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Large Lecture Halls vs. Small Classrooms: Which is Better?



When it comes to picking college classes, there are many factors to consider.

Before you enroll, you have to figure out if it fits in your schedule, and if it counts toward your major. Plus, you might want to take classes with specific professors that you want to connect with

But one factor that many students overlook is class size. Some classes are large, lecture-style courses with hundreds of students in them. Others take place in smaller, more intimate settings with fewer than twenty students.

Each classroom style works well for different types of people.

In this article, I’ll talk about the differences between large and small classes. Along the way, I’ll point out some pros and cons of each. Hopefully, it helps you find courses that you can thrive in.

So let’s begin.

Professor Interaction vs. No Professor Interaction


In a smaller classroom, your professor will know you. They’ll become familiar with your work. After graduation, you can ask them for a recommendation letter and they’ll remember who you are.

They might even help you find college internships!

In a big classroom, on the other hand, your professor might go the entire semester without learning your name.

This might not matter to you. Many students feel like they learn just as much in a big classroom. But, if you’re looking to find professors who can become mentors, you should consider taking smaller classes.

More or Less Attention in Classrooms


If you learn better from one-on-one interactions, smaller classes are better. Lectures offer very little in terms of face-to-face time.

In a large lecture hall, it can be difficult to ask questions. After all, you could be competing with ten other people to get the professor’s attention.

And, there’s a good chance that the professor might not ever actually read your work. In a large, lecture-style classroom, the teacher usually has TAs who grade their papers.

There are exceptions, as some professors go out of their way to make sure every student understands the material. But, it’s nearly guaranteed that you’ll get more attention in a small class than a bigger one.

Different Benefits for Introverts and Extroverts


Introverts and extroverts have vastly different experiences in college. Extroverts might be excited to sit in the front of the classroom and engage in lively discussions. But introverts often prefer to sit in the back and listen.

Each class style works well for different types of people. Your personality type can help you choose the best classes.

Large Classrooms Are Perfect for Introverts

Are you an introvert? Do you loathe being the center of attention?

If that’s the case, being in a large classroom is ideal.

As an introvert in college, it’s helpful to take lecture courses because you can focus on the material. You don’t have to worry about the professor calling on you. You can relax without feeling anxious.

If you have questions but would prefer not to raise your hand, you can talk to the professor before or after class.

Small Classrooms Are A Better Fit for Extroverts 


If you’re the type of person that learns best from group conversations, a small classroom is perfect for you.

The great thing about small classes is that you’ll get immediate answers to your questions. In a larger classroom setting, you may have to wait for the professor to answer five or ten other questions before they get to yours (if they do).

Of course, this is just a guideline. Some introverts enjoy taking small, intimate courses while some extroverts are more comfortable in a large lecture hall. Ultimately, you should assess your personality to figure out the types of classes you’ll enjoy more.

Types of Assignments


There are certain types of coursework that lend themselves better to small settings.

For example, you don’t usually find creative writing classes taught in a lecture-format with 100 students in each room. Chemistry labs, which require each student to physically engage with the tools of the trade, are also small. In these types of courses, students learn by doing things, not just reading about them.

For the most part, large courses are reserved topics that can be taught through lectures and readings. In these classes, students have to write papers and take exams to demonstrate their knowledge.

Most schools ask their students to take a mixture of lecture classes and workshops. But, if you learn better by doing, take as many of the latter as possible.

Conclusion


Perhaps you’re one of those people who thrive in a large lecture hall environment. You don’t mind sitting and listening while the professor talks. You absorb information just as well as you would in a small classroom.

If that sounds like you, then taking big classes shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if you prefer more attention and like knowing everyone in the room, then a small classroom setting is probably more your style.

The choice is yours. Before you finalize your schedule this semester, think about your options and look at your past performance. Do you tend to do better in classes with a lot of people or ones with a small group?

Taking all choices into account will ensure you excel in school. Figure out which type of environment works best for you so you can not just earn your degree, but enjoy yourself along the way.

Author bio:
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over 10 years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Hawthorne SLC to help them with their marketing efforts.

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