Small College Classes: Making the Most of Your College Experience

by Emily Elizabeth Smith, Great Lakes student

Do you prefer small college classes? 

Attending a smaller college—such as Great Lakes Christian College—allows for the opportunity to learn in a smaller class size environment.

Some of the many benefits for students learning in smaller classrooms include:

  • more opportunities to ask questionsNew call-to-action

  • ability to contribute to discussions

  • getting to know your professors

  • getting to know your classmates

  • immersive college experience

Many incoming freshmen are faced with deciding between colleges based on their average class sizes; it can play a critical role when it comes down to making your higher education institution selection. Sometimes, this issue is even the end-all factor for a student. Class size can also affect the quality of the education you receive. In this article, you will find answers to common questions regarding the experience of small class sizes.

small college classes

How Important is it to have Small College Classes? 

Meaningful reductions in class sizes have been difficult to achieve because of tight school budgets and competing priorities, but we must continue towards this goal. The proven long-term benefits of reducing class sizes—achievement gains and higher graduation rates—should help determine our priorities. The long-term consequences of not reducing class sizes will have a negative impact on our [students’] futures. —NEA President Dennis Van Roekel


Asking questions and response time

One benefit of attending a college with smaller class sizes is the ability to have one-on-one time with your professors. A crucial factor of being able to receive the best education possible is to be able to ask questions that require critical thinking skills. Obtaining an educated response from the professor as they are considered experts in their field of study is crucial.

Learning in a classroom with 300+ students can be overwhelming and intimidating when it comes to asking questions. However, asking questions is often encouraged and considered an important part of the classroom experience with a more condensed class size.

Professors teaching in large lecture halls often can’t afford the time answering every student’s questions because of the limited time slot for the class. In a small classroom, you are able to ask your questions to receive clarification promptly instead of having to book appointments days out to meet with a professor from a large university. Being able to have your questions answered quickly enables you to complete assignments in a timely manner using your best understanding of the topic.

Class discussion atmosphere

In many larger university classrooms, discussion cannot not be integrated into the course material because it is simply too challenging for a single professor to structure and regulate a discussion between hundreds of students.

In a smaller classroom that encourages discussion, students are more engaged and involved in the direction of their learning; a good question can pique their interest, initiate critical thinking, and inspire them to make real-world connections. According to Faculty Focus, “students perceived a positive relationship between their own participation and learning but additionally discussed the value of other students’ comments for their learning. A number of students verbalized that when participation is required, they prepare more, and this preparation actually increases their learning.”

small college classes colloborration

Building relationships with students and professors

Small classroom education is important both for development of skills and for inspiring students to connect with their learning. With more one-on-one time with professors, the students are able to build a relationship and feel that their professors are truly invested in their education.

With being able to get to know your professor and feel comfortable asking questions and for advice, the college education becomes more immersive. Having that relationship motivates students to put forth their best effort in and out of the classroom. Not only are students able to speak directly with professors more often on a personal level, but they also might be able to collaborate with professors on special projects.

At bigger universities, professors can be limited in their involvement with collaborative research projects because they have numerous other students to provide basic higher education needs.

In smaller classrooms, students are provided extra opportunities for learning, mentoring, and networking.

Learning in small classrooms also brings the opportunity to get to better know your peers. This makes it easier to integrate into the social atmosphere of the college which can be a challenge for new students. Connecting with other students can also lead to lasting friendships which are a rich part of the college experience. Initiating conversations before class, during class discussions, working on assignments after class, and forming study groups are all benefits of a smaller class sizes. These advantages allow students to further immerse themselves in the college experience. Connecting with other students can also lead to lasting friendships which are a rich part of college life.

Small Classes at Great Lakes Christian College

Small class sizes add priceless experiences and opportunities to higher education learning. Great Lakes Christian College epitomizes the benefits that a small classroom learning environment can have on a student’s education. The professors at Great Lakes fully invest themselves not only in their students’ education as a whole but on an individual basis as well. The atmosphere of the classroom allows for a transformative college experience that encourages new relationships, respects the opinions of others, and challenges students to pursue interests.

Discover More about Great Lakes

To learn more about our admissions process, programs we offer or to schedule a tour, please contact us:

Greg Stauffer, VP of Enrollment Management (On Campus)

Phone: (517) 321-0242 ext. 230Request Info from GLCC

Email: gstauffer@glcc.edu

Jon Jakubowski, Director of Online and Adult Classes

Phone: 517-321-0242, ext 249

Email: jjakubowski@glcc.edu

Click here for more info on our online programs.

We can't wait to hear from you! 


Emily Elizabeth Smith is a twenty-one-year-old college student attending Great Lakes Christian College where she is double majoring in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and Bible Theology. She previously attended Alma College and Lansing Community College but decided to transfer to Great Lakes to immerse herself in an environment where she can mature in her faith and build personal, lifelong relationships with her professors and peers. She is a strong writer winning various awards throughout her schooling career such as the campus-wide poetry contest at Alma College. Emily’s plans after her time at Great Lakes are to use her invaluable skills to serve as a Kingdom representative of God and invest herself in enabling others to do their best, allowing communicative teamwork to move her into the professional workforce.