Guest Post: Small Class Sizes Lead to Big Success

December 15, 2017

The following post was written by interior design student Emily Hunt.

Design has been a part of my life since I was very young. Endless hours of finger-painting turned into afternoons spent rearranging my dollhouse furniture, which led to reorganizing my own bedroom over and over again. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career that involved working with people and being creative, I focused on finding a college that had a program for interior design. I never had the opportunity at my high school to take any classes in the industry, but when I started my first semester at the U, I quickly found that it was the right fit for me.

Coming from a small, private K-12 school, with only 41 other students in my graduating class, my biggest worry about college was becoming lost in the crowd. When it came time for me to choose where to attend school, the deciding factor was when I was told that the College of Design is the University’s smallest college. My first freshman studio consisted of only 20 students and it was the perfect size to encourage design thinking and success. Our professor was able to give attention to each individual student and they made accommodations on an individual basis that made us feel both heard and important.

In the middle of our projects, there is always a midterm review that gives everyone a chance to present their progress on the current project. The small class size is advantageous because it gives everyone an adequate amount of time to receive feedback and critiques, from classmates, the professor, and guest professionals. Group projects are also easier to accomplish because we all know each other. This setting prepares us for working at a firm or in an office environment, where we will know our colleagues and be required to collaborate with a team.

The end of my freshman year was full of late nights and hard work to have everything prepared for my portfolio review. I remember our professors working alongside us to do everything they could to make sure we were ready. When it came time to present my portfolio, I felt confident in each project I had designed.

Having a small class size is also beneficial because it gives students the ability to collaborate with not only the professor but with their fellow classmates. Throughout my experience, the students in my major have grown extremely close because we are all on a common path of life and we spend the majority of our days together. There are about 30 of us who will be graduating next spring, and we have been by each other’s sides throughout the whole journey. I have learned a great deal from the professors, but I have learned just as much from my peers.

As I approach graduation in the spring, it is hard for me to imagine my educational experience any other way. I have loved having a personal relationship with professors who not only know my name but push me to be the best that I can be. The small class sizes have also allowed me to develop friendships with my classmates. Ultimately, my success, apart from hard work, is due to the smaller and more personal class sizes.