College Visits: Find Out If Class Size Matters
How large are the classes? Class size matters.
“What’s the average class size?” is one of the most common questions a parent or student will ask when visiting a college campus.
If you attend a small school, then it’s a good guess that the classes will be small. Likewise, a larger school typically means larger classes, but don’t be surprised if your guide’s answer to your question goes something like this: “The larger classes tend to be freshman or sophomore-year general science or survey classes, but the class size gets smaller as you narrow the focus of your major.”
Now that you know the standard answer to the question about class size, make arrangements to visit both a lower- and upper-level class while on your campus tour, preferably in one of the majors you’re considering.
It’s best to contact the school at least two weeks in advance to schedule classroom visits. Don’t expect to show up on campus and be able to walk into any class.
Be sure to visit both large and small schools so you can get an idea of which is best for you.
If you find that you prefer small classes, but a larger school offers the program you really want to study, then just keep in mind that if you take a seat in the front row of a class taught in an auditorium, all of your focus will be on the professor, not how many people are sitting behind you.
While class size can definitely make a difference, it does not need to be an absolute disqualifier for a university that you want to attend above all others. An occasional large class can be managed if everything else about the school is a good fit for you.
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