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Why You Should Choose a Small, Private University to Earn Your Degree

From large public institutions to smaller private universities, graduate and adult programs are offered on nearly every campus. Whether you are considering returning to school to complete your undergraduate degree or to earn your graduate degree, SNU offers many program choices.

What are the advantages of selecting a private university as an adult or graduate student? Academically sound programs, individualized attention in the classroom, and flexibility for busy, working adults.

Public or Private?

The public versus private university debate has been going on for years, but higher education is never a one-size-fits-all solution. There are a few basic differences between private and public universities; with funding and size being the most obvious.

Public universities receive a certain amount of government funding along with tuition and private donations, while private universities rely predominantly on tuition and donations to fund programs.

In terms of size, public universities typically have larger student populations and campuses than private universities which usually translates into larger class sizes.

These differences aren’t necessarily an argument for or against either option. The major takeaway is that you should consider which factors are best for your unique needs as a student. Many adult and graduate students have various factors to consider, such as working full-time and personal responsibilities, which may be better suited by a smaller, private university.

Tuition Debate Breakdown

Chrissi Lyles is an academic advisor at Southern Nazarene University. She says many students consider price as a major factor in the public versus private university debate.

“Sometimes, prospective students think they can get a better education for a lower cost by going to a public university. That is not always the case,” Lyles says.

Private universities typically have a higher tuition than their public counterparts; however, it’s important to see what is covered by tuition. Some private universities, like SNU, include the cost of required books, laptops, and other fees in the total tuition cost. Public universities may not always include extra costs in tuition. Before deciding on a program, you should always ask the university what is included in the cost of tuition.

Lyles went on to say, “One way SNU addresses cost concerns is by giving adult students the opportunity to transfer life experiences to college credit.  This can alleviate the need for taking more classes to complete graduation requirements, thus eliminating any extra costs. Factoring in those savings, the cost of attending a private university like SNU can be less than that of attending a public university.”

When in doubt, ask to speak to a financial aid advisor to discuss tuition costs, loan options, and other questions you have about funding.

Small University, Big Opportunities

A common misconception among prospective students is there are not as many professional opportunities available to them at smaller universities like the ones they might find at bigger schools. At SNU, this is not the case. “Private universities pride themselves on the fact that their programs are academically sound and challenging,” said Lyles. “That is exactly what we have for our students here at SNU. Students who graduate from our programs attain excellent skills to use in their jobs and daily lives.”

Consider the travel and networking opportunities available in the Sport Management Administration (MASMA) graduate program. This travel experience gives the program’s students an opportunity to meet with industry professionals who work with professional sports teams like the Blue Jays, Raptors, and Pistons.

Instructors in SNU’s Professional and Graduate Studies programs are often working professionals, meaning they actively work in the fields and communities in which they teach. These instructors offer real-world experiences that students can apply in practice.

A lamp post displays an SNU banner. Accelerated Course Formats

Professional and Graduate Studies courses meet one night a week for four hours. Class time is utilized strategically so that students have time to effectively go over class material. 

“Our programs are designed in an accelerated format so students can complete their degree in a shorter amount of time, while still increasing excellent knowledge and skills,” Lyles says.

This accelerated format is especially important for students who are working full-time and/or have personal commitments, such as raising a family. Adult students can also save time by transferring previously earned credits to meet their graduation requirements.

Class Size Matters

An obvious benefit for adult and graduate students at smaller universities is the benefit of smaller classes. Larger universities, especially in lower-division classes, can have hundreds of students enrolled in one class. 

“A new student can feel intimidated in a large class,” Lyles says. “A smaller class size can help a student feel more comfortable in class, which can be instrumental to their success as a student.”

In a smaller class, there are also fewer distractions. Whenever a student runs into a block or struggles with course material, the instructor is more accessible than in a larger class.

“The academics are just as rigorous as a public university and the capability to have one-on-one time with the professors is very helpful,” Lyles says.

Students in small classes can also form tight-knit groups that offer academic and personal support. Both are vital elements to success as a graduate or adult student.

Why SNU?

SNU offers professional and graduate studies programs that fit the needs of working adults. Whether it’s work or raising a family that demands your time, Southern Nazarene offers a university experience that prioritizes the needs of adult students. SNU is ready to help you succeed. Request more information about our adult and graduate programs or call us at (405) 491-6332.