Why Opt for a Private College?

When college is up next on your to-do list, it’s crunch time. The choice between a state-run university and a private college like St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico is critical. Several elements come into play that can influence your college experience and overall success. Here’s a rundown of factors to consider.

What’s Your Learning Style?

Can you effectively absorb knowledge in a large auditorium, surrounded by over a hundred peers? Is it fine if the main professor only gives lectures while grad assistants handle the nitty-gritty of teaching? Or do you thrive in a setting where faculty-student connections are more personal?

Finding the Right Ratio

The student-to-faculty ratio is a noteworthy metric in your decision-making. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public universities generally have a 14 to 1 ratio, while private colleges average a 10 to 1 ratio, marking a 28% enhancement in the chances for students and faculty to connect. At St. John’s, the ratio is an even smaller 7 to 1.

Public schools often have more extensive class rosters due to higher student enrollments, while private colleges typically feature more compact classes. This more intimate setting can facilitate richer classroom debates and easier access to one-on-one consultations with professors.

St. John's students in a math classroom

How Crucial is Your Major?

Public universities usually offer a broader array of majors than their private, liberal arts counterparts. However, stats show nearly half of all students switch majors at least once, and 61% of American graduates have second thoughts about their chosen field. Given the average American changes jobs 12 times in their career, a liberal arts education can prepare students for a versatile work landscape.

Beyond the Classroom at a Private College

Learning extends outside academic settings. At a boutique private college, support services are personalized. Whether it’s mental health services, academic advising, intramural coaches, or student activity coordinators, staff are more likely to know you by name and understand your individual needs.

St. John's students practicing yoga outside
Students participating in Soul Yoga on the lawn at St. John’s College.

The Perks of a Smaller Campus

Private colleges offer robust campus lives but often on a more intimate scale. Such settings, like the one at St. John’s, offer chances to form meaningful relationships with a diverse student body, leading to long-lasting friendships.

Alumni ties can also be more potent in private colleges, often providing a useful network that can aid in professional advancement.

Financing Your Education

While tuition fees at private colleges are generally steeper, they often have more extensive financial aid options. During the 2020-21 academic year, over half of the incoming first-year students at private colleges received tuition cuts, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. At St. John’s, more than 90 percent of students get college-funded financial aid. If you live here in Las Cruces, you might think a private college like St. John’s is out of reach, but they offer $13,000 grants for all accepted New Mexicans. What a great perk!

The Value of Prestige

While state universities might be more well-known, private institutions often carry a premium reputation. For example, St. John’s College was founded in 1696 in Maryland, making it the third oldest college in the United States. A reputable school can have a significant impact on your post-graduate career trajectory.

Before you make your final decision and apply to a school, it’s advisable to visit the campuses and gauge whether they align with your personal values and aspirations. That’s your key to future success.

Story Sponsored by St. John’s College

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Posted by LasCruces.com

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