Why Does Georgia Have so Many Colleges?

By: Mr. Wade

If you don't want to go to a small community college, most students apply to the University of Georgia. However, that is a hard school to get into, and many students are not accepted. Compared to the largest colleges in other states, UGA is fairly small. For example, Ohio State has about one hundred thousand students. UGA has only about thirty thousand, which is still a lot. Universities in Georgia have broken up into a network of smaller schools to prevent exactly what has happened at Ohio State - one school becoming a bloated, gigantic missing bowl for every high school in the state. You can thank the Board of Regents for this.

What is the Board of Regents?

This organization "Overseeing the Public Colleges and Universities that Comprise the University System of Georgia" - basically they organize and manage higher education institutions in the State of Georgia. It was created in 1931 as part of government restructuring, and it brought management of all higher education institutions under one roof. This governing body is unique to the state of Georgia.

Recently, they decided that the University of Georgia cannot accommodate all the students who want to go there; the ability of the campus to expand is limited by the surrounding town of Athens, which is one reason. So the "Board of Regents" started allowing students throughout the state to get an equivalent degree by attending one of the other campuses in the University System of Georgia - that's the collective name for all public universities in GA. This act involved renaming most of the small, community colleges to something neutral like Coastal College of Georgia (CCGA) for example.

Many Students End Up at "Loser" Schools

If you are just out of high school, the prospect of staying four years at some no-name school in south or west Georgia is less than appealing. Many of these schools are academically unchallenging, and the surrounding economies are not on paths to prosperity. The best jobs many young people aspire to are at the railroad or teaching at public schools. Some join the military just to get out of town.

It can be depressing for many students, and most want to do their two years, get good grades, and transfer to UGA.

Where Did You Go to College?

When you become an adult, you often get asked, "Where did you go to college?" Everyone likes to respond with something prestigious like, "Oh I went to Harvard" or, "I attended Yale." Few people can claim alumni status at those schools, but everyone has heard of the big SEC schools. Saying you graduated from UGA or Alabama is respectable. If you grow up to become someone important, it's almost a given that you went to an "important" school, or so it seems.

This is perhaps one of the most important – the way people look at you when you tell them certain things. It’s a subconscious thing, and I often catch myself doing it. It often goes like this – if someone tells me they graduated from UGA, I immediately think they are smarter, more driven, and more legitimate. I automatically have more respect for them than if they tell me they went to a “lesser” school. I don’t want to be the type of person who does this, but I think it is human nature. And if I do it, I know other people do it also. I know people think more of me after I tell them I went to UGA, and I often say it proudly.

What advice can I give? Go to a well known, respected school.

Work Hard - Succeed

As we all know, hard work, persistence, and strength of character can overcome even the humblest of beginnings. The college you attended isn’t everything, and many of the most well known people we read about in history book didn’t even graduate from high school.