What are the Benefits of a Small College Class?
The number of students in a classroom may affect your learning, unless you are a very independent and disciplined student that can handle a class no matter its size. You may have heard of the auditorium-sized classes with hundreds of students on hand with a graduate assistant doing the bulk of the teaching. Large, public universities are more apt to offer such classes, something that is simply unheard of with small, private colleges. There are advantages, though, to college classes that are small, something high school students should consider when weighing their college choices.
1. Know your professor. For some students, getting to know their professor is important. These students value their instructors and appreciate opportunities to interact one-on-one with an instructor. With a smaller number of students in a class, professors are able to meet with students and build academic relationships with them via mentoring.
2. Make personal contributions. Class participation is non-existent or nearly impossible to do in lecture-style classes. This can be frustrating for the student that wants clarification on a point made or simply wants to offer a viewpoint of her own. Professors with small classes may encourage much participation, something that can be achieved by only having a limited number of students in each class.
3. Enjoy learning flexibility. The larger the university, the more classes that are available. Right? Oftentimes that is not the case. Small, private colleges and universities prize a diverse class portfolio and often allow and encourage instructors to offer more and varied courses. Where a large university might offer classes in biology, chemistry, physics, physiology and anatomy, a smaller college may drill down and offer courses in biogeography, sustainability, paleontology and geology.
4. Find increased satisfaction. It almost goes without saying that if you like small classes, you will be much happier with your choice of college. For some students, the big academic environment of State U. with its national football program, diverse clubs and frat/sorority opportunities is appealing. You can lose these at some colleges, but the trade off may be fine with you. Be true to yourself and find the college environment that is right for you — break free from the peer pressure.
If you are not certain what type of college is right for you, visit campuses large and small, and sit in on classes. You may find that you like the large-school environment or just as easily decide that a smaller college offering with limited class sizes is just right for you.
See Also — Private Colleges Confirm Higher Grad Rates