When applying to colleges, I knew from the start that I wanted to go to a small school. Oftentimes, smaller colleges boast a greater student to faculty ratio and smaller class sizes. Being someone who likes more engagement in my classes, this feature was near the top of my list.
When I first arrived at Lewis & Clark, I could tell instantly how cozy and walkable everything was, from the dining hall being right outside your dorm’s door to all your classes being less than a five minute walk away. There are trails if hiking is your thing and the trees and greenery around campus give you comfort. It feels like my home.
However, as more and more students come to our small campus, it can feel a bit crowded. In 2021, there was record enrollment, due in part to students who took a gap year because of COVID-19. Because of this, students in several different dorm buildings were forced into “overflow triple” rooms, a dorm room typically meant to house two students, now being modified to accommodate three. Not only was this a problem for students who were trying to limit exposure to the virus, but it could often feel suffocating.
Not only are the dorms too full, the classrooms are starting to reach capacity much quicker. With so few majors and limited class sizes, professors struggle with admitting all the students who need to take their course. In required classes, such as introductory 100-level courses, many students who need to take said class in order to graduate in a timely manner are being turned away because of the cap on how many people can fit in the classroom.
This semester in my Methods in Psychology class, a required 300-level that all psychology majors need to take as a prerequisite, several sophomores and juniors were unable to get into one of the only sections of that class. They will have to try again next year, possibly forcing some of them to have to spend another semester at LC. Extending graduation takes both money and time away from the student, all because of one missed class.
The campus community is one I truly treasure. It seems as if everyone gets to know each other and faculty very well. It was one of the reasons I enrolled here and it is one of the many reasons I love LC so much.
There are many reasons why someone would choose a smaller school over a bigger one and vice versa. LC may be significantly smaller than others that we might be used to or might associate with an archetypal college, but we all chose to come here. LC may be small, and it has quite a few faults that would not exist at larger institutions, but it has an incredibly close-knit community, where many of us know and support each other, making its relatively small size perfect for most.