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October 17, 2013

The Difference in School Sizes

Clark U

I didn’t really think too much about the size of the schools I was applying to, past whether they were just too small (which by my High School definition was under 1,000 students). Having been homeschooled before going to High School, and a fairly large High School at that, I had thought that size just didn’t matter. Clark University is, for all intents and purposes, the same size as my High School.

I remember being aware of this when I accepted Clark. But I did not take into account how much more spread-out Universities are. Let me tell you, that definitely effects the way that the size of the student population feels.

At Fairview High, 2,000 students felt congested. By my senior year, we were sharing lockers between three students and there were lockers being placed in halls that there shouldn’t have been lockers – just to fit the growing student body. It helped the feeling of fullness that we were, of course, all in school between the hours of 7.30 and 3.00pm.

In University, with approximately 2,500 students, the campus is small and rarely feels as congested as it did in High School (except for on certain days and special occasions – such as Spree Day!). Despite most students living on, or directly around, campus – it can still feel as though the campus is a bit of a ghost town in comparison to the University of Colorado at Boulder (the public, state University in my hometown which houses somewhere around 40,000 students).

Granted, this is a huge difference. Jumping from 2,500 to 40,000. Of course a campus with 40,000 students will be fuller, more congested, visibly social. Comparing the two would be like comparing water and vodka; they’re both clear liquids, but they have extremely different tastes. Clark and CU Boulder are both Universities, but they offer very different things.

Since arriving at UEA, I’ve spent a lot of time comparing what I know of Clark and CU Boulder to my experience here. I assumed, before arrival, that the University would be abuzz with the sound of conversations, frisbee games, and just busier than Clark’s campus.

I was wrong.

Mind you, UEA is definitely busier than Clark. There are more people. But due to the fact that a considerably smaller percentage of people live on campus, there really isn’t much more action than at Clark. The main difference between the two is that my class sizes have increased considerably. Instead of most of my classes housing somewhere around 20 students, there are now lectures with 100s of students and smaller seminars with 20 or less.

While Clark has a fairly consistent flow of students on every part of campus throughout the day, UEA has very obvious peaks and valleys in student activity and presence. These seem to, almost obviously, centre around when people have lectures. Campus gets busy and buzzes between 9am and somewhere around 5 or 6pm. It’s around 6pm many students, those who are not first years and live off campus, begin to vacate the campus or head to the campus pub.

UEA is so large and there are so many people that I’ve met people and have yet to see them again.

This is reminiscent of a sentiment often echoed by my friends at CU Boulder. Something I hadn’t exactly experienced at Clark – where once you meet someone, you’ll notice them pretty much everywhere.

This is coming up now because, as it’s October many seniors will be looking at schools and deciding where to go and what to do. If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering Clark University! And now you’ve heard about a couple other Universities from this blog alone.

So to review:

  1. Clark U
    - 2,500 students
    - Small, central campus (everything is actually 5 minutes from everything)
    - Small class sizes
    - Consistent flow of students
    - Once you meet someone, you’re sure to see them again
  2. UEA
    - Approx. 14,000 students
    - Medium-sized campus, 15-20 minute walk from one end to the other
    - Mid – Large class size
    - Peaks and valleys in student flow
    - Once you meet someone, you probably have to go out of your way to see them again unless they’re in your classes
  3. CU Boulder
    - Approx. 40,000 students
    - Large campus (I have friends that walk forever before getting to classes)
    - Mid – Large sized class size (I have friends who have had 400 students in their lectures)
    - Peaks and Valleys? (assumption based on the fact that, like UEA, only first years tend to live on campus)
    - Once you meet someone, you may never see them again (similar to UEA)


Got questions about school size? Want to know whether Clark’s size fits your personality and needs? Feel free to message me on Facebook, hit me up on Twitter (@JessaLGreen) or simply comment below.



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