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Small Class, Big Deal

6 Perks of Being in a Small Class

By Katherine Cullinan ’20

With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 12:1 and an average class size of 17, students at Carthage will not get lost in the college crowd. Here are six reasons why being in a small class is such a big deal.

Mathematics professor Haley Yaple works with students.

1. You will bond with your professors.

At Carthage, professors know your name and genuinely care about your success. You can expect a concerned email in your inbox if you have to miss class. Forming these bonds opens the door for future projects and research opportunities with your professors.

Carthage Professor Richard Heitman“Professor Heitman showed up to the first day of class already familiar with our names,” Jaclyn Wilks ’20 recalls about her first class with philosophy professor Richard Heitman. “He wrote down things about us and our interests. By the second day of class, he knew everyone’s name. I could tell that he cared, and it felt pretty incredible.”

“By the second day of class, he knew everyone’s name. I could tell that he cared, and it felt pretty incredible.”

• • •

A Carthage student raises her hand to speak during a Introduction to Psychology course.

2. You will engage in class discussions.

Class discussions will become an integral part of your classes and curriculum — an advantage that larger classes can’t offer. These dynamic discussions lead to interesting and intimate learning experiences that help every student succeed.

You’ll start speaking up right away in classes like Western Heritage, a two-seminar series that all Carthage freshmen take. Nervous about speaking up in class? Don’t be. Your professors and classmates want to hear what you have to say.

“Especially in a class like Western Heritage, discussion is really important,” says Kitara Harsh ’19. “I feel like what I’m saying matters.”

“I feel like what I’m saying matters.”

• • •

Students discuss the material in a J-Term course on Financial Crime.

3. You WILL go to class.

“In a lecture hall of 400 students, people don’t notice an empty seat.
At Carthage, everyone notices. It’s hard not to when your class
has 17 students who know each other well.”

Let’s face it: There will come a day when you just want to skip class. Maybe you’re exhausted. Maybe you’ve got a huge project due later in the week. But skipping costs you more in the long run, and at Carthage, class size is a big motivator to get you in your seat.

Why? Well, if you don’t show up, people will notice. You will find that you are an important contributor who will be missed. All students benefit from everyone being in class. Many professors include attendance in their grading. Above all? You will go to class because you want to go to class.

“In a lecture hall of 400 students, people don’t notice an empty seat,” says Taylor Bolyard ’18. “At Carthage, everyone notices. It’s hard not to when your class has 17 students who know each other well.”

• • • 

Get to know your other classmates in small classes like Modern Physics.

4. You will connect with your classmates.

Small classes allow for strong relationships to form among classmates in and out of the classroom, which makes learning more comfortable, the learning process more productive, collaboration more meaningful, and college life more enjoyable.

“I’ve made a lot of friends from my classes, and that makes it easier to learn and be engaged in those classes,” says AJ Green ’19.

• • •

Mathematics professor Sara Jensen helps students through a problem.

5. You will get the help you need, without waiting for office hours.

When your class is small, you can ask questions the moment they arise — and have them answered immediately, increasing your productivity and improving your overall experience in a course. Professors check in while teaching to make sure everyone understands the content.

“My professors can see when I’m confused and definitely want me to ask my questions, so I feel comfortable doing so,” says Cheyanne Stage ’19. “I get more out of the classes when I don’t sit confused for the whole time.”

“I get more out of classes when I don’t sit confused for the whole time.”

• • •

Physics professor Jean Quashnock works with students during class.

6. You will want to do well, and you can.

A small class brings big opportunity to succeed. You won’t be lost in the crowd. You will feel more motivated to work hard. Professors will support your pursuits. And you will be exposed to learning styles that could not exist in large classes. With the closer attention and heightened focus, learning will be fun and fruitful.

“Of course, I want to do well to make a good impression on my professors, but being in these small classes is making me want to do well for myself, too,” says Caleb Hays ’20.

“Being in these small classes is making me want to do well for myself, too.”Students laugh during a lecture in a Systemic Physiology course.

 

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2019), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has been named a top producer of Fulbright Fellows three years running: 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $1.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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