Kopacz: University needs to find a way to manage admission chaos

As many of you may know, the University has seen constant increases in tuition recently. Just last year, the State Board of Higher Education approved a 9 percent increase, raising the cost of attending the University to $40,700 for out-of-state students and $21,800 for in-state students. @@[email protected]@

The fact that tuition has been rising so much every year is outrageous. Students struggle to make ends meet, taking out as many loans and grants as they can and getting more and more in debt. What’s even more absurd is that students are paying this much money for a school that is not reaching its highest potential. The University offers a terrific education and a beautiful outside scenery (on a sunny day), but inside the small buildings students are cramped and irritated with the class sizes they have to put up with.

The great debate over classroom sizes and teacher-to-student ratios has been going on for a long time — and for a good reason. Studies have shown that smaller classrooms benefit students in many ways. It allows students to get to know their professors, offering a more personalized education. Not only that, but smaller classes can provide more help and support from fellow peers and professors. Students gain more confidence and begin to develop better leadership skills and overall understand the material better.

I have had the opportunity to enroll in a class with fewer than 20 students and it was one of the most rewarding and informative classes I have ever taken. The teacher had time to lecture as well as answer all of our questions and help us individually. I ended up earning an A in that class.

Unfortunately I have also experienced a giant lecture hall — the dreaded 150 Columbia Hall — and struggled all term with not only finding a seat but with understanding the content of the course. The professors do their best to explain the material; I’d give them an A for the attempt. But it’s impossible to meet every student’s needs and answer all their questions. It’s an overwhelming feeling to sit in a class with 100 or more students. Plus the seats are extremely uncomfortable and the desks aren’t even big enough to hold a laptop. I’ve had class in Columbia and have had to sit on the stairs, laptop on my knees, because there were so many students and not enough desks. This class ended up being my first failed class ever.

We’re paying $20,000 to $40,000 a year for a university education in a class where we might be forced to sit on the ground? That’s ridiculous. I understand that it is hard to provide education to so many students. But if the University wants more than 24,000 students to attend here, then they need to find a way to make room. And I am not putting down our education here; I have already learned so much from the amazing professors that teach here. I’m simply stating that there is a poor environment for that education.

The professors have lessons that can benefit students tremendously but it’s hard to gain the attention of 200 students in a 50-minute span. Smaller classes will result in overall satisfaction for professors and students.

If the University cares about its students, which I know it does, then it needs to find a way to organize the chaos.

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