Education is one of those arenas where people tend to have their own opinions on everything under the sun. If you’re trying to send your child off to college, there are a lot of things that you need to think about. One of the first areas that you will need to look at when it comes to a good college for your children isn’t the size of the campus population per se — you will need to look at the student-teacher ratio.
However, this is an area where the education community at large definitely has multiple opinions. It’s important to make sure that you understand why the student-teacher ratio is so important and what it means for your family as a whole.
First and foremost, the student-teacher ratio is simply the number of students versus a set number of teachers in a classroom. For example, when your child was in high school or middle school, it might have been 20 or thirty students to one teacher.
This is an ideal ratio because the assumption is made that every student will be able to communicate directly with the teacher. Yet when you go to college you might not be able to maintain that same low ratio. You see, in freshman year it’s all about being in a lecture hall, where you might be dealing with a hundred students to one professor. Now, some students might actually thrive in this environment for a few reasons. First and foremost, it will be about survival from the very beginning, as well as distinguishing yourself out of a crowd. These are important skills that will come into play later on in life, where these skills can make the difference between getting the best experience in the workplace and having to fight just to get the bare minimums that everyone else is getting — including the right to keep your job in the first place!
Knowing where you will be standing in the great debate over class ratios will make all of the difference when it’s really time to get the most out of your college classes. If you find that you’re really not getting the best of everything from a large class, you might want to see about getting a smaller class.
Of course, what do you do when you have to take those big lecture-hall style classes? Well, there are a few ways to cope:
Try to sit up front, where you will be able to interact with the professor more directly. In addition, don’t overlook the fact that these types of classes usually have a teaching assistant there to help you with just about anything that you actually need. It’s better to make sure that you will always be able to really get the education you want on your terms, even if you have to tweak things.
Ask the professor if you can record the class so that you can review it later. Never just bring a tape recorder — this is something that can have you facing severe sanction at many schools.
See if the professor has already prepared class notes and study guides. These will help you make the most of your lecture classes.
Participate! The more you raise your hand and answer questions, the more the professor will notice that you really are someone that really wants to learn, not just sit back and skate by.
These are just a few tips to put into play that will help you make the most of your classes, no matter how big they are!