By Matthew Pertz, Opinion Editor
The benefits of attending a small college are well-known. Small student-teacher ratios mean more individual attention and more opportunity to personally gain from learned professors. But many students at small schools like Asbury suffer when planning courses due to the volatility of scheduling with few students.
Asbury sports 1358 undergraduates spread between 52 different majors. As of 2014, nearly half of those students were contained in only seven of the 52 majors, leaving an average of 14 pupils in each of the other 47 studies.
Sophomore biology/pre-med major Sarah Rhodes worries she will not be able to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) because of how her classes are scheduled in the coming years. Because of the recent addition of Biochemistry to the MCAT, Rhodes needs the class CHE 371 but cannot take it until 2019, at which point she will have already taken the test and chosen a graduate school.
“Most of the one-semester science classes are taught for only certain semesters or every other year, like genetics, cell and molecular science and others,” Rhodes said.
“I love my professors, and they genuinely try to help me succeed, but it gets very difficult trying to balance out my school load and lacrosse,” she said. “I feel like it was expected of me to know my schedule for all four years while walking into my freshman year. I wish I was given a list or something for all the different times the classes are offered and what would be the best years to take them.”
Sophomore media communications major Jonathan Waide struggled to register for a foundational Spanish course. At the time when he enrolled in the class he was preparing for 16 credit hours, the minimum necessary per semester in order to reach 124 within four years. But after the course was canceled he found himself stuck with 13 credits and an unbalanced schedule.
“I’ll have to wait until next semester to take it and I’ll also probably have to take a summer class to stay on track for four years,” he said.
I wish I was given a list or something for all the different times the classes are offered and what would be the best years to take them.
Some areas of study strive to provide extra assistance to ensure students are on track to graduate on time. The media communication major requires each participant to fill out a three-year plan before registering for classes so they’re prepared for classes that might only be offered once every year.
The easiest solution to this predicament could be creating more online classes for small majors. Online classes aren’t nearly as time-consuming for professors but still allow students to remain on course to graduate in a timely manner. At the moment, the majority of Asbury’s online classes revolve around foundational courses, like Introduction to Art or Foundations of Christian Thought, but that could change as demand for more specialization increases.