The Goldilocks Class Size Conundrum

At a large university, there are certain expectations on class size and the general academic experience. Students generally take larger, lecture-style classes their freshman and sophomore year followed by smaller, more specialized classes as upperclassmen. While I’ve found this to be mostly true, there are plenty of instances where the average freshman can find their way into a small (under 30) classroom and an average senior into a large lecture hall for class. In any given semester, it has been my experience that having a mix is beneficial and keeps me engaged more than a monogamous class-size schedule.

I’ve found this mix to be advantageous for a couple of reasons. While I enjoy the consistency that a lecture class brings, it can often be harder to sustain focus over the course of a semester. This occurs because there is often a lack of direct interaction between student and professor. While lecture classes are often accompanied by a discussion section, it can be difficult to get meaningful time with a professor outside of office hours.

Lincoln Hall, where I’ve taken a few lecture-style classes.

At the same time, a smaller class offers different assignments and responsibilities than a lecture-style class. I’ve found more group projects, papers, and quizzes in smaller classes. This leads to more accountability within each class period and more direct interaction with the professor. I enjoy this style because it’s similar to the types of classes that I took in high school, and frankly, I am more comfortable with it.

A mix of both lecture and smaller classes can truly give you the best of both worlds. By doing this, you can expect a combination of projects, quizzes, and larger exams that allow for variety in your studying and preparations for classes. This style of schedule tends to keep me excited about the school work I do on a daily basis and leads to better grades. Please leave any questions you have in the comment section. Talk soon.

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