The Most Common College Complaints From Student Reviews

By Sam Coren Staff

college complaints college reviewsOne of the cool things about working at StudentAdvisor is getting to read all the college reviews real students submit on their schools. In our reviews we always ask these what’s good, what’s bad, and would you choose to go to the same school if you could do it all over again. After reading hundreds upon hundreds of reviews, I’ve noticed a few trends in what students place in the “bad” section no matter what school they go to.

Curious to find out what’s nagging today’s college student? Read on:

The Food

For students who live on-campus in a dorm without a kitchen, you’re typically at the mercy of campus dining services. This is even more true if you attend school in a very rural location and it’s hard to get to restaurants and grocery stores. Many public colleges are obligated to go with the lowest bidding food service provider and these also tend to be massive corprations that care more about keeping food costs low rather than food quality.

Having to eat prison food for your whole college career can be pretty depressing. Even at more commuter oriented schools, students often find themselves strapped for options when they forget to bring a lunch.

However it’s not all cold sloppy joes and soggy fries for every college student. Check out this Boston University student review glorifying the school’s lobster dinner night and visiting chef series.

Feeling like a number more than a person at large schools.

Many students at bigger research focused schools complain about rarely getting to speak to their professors and having TA’s teach most of their courses. Typically students who go to schools with low student to faculty ratios have more of an opportunity to build a relationship with their professors. Also larger schools tend to have a more bureaucratic infrastructure, which can make it hard to get answers to your questions or even find out where to go to get them.

Lack of diversity at small schools.

On the other end of the spectrum students who go to smaller schools aren’t real fans of lack of diversity in the campus student body. We get a lot of complaints about smaller schools feeling more like “high school” socially because of the strong presence of cliques or small schools recruit specific types of students. Larger schools have a tendency to gather people from all walks of life and most students enjoy meeting people of different ethnic backgrounds, religions, socio-economic groups and geographic locations.


Urban schools having a lack of school spirit.

Reviews from students at colleges in big cities (think NYC, Boston, LA, etc.) complain that most of the student body will spend their free time out exploring the city rather than attend campus events. Lack of attendance at sporting events is the norm and many students treat school more like a job rather than participate in on-campus activities.

college complaints sportsRural schools with a lack of nightlife.

Many students at rural schools tend to feel suffocated by a lack of things to do outside school. Some rural colleges try harder than others with student activities such as concerts and festivals. In this University of Wisconsin – Green Bay review, a student writes that the student union turned into a night club. However not all rural schools put that much effort into keeping their students entertained. Some students also complain of poor “town”/”gown” relationships, such as this student review on Bates College,  which make it harder for students to enjoy themselves off campus.

Financial Aid

Since the majority of students currently attending college receive some form of financial aid from their schools this is a biggie. Many students complain of a long, confusing, and tedious process for applying for financial aid at their schools. Each school has a limited number of funds they can offer each student and some are more generous than others.

Tuition and Fee Hikes

In the same vein as financial aid, across the board the cost of a college education is going up for everyone.

General Education Courses

For students who were promised they could finally take classes they care about when they got to college, many of them have a grudge against general education courses. Gen ed courses fulfill liberal arts requirements and if you’re a student pursuing a BA rather than a BS chances are about almost half the classes you take in college will go toward fulfilling these.

Many schools have it scheduled out that all freshman do gen ed requirements their first year, and students will feel frustrated not being able to dive right into the courses related to their major.


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