When I first graduated from high school, I felt that it was important that I went to a larger school. I could get a fresh start, meet lots of new people, and possibly get some quality teachers. I decided to go to Mott Community College after figuring some prices out and it was just the best opportunity to get all of those prerequisite classes out of the way. What I didn’t know was that Mott’s class sizes were pretty large for a community college. I had about 150 kids in one of my lecture halls; imagine trying to ask the same question that 75 other kids asked the teacher in front of you, they are pretty frustrated by the time they get to you. It was difficult to communicate to faculty and get any real one on one help.
After a year of going to Mott, I found out that Cleary was starting athletics and they were a relatively small university. Some of the things that I really loved about going to Cleary were:
Small Classes: I enjoyed the small classes that went along when I first went to Cleary, the student:teacher ratio was only 8:1, which was incredible. Now I believe, its 11:1 which is still really good. This allowed me to reach out for help almost instantaneously, not waiting in line for an hour after class, or only getting help when it was on the teacher’s time.
Personable faculty: The faculty at Cleary was exceptional. Always willing to help and get involved in the students education if asked or needed. Having a good relationship with my academic advisor and dean allowed me to go to either with questions or concerns without having to worry about scheduling an appointment (sometimes I did) or having to worry about them not really knowing who I am, as a student or individual. Some of the staff has even kept in contact with students, such as the personal finance teacher. Even though some students haven’t been in his class for a few years, he has reached out to gain knowledge of our personal finance goals, successes, and struggles.
Always growing: Cleary is always growing in the classroom and in athletics. Each year they have found some new way to make the Cleary experience something memorable for the students. They always have career seminars, fundraising events, social club events. Cleary is always engaging and interacting with the students to get their opinions, concerns, and experiences so the school can improve and grow in certain aspects.
Athletics: Four years ago I approached the then Coach Jason Cheesebro about playing golf for Cleary. Then their was only 2 programs, Golf and Cross Country. Now Cleary has six different men’s and woman’s athletic teams student athletes can be apart of. In four years Cleary has developed sports programs that are top notch in competitiveness but they are well represented in the classroom as well. Four years later 3 of those 6 teams are nationally ranked individually and as a team. Men’s golf won the USCAA mens national championship as well as having an academic All-American and also having the individual national champion.
Whether you choose to go to a large university or a small university, is specifically up to the students preference. I have friends that liked the larger class sizes, and big campuses. The benefits that a smaller university offers though, in my opinion, out weight the disadvantages. Being able to be on a first name basis with the dean and academic advisors rather than just a number was one of the best things that I could have while dealing with colleges hectic schedule. Being able to have teachers that weren’t swamped with 100 other kids and would create a learning environment that you could ask questions and have a friendly relationship with them was impeccable to my success and my classmates. These were the perks that I found that enrolling in a smaller university had rather than following the norm of going to a larger school such as MSU, UofM, Eastern or Western.