kindergarten. A new environment you don’t know, and new people you have never met. Becoming homesick is a common occurrence among college students.

“The surroundings are so different. Being able to walk down the street to get food or meet up with friends or even go to class is so crazy,” Huggins said.

Having different fast food places and restaurants on your way to classes is vastly different than the high school cafeteria. College students usually have a variety of different places to eat and get a quick snack. 

The high school to college experience can be frightening, but new friends are always made on the way to help make the transition a little easier.