Colleges That Change Lives

Today’s college scene is composed of an interesting dichotomy of experiences and learning environments that are proving one method highly successful while proving another, time worn method, to be more and more deficient. Ordinarily, high achieving students would focus on the brand names of education, with their prestige and instant name recognition which would provide many assumed benefits. However, many students are finding a more productive alternative to the Ivy League and big name colleges of America. Students, who are spending time at smaller, more involved colleges, are finding themselves getting better educations for the future than students who are in large, uninvolved institutions. The gap between the two methods of learning is widening and may be a foreshadowing of changes to come in future generations of college attendees.

Long term statistics and student experience are proving that the smaller schools are actually turning out the better students in the far stretch. Large, impersonal schools are providing too much opportunity for a student to hide within the crowd and earn a degree by simply being present and paying tuition. Smaller schools of about 2,000 students allow the student faculty ratio to be much closer and therefore students receive a higher percentage of attention at the learning level. At this closer ratio, students can ill afford to allow themselves to be a nameless faceless person in the crowd. Students around them are more involved and personally know the instructors, they also move in a direction that is obvious to all and therefore provide a social climate by which a student can excel and wants to excel.

Larger and more prestigious colleges have become “overstocked” as it were, with the student body and are little more than a spectator experience for many students within a 200-300 person classroom. Many of these classes are there for the sole purpose of filling up your notebooks, and then administering tests that are made out for a general audience, and then graded by teacher assistants. In a smaller college, the student may find themselves in classes of only twenty students, which with day after day of moving together in the same direction, can become a kind of “family” where everyone knows each other and the professor as well. In these smaller classes the instructors actively seek to expand the mind of the student and engage them in the process of learning right there in the classroom. Therefore, the student is always studying for the test three weeks away, from the beginning of classes. The learning process is always activated whether the student is in class, with his other classmates or alone in study hall. It would be very difficult for a student in such an environment of closely knit societies to wonder what will be on the test tomorrow.

Much to their own detriment, many aspiring students make their choices about future college based on their social climate they acquired in high school. Unfortunately, this herd mentality can be instrumental in continuing a spiral of non-success that will follow them to the college level. If none of the students a child knows in high school have done any research into colleges that will be personally fulfilling to the individual student, then the crowd that goes to the big state school together will have very few who actually benefit. The individual benefits from matching a student to the correct school will be lost in a major waste of time and money simply due to the herd mentality guiding the students as one and failing to benefit the individual students as parts. Students need to realize that friends today will more than likely be memories tomorrow as life moves on for all of them. An atmosphere of achievement must be maintained at the high school to college crossover age or else many years will be lost in a attempt to make up for missed time. Too often this kind of student finds themselves years after college cutting into today’s events in order to make up for the lost opportunity of education that was sacrificed for a social climate that will be, more times than not, ending.

Much of the time students who are given no guidance at all, or who fail to do the homework themselves, believe that all colleges will be the same. They mistakenly believe that it only matters that you go somewhere to school in much the same way they believed that it only matters that you graduate, not how well you do during high school. College for students must be seen not as a continuation of the time they had in high school but as a new kind of learning experience. Aegean College are full of like minded students who are just starting out into their professional lives and also learning about who they are as individuals. I can’t remember how many times I have spoken with persons in their 40’s about who they were in their 20’s and had the same conversation about the level of awareness. Many of them tell me that in their 20’s they were totally deluded about who they were as people and the extent of their abilities and maturation. This is a critical time in a young person’s life and needs to have the benefit of parents, advisors and professors who understand the blind spot of the twenty something person for his future and what achievement will bring about in the realm of self discovery. Choosing a college is instrumental in this development and must consider the students needs personally as must also the college itself in educating the student. Smaller colleges facilitate this process with more intimate learning environments and a crowd mentality that is beneficial to the student.

Long term statistics have now proven that successful college careers rarely depend on the prestige of the college name a student attended. Their real success follows them in the form of what a student takes with them after leaving a college. The influence of smaller colleges with a hands on approach to learning and a smaller community to orbit the student is proving to be more beneficial than the large classes where the student sits all day in a sea of faces. Many graduates of these larger colleges are now revealing the ease with which large colleges graduate students. Many of these students tell tales of how they could have “mailed it in’ during their stay at the college they graduated from. Students who drop out of these large colleges and transfer to schools who are smaller and more intimate sing the praises of professors and student bodies who engaged them not only in learning but socially as well, contributing to a major improvement from the large college experience.

Statistically, these smaller colleges are also proving that a students high school grades were often not true indicators of a students performance capabilities. Many of the graduated students from these smaller institutions report having their minds challenged and improved by the attention they received from educators who where there to educate rather than gain tenure. These students found themselves a part of the honor society in these colleges for the first time in their lives. Afterward, they also found themselves out distancing the students from the larger colleges due to the personal growth and more intimate attention that enabled them to meet major challenges with the skill to learn how to learn and think through any situation they encountered. Though the subjects may have been text book oriented, the skills learned in unison with the lesson carried them farther and higher than those they would have gained simply by filling in notes in a book.

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