The number of students at a school has a big effect on the campus environment, but this is only one factor in your decision.
A school with tens of thousands of students may have a greater variety of extracurricular activities available to accommodate a broader range of interests. A school with a smaller student body is less socially distracting. Small schools may have social circles that are more close knit, or a particular club or residence at a larger school may provide this sort of connection.
In terms of your design studies, the faculty-to-student ratio is an important factor in school size. Considering the amount of information conveyed at the top design schools, time spent with faculty is essential. Faculty/student ratios are often better at smaller schools, though in a university the ratio tends to improve as your studies become more specialized.
These variables will all shift from school to school, but having a general idea of the school size that appeals to you will help you narrow your search a bit, at which point you can inquire further from the schools that make it onto your "short list."
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