“Small” is not a word many students hear when colleges talk about their class sizes anymore, and when they do use that word – they’re most likely using it incorrectly.
Major budget cuts have forced many colleges to cut costs. The easiest and most effective way for colleges to do that was by slimming down on their staff (both professors and administrators).
The national, public universities were hit harder than private universities, and research universities were hit the hardest.
See more from Varsity Tutors here on budget cuts leading to larger class sizes.
But, not all schools have increased their class sizes, and some have actually maintained relatively small classes, according to an article in the US News & World Report.
The US News & World Report surveyed 256 national universities in 2010 and found that 46.2 percent of those schools surveyed have class sizes under 20 students, on average.
It also found that liberal arts colleges (schools that award at least half their degrees in the liberal arts field) have much smaller classes, with 63.3 of classes having fewer than 20 students.
The US News & World Report surveyed 1,355 total institutions of all categories – including private colleges, tech/vocational schools and regional/local colleges. It found that 55.2 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students.
The New School in New York topped the US News & World Report’s list of national universities with the smallest classes. The New School has an undergrad enrollment of 6,882 with 91.4 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. Naturally, most of the New School’s degrees awarded are in liberal arts fields.
Four of the 10 national universities on this list are ranked in the top 10 best national colleges list, also determined by the US News & World Report, not surprisingly. The four are Harvard, Yale, Columbia and the University of Chicago.
Colleges try to keep their student-to-faculty ratios as low as possible. Smaller class sizes give students more one-on-one time with professors and more tailored learning. In small classes, professors can adjust their curriculum to fit the interests of each class – something that’s completely lost in huge, lecture halls.