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Small Class, Big Deal

6 Perks of Being in a Small Class

By Katherine Cullinan ’20

With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 12:1 and an average class size of 17, students at Carthage will not get lost in the college crowd. Here are six reasons why being in a small class is such a big deal.

Mathematics professor Haley Yaple works with students.

1. You will bond with your professors.

At Carthage, professors know your name and genuinely care about your success. You can expect a concerned email in your inbox if you have to miss class. Forming these bonds opens the door for future projects and research opportunities with your professors.

Carthage Professor Richard Heitman“Professor Heitman showed up to the first day of class already familiar with our names,” Jaclyn Wilks ’20 recalls about her first class with philosophy professor Richard Heitman. “He wrote down things about us and our interests. By the second day of class, he knew everyone’s name. I could tell that he cared, and it felt pretty incredible.”

“By the second day of class, he knew everyone’s name. I could tell that he cared, and it felt pretty incredible.”

• • •

A Carthage student raises her hand to speak during a Introduction to Psychology course.

2. You will engage in class discussions.

Class discussions will become an integral part of your classes and curriculum — an advantage that larger classes can’t offer. These dynamic discussions lead to interesting and intimate learning experiences that help every student succeed.

You’ll start speaking up right away in classes like Western Heritage, a two-seminar series that all Carthage freshmen take. Nervous about speaking up in class? Don’t be. Your professors and classmates want to hear what you have to say.

“Especially in a class like Western Heritage, discussion is really important,” says Kitara Harsh ’19. “I feel like what I’m saying matters.”

“I feel like what I’m saying matters.”

• • •

Students discuss the material in a J-Term course on Financial Crime.

3. You WILL go to class.

“In a lecture hall of 400 students, people don’t notice an empty seat.
At Carthage, everyone notices. It’s hard not to when your class
has 17 students who know each other well.”

Let’s face it: There will come a day when you just want to skip class. Maybe you’re exhausted. Maybe you’ve got a huge project due later in the week. But skipping costs you more in the long run, and at Carthage, class size is a big motivator to get you in your seat.

Why? Well, if you don’t show up, people will notice. You will find that you are an important contributor who will be missed. All students benefit from everyone being in class. Many professors include attendance in their grading. Above all? You will go to class because you want to go to class.

“In a lecture hall of 400 students, people don’t notice an empty seat,” says Taylor Bolyard ’18. “At Carthage, everyone notices. It’s hard not to when your class has 17 students who know each other well.”

• • • 

Get to know your other classmates in small classes like Modern Physics.

4. You will connect with your classmates.

Small classes allow for strong relationships to form among classmates in and out of the classroom, which makes learning more comfortable, the learning process more productive, collaboration more meaningful, and college life more enjoyable.

“I’ve made a lot of friends from my classes, and that makes it easier to learn and be engaged in those classes,” says AJ Green ’19.

• • •

Mathematics professor Sara Jensen helps students through a problem.

5. You will get the help you need, without waiting for office hours.

When your class is small, you can ask questions the moment they arise — and have them answered immediately, increasing your productivity and improving your overall experience in a course. Professors check in while teaching to make sure everyone understands the content.

“My professors can see when I’m confused and definitely want me to ask my questions, so I feel comfortable doing so,” says Cheyanne Stage ’19. “I get more out of the classes when I don’t sit confused for the whole time.”

“I get more out of classes when I don’t sit confused for the whole time.”

• • •

Physics professor Jean Quashnock works with students during class.

6. You will want to do well, and you can.

A small class brings big opportunity to succeed. You won’t be lost in the crowd. You will feel more motivated to work hard. Professors will support your pursuits. And you will be exposed to learning styles that could not exist in large classes. With the closer attention and heightened focus, learning will be fun and fruitful.

“Of course, I want to do well to make a good impression on my professors, but being in these small classes is making me want to do well for myself, too,” says Caleb Hays ’20.

“Being in these small classes is making me want to do well for myself, too.”Students laugh during a lecture in a Systemic Physiology course.

 

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