California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Growing enrollment threatens small-campus feel

In comparison to other universities, CLU has always been a small educational institution, but with a steady annual increase of incoming students, the school is being stretched thin. One of California Lutheran University’s greatest assets is its smaller size, especially in the classroom.

The school’s small class sizes allow students to build relationships with their professors, rather than remain a body in a lecture hall, where the professor doesn’t even know your name.

For CLU freshman Alex Farag, this asset was critical in making her college decision.

“I love the fact that my professors know my name and that they know my story,” said Farag.

Being able to talk one-on-one with professors gives you a sense of importance. In the long run it can help build connections for future career paths.

Although the numbers at CLU have stayed low since its accreditation, the past 10 years have seen the largest increase in enrolled students.

According to the university’s website, this year’s freshman class entered with about 550 students. For a lot of students, this is a much smaller environment than they are used to. I came from a high school where there were nearly twice that amount of students in my year alone.

CLU senior Cortney Jordan attended Coronado High School in Henderson, Nev., a school which, like my own, was larger than CLU.

“In some of my classes, we would have almost 40 students in a classroom meant for 30,” said Jordan. “CLU’s small class size allows for a greater focus on the student, which is what matters most.”

CLU’s small size can be an appealing factor, but for some, it can be a reason to question attending the school. This was the case for senior Ashley Szanter, who found the small size appealing but never had CLU at the top of her college list.

“Now that I’ve spent four years here, I feel the bonds I’ve made with professors because of that one-on-one capability is indispensable,” said Szanter.

Szanter’s college career has been busy with a double major in history and English, a course load that may have taken over four years at a larger university.

Matt Ayres is a junior at University of California, Los Angeles. Ayres, a biochemistry major, has not had the benefit of small classes at UCLA.

“The large lectures are harder for me to hear and [they] give me anxiety,” said Ayres. “Being at such a large school can be amazing, but you can get lost in the crowd.”

Five hundred and fifty incoming freshmen may not seem like much, but looking back at the last 10 years, it has steadily increased. In 2003, the incoming freshmen count was only 390.

The freshman count is not the only increase CLU has seen. The number of transfer students has increased as well. This year, there were 270 transfer students enrolled, almost three times the total 10 years ago.

If the number of students enrolled continues to grow, the school needs to take appropriate steps to make sure that the smaller-sized teaching environment is preserved.

I am not opposed to the school growing, but I fear the loss of its student focus. CLU has always been a university that truly puts the students first, and many others believe so as well.

“I believe CLU is such an amazing school that we should embrace the growing numbers,” said Farag. “Only as long as the school fights to keep the small-school atmosphere by also growing in professors and residence halls to encourage on-campus community.”

CLU has come a long way from the days of California Lutheran College. Its growth can be a great thing, but only if the administration puts the students first.

Graham Jameson
Staff Writer
Published May 1, 2013

 

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