Attending a Small University – Julian Allen, SMUS Class of 2012


Applying to University is a stressful, yet exciting time. The process provides you with the opportunity to explore your personality and identify a place that will suit your overall interests. There were many factors that influenced my decision, but a key one was class size and total number of students. I didn’t want to be a number in the eyes of my professors and the University.

Saint Mary’s College of California, a liberal arts school with an overall student body of 5000, of which about 2600 are under-graduates, responded to my application within two weeks of my sending it in. Their personalized acceptance letter let me know why they wanted me as one of their students. Reading their letter made me feel welcome, as they take an active interest in their students.

With my two years thus far at St. Mary’s pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Business and balancing studies by playing on the water polo team, I have never been a number. I’m on a first name basis with my professors. The school faculty is available and welcoming when I have questions or need advice. The campus is large enough to not feel claustrophobic but small enough to enjoy bumping into friends.

Another advantage I’ve benefited from this semester is that I was offered an opportunity to do research with one of my professors. I know in a larger school this chance would probably have been offered to a graduate student.

Sticking with knowing what type of environment I could thrive in helped me zero in on St. Mary’s College of California. I’m not sure if all the opportunities that are presenting themselves to me here would have been possible in a larger University. What I am sure of, is going to a small University was the right decision for me and I’m enjoying all it has to offer.


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