50-50 Highlights: Largest Universities and Their Advantages

Students at a large universityI remember as a sophomore sitting in an American Literature class when the professor starting talking about the advantages of attending a large university such as the University of Texas (hook ’em) versus going to a smaller institution such as Rice. I don’t know what brought on the lecture but he was adamant that we were receiving just as good of an education as those going to Rice. Furthermore, unlike the students at Rice, we would never run out of classes to take.

It was nice to have a pep talk that we were going to get just as good of an education as those at Rice. (Before the Owls start emailing me, I didn’t say we all did.) And he was right about the choices.

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Academic Diversity

We could take our engineering physics lab just about any day of the week. I don’t remember ever having to wait more than a semester to have an opportunity to take a class. Well,  I did wait three years to take biology but I had to take a specific section because of my degree. And yes, I was avoiding taking a class with a professor with a reputation for giving out very low grades.

In my little group of friends, we had people majoring in Aerospace Engineering, Pharmacy, Linguistics, Architectural Engineering, Plan II, Sociology, Business, and Art. We had access to professions and accredited programs that weren’t available at smaller schools.

Social Diversity

I worked in one of the cafeterias with students from Indonesia, Korea, Kenya, and Denmark. Although there was plenty of room for improvement, we had students from just about every socio/economic level and racial/ethnic background. There were enough to form a meaningful support system. I’m not saying they always did or had the support of the administration but it was possible.

We had fraternities, both social and professional, and more clubs than you could ever explore, I choose Judo over three or four other martial arts clubs.

Of course there was big time TV sports, club sports, and intramurals. For racquetball leagues we had choices between singles, doubles, co-ed, women’s, or men’s.

Smaller schools have a weekly campus newspaper, our campus newspaper was a daily and easily had 20 people in the newsroom every night.

Employment Opportunities

Major employers came to our campus to recruit so that all we had to do was sign up for interviews. We had alumni in virtually every city in the nation willing to talk to students about job opportunities.

Now all of the above are just from my sliver of experience with a large university from a long time ago. Since then, many schools have improved their undergraduate education with first year programs, learning communities, and undergraduate research opportunities.

These are all reasons why students are attracted to large universities which can provide an excellent education. Of course there are negatives but the point of this post is to list the largest 50-50 schools and why you might want to attend them. I don’t see much point in listing them and then telling you why you don’t want to go. (I have done a post on the Benefits of Small Colleges.)

Anyway, on the 50-50 list there are 84 universities with 10,000 or more full-time undergraduates. All but two are public institutions. A total of 74 are classified as Research Universities, all but four with either high or very high research activity. Ten are Master’s Colleges and Universities. Ohio had the most with six followed by North Carolina and Pennsylvania with five each. As usual, the four-year graduation rate is used for private universities and the five-year for public universities.

50-50 Universities with 10,000 or More Full-Time Undergraduates


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