Size Matters

Categories: Student Life

We’ve all heard it before: size matters – especially when it comes to your college search.  Middlebury markets itself as a small liberal arts and sciences college, but that can leave you wondering “just how small is small?”.  Great question!

I can say with the utmost confidence that 2400 is not the perfect size college for everyone.  However, if you’re thinking about coming to Middlebury, chances are you already know how many students we have and you’re already taking that into consideration.  Even as a Senior, though, I am just now beginning to understand the real size of Middlebury.

First, let’s talk class size.  You know they’re small.  In my experience, they’re usually around 15 people.  This semester, my classes range in size from 6 to 30 students.  This means it’s basically impossible to hide from a professor at Middlebury if you haven’t done  your readings, but it also means that all your professors will know more about you than just your name.  They can recognize your handwriting when you forget to write you name at the top of your homework, know what sports you play, and more often than not will invite the whole class over for dinner at their house sometime during the semester.  The opportunities for discussion are endless, and the small environment makes it a lot easier to talk to your other classmates about homework, philosophies and theories, or what they’ll be up to over the weekend.

Next up, and in my opinion a little harder to gauge, is the size of the student body as a whole.  I worried when I chose to come to Middlebury, that in such a small school I would get tired of seeing the same faces over and over again.  Before going abroad, a lot of my friends complained that Middlebury was too small, too intimate, and that they were ready for a change of scene.  Having just returned from Paris and Beijing, two of the biggest cities in the world, I can tell you that it has been great returning to the quaint setting where I know I’m more than a dot in a blurred and bustling crowd.

But there’s more to it than being happy in a small school.  While I was abroad, I met MiddKids that I never even knew went to Middlebury, let alone took the same language as me and were in my year.  I was also lucky to be overseas with several of my best friends from Middlebury and got to know them even better in a new context.  Coming back from abroad, I’ve continued to meet my new friends’ friends, the kids sitting next to me in my first class in the Religion department, and suitemates of friends I’d known for years.

Frankly, I am shocked at the number of people I didn’t know at Middlebury – about half of my fellow Senior Admissions Fellows included!  Of course, part of it is that many of my old friends graduated and new students arrived while I was abroad, but I’m realizing more and more that while I recognize most of the faces I see on the sidewalks around campus, there are tons of incredible people that I still haven’t had the chance to meet (oh senior moments!).  To me, this is the perfect mix: I feel comfortable with the friends I’ve known for four, or even just one, year(s), but I’m also able to meet new people on a regular basis.  Some kids come from high schools with more students than Middlebury, others from intimate classes of 40, but either way, MiddKids seem content with the balance of familiar and unfamiliar faces here.  Size matters, so definitely think about it, but remember that 2400 incredible people is a lot to squeeze into just four years!

Now it’s time to make the most of my final semesters and spend quality time with friends new and old.

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