Why Small Class Sizes Matter
The size of classes may not be at the top of your list when checking out colleges, but it should be. Small class sizes make an enormous difference in your education. They make room for individual attention and instruction, strong relationships and networking with faculty members and fellow students, and more opportunities for hands-on learning.
One of the many benefits of small college class sizes is you are more likely to have a more individualized experience. Smaller class sizes help your instructors manage each student, instead of just teaching to the masses. In one survey, 90% of teachers agreed smaller class sizes increased student learning.
"My professor was able to just sit at the table with us, and it wasn't like we were being lectured at, she was just walking us down the road of what we needed to know. She was really able to make sure that we had a grasp and understood everything," said Hailey Dard, a senior in the Public Relations program at Ferris State University.
"It's ideal in those situations where we are engaged in experiential learning that we have those smaller sizes so that we can give individual critique. We can give individual feedback. We can give individual expectations to move forward or in a group or a team, we can give that team unique feedback to what they're doing and then move on to another group," says Jeff Ek, Marketing Department Chair and Associate Professor in the Design program at Ferris State University.
Hands-On and Heard
In bigger classes, there are not as many options for hands-on learning. When you're in a smaller class, you are more involved, whether it's individually or in small groups. The experiential learning you can get is another one of the benefits of small class sizes.
"In many cases, we're learning by doing," added Ek. "Yes, there's theory involved and yes, we learn and remember things, but we're actually learning by doing. In order for faculty to move a student through that process, it takes time and individual attention and even smaller group attention, and you can't do that with a class of 40."
Not only are smaller class sizes better for immersive and interactive learning, but can be better for understanding the topics and subjects covered.
"I definitely feel like the smaller class sizes allow for the students to be able to fully understand what the professor is teaching. It's not a scary thing to raise your hand because there are only a few other students in the class and somebody else probably has the same question as you," said Dard.
Connections tend to be stronger in classes of a smaller size. As students in smaller classes, you get to know your classmates better, which can lead to help on projects, connections that translate into your post-college experience, and even lasting friendships.
"We do bond and it leads to us hanging outside of class and being able to help each other with homework," added Dard.
This also opens up the opportunity to relate more with the professor who can connect you in your field. Also, having that personal contact with your professor can make a significant difference in your learning and your grades, according to a study done on higher education.
In a large class, and possibly if you are coming from a small high school, making those connections may not be as easy.
Explore Ferris State University
Ferris State University's low 16:1 student to faculty ratio and small class sizes will help you learn by experience and doing, unlike in a large lecture hall.
We believe that college shouldn’t just be a place where you “find yourself,” but where you get the real-world skills that help you make yourself. We’re here to help you learn by doing, so that you become great at a career you love.
Start your application now or request more information about what we have to offer.