Small private colleges and universities are better than larger public colleges. The reasons for this are threefold. Private colleges tend to have higher standards for acceptance into their programs. Along with this, these schools have a higher standard of conduct than most public colleges. Generally, class sizes are considerably smaller at private colleges. Private colleges tend to focus on fewer areas. This allows specialization that produces a higher caliber of graduate in those fields.
Because they are not mandated to serve the interests of the general public, private colleges can require students seeking acceptance to be stronger academically, in extra-curricular activities, and social activities. This amounts to skimming the cream off of the top of each year’s high school graduates.
Once in the school, because acceptance is more competitive, these schools do not have to work hard to keep the lesser students or those with behavioral problems. Public schools have to give a little room here because of public funding to keep the school afloat. The private college knows that there are students waiting in line for the slots held by current students. In this way, students can be held to higher moral standards.
Most private schools are careful to only allow a certain number of students per year into their institution. This gives them the ability to control class size. Instructors can prepare better because they are not swamped with the huge numbers of students that sometime overcrowd public college classrooms. A small class in a public college will have 50 or so students. A large class in a private college will rarely exceed that same number while smaller classes may well have less than 25 or even as low as 10.
Public schools are expected to be wide ranging in their offerings for majors. Because of this, they usually can not zero in on one area to raise it to a premium level. They do all things acceptably but not always top flight. Private schools like to fill a few niches very well. This allows them to focus their funds on majors that will attract the best students in those areas.
On almost every level, small private colleges outpace public colleges. Public colleges will give you a good education for a cheaper price. In education, like so many other things in life, you get what you pay for.