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Small school vs better school

  1. Dec 4, 2008 #1
    Hey guys,
    I am a senior and have pretty much narrowed my choices of colleges down to two different universities. One is a university that has about 8,000 students and has an average class size of under 20, there are no classes over 40 and nothing is taught in an auditorium like some other general education classes. On top of that, this smaller school has an engineering program that is very unique in that there is hands on experience as a class for each semester called clinics. It is a fairly good school, not ivy league or top 10, but many graduates get into respectable graduate programs and perhaps best of all, if i were to be interested in getting a career after just a 4 year engineering degree, they have many deals set up with local engineering firms that its nearly guaranteed a job at graduation.
    Now on the other hand, another school i was looking at is bigger and has a much more alive campus life. D1 football team to watch, bigger school, which also means, bigger classes. Almost all of my first and second year classes wuld be them insanely huge 100+ person classes where your not a person but just a number. This really doesn't appeal to me, but the thing is, this university is definetly a more prestigious one that the former. I just dont know how important the small class really is when you get to the collegiate level. If you are pretty much on your own like many people say, does it matter if your class has 100 or 20 people? Just wondering if anyone can shed some light on this.

    Also I dont want to seem like i obviously want the first choice, because until just recently i was planning on going to the larger school, but then thought about class size and had to reevaluate the options.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2008 #2
    I am not sure on you major or plan, but I will explain my experience at a larger public university.

    Many of my freshmen classes were 120 people. Calc 2,3 and Chem 1&2 were both in these large auditoriums with little to no interaction with the professor.

    As I got more into my major courses class size shrank. All of my physics classes were around 30 people. My more advance math classes were also around 30 students. Here I did have a chance to ask more questions and get independent help.

    Larger universities do group you together to start and you are just a number. However, as you are able to define your area of interest and start advance courses your class size will decrease.
  4. Dec 5, 2008 #3
    Hey lax1113, I'm currently a freshman at UIUC and I'd like to share some views though i'm not sure whether they help or not..
    Yes, we have a lot of class have more than 100 students, like Calculus, introductory physics and almost every general education class. However, if you do decide to go to a large school, you will probably find you have a lot of other choices...
    Like our school, we have discovery class specially for freshmen, which translates the class size is no more than 19.
    Another option is honors class, I have taken Honors Mechanics this semester and there's only 24 students, plus, our prof is superb.
    I'll show you my classes next semester and the registered student number..
    Honors Multivariable Calculus, 8 people
    Honors Fundamental Mathematics, 11 students
    Abstract Linear Algebra, 28
    Intermediate Mechanics, 56
    Honors EM, 24
    Discovery Greek Mythology, 19

    Actually, one of my best friend in high school go to a top 10 LAC with a faculty-student ratio of 1-10, but find out nearly all her class have 30 or 40 students.. even larger than mine..
  5. Dec 5, 2008 #4
    I would go for the first one; the extra hands-on experience and the small classes would be much better in my opinion.
  6. Dec 5, 2008 #5


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    you make the small classes sound good but another bonus of a better school is a better student body. the interaction with better students can make up for the closer interaction with professors at a weaker school.
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