How “small” made a big difference in my academic careerDecember 21, 2018 - William Goodson
Deciding where you want to go to college by weighing what each school offers can be
difficult – especially if you aren’t sure if you would benefit more in your studies
by attending a big school or a small school.
Going to a school of Ouachita’s size for my education has had some major advantages. I know this as someone who originally went to a school with over 20,000 students. I absolutely loved it in certain ways, but it did not have the personal touches and attention to student development that I wanted.
At Ouachita, I have had firsthand experience with the extra level of attention that professors can offer. For example, any time I need to contact my advisor, Dr. Deborah Root, she will gladly help me with whatever I may have questions about. At bigger schools, it can be really difficult to make an appointment with your advisor. Oftentimes, this can take weeks. And when you do see them, you are just another student on the books. Even if you keep the same major, your advisor may change from semester to semester. I know mine did, and many of my friends’ did, too. This can make it harder for them to be invested in you or for you to feel like they have your back.
Another perk of going to a school this size is access to the teachers. At most larger schools, extra help is always given through teachers’ assistants (TAs), Greek life tutors or some outside help. However, since I transferred to Ouachita, I have had numerous teachers hold study sessions outside of class, and I have had teachers who let me come by their office with questions.
Countless professors have even given out their phone numbers on the first day of class (just asking us not to text them past certain times). I remember this my first day of class after transferring, and I was kind of shocked. But, over time, I have realized these are the small things I appreciate about Ouachita. I genuinely believe every teacher I have had would go above and beyond for me if I asked for help with something.
Another great thing about Ouachita is the Academic Success Center. A couple times I have just walked in and arranged a time to meet with a tutor in the next few days. One semester I even arranged to have a weekly tutor for a class that I anticipated would be challenging. This is simply not available at bigger schools. They may have tutors and outside help available through the administration, but it will not be nearly as easy as walking in and setting it up. Not to mention all my tutoring has been free of charge, and one-on-one tutors at my previous university were not cheap.
I understand academics here can be rigorous, but all of the extra help at Ouachita actually makes it relatively easy to do well if you apply yourself. I think this can be taken for granted sometimes, but it can make all the difference.
By William Goodson, a junior communications & media/strategic communications major from Little Rock, Ark.
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