Knowing how much time you will have to interact with members of staff at your prospective university is an important factor to be aware of.
You will want to know how much time you’ll have talk about your progress, what opportunities you’ll be given to ask questions during lectures and how much participation there will be in discussions.
Based on the answers of more than 200,000 students across the US in the 2019 US Student Survey, we’ve put together a list of the universities that provide the best opportunities to interact with faculty.
Students had to give their university a rating of 0-10 in response to the following question: “To what extent do you have the opportunity to interact with the faculty and teachers at your college or university as part of your learning experience? Examples of interaction could include asking questions during lectures, participating in discussion sessions, talking about your progress in feedback sessions or working with the faculty on activities other than course work such as term papers.”
If students answered 0 it meant that they had no opportunities to interact with faculty, five was neutral and a score of 10 meant that students felt they had plenty of opportunities to interact with staff.
Interestingly, many of the universities that feature in the top 20 were private liberal arts colleges, which are typically smaller and so might provide a better setting for meaningful interaction with staff.
The US Student Survey was conducted last year as part of the 2019 US College Rankings and more information can be found here.
=1. Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College is a private liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine.
There are 189 members of faculty for the 1,800 students. Some 99 per cent of the staff have the highest degree in their field.
The Center for Cocurricular Opportunities is a group of academic advisors who work with students to consider how to make connections between what they learn in the classroom and how that might relate to experiences outside the classroom.
The university also offers a number of fellowships for students to pursue research while working alongside members of staff.
=1. Washington and Lee University
There are more than 1,100 undergraduate courses at Washington and Lee University and every course is taught by a faculty member.
Students are able to benefit from small classes where they can form close relationships with their professors.
The university’s academic advising system is an important part of the undergraduate programme. It helps students understand how to meet graduation requirements, encourages them to take responsibility for their own education, fosters conversations with faculty beyond the classroom and encourages students to think beyond academics.
3. Rollins College
The classes at Rollins College average at only 17 students and a 10:1 student-faculty ratio. This helps students to be able to maximise the interaction they have with staff during class time.
There is also a Tutoring and Writing Center where consultants and tutors meet with students to give them one-to-one feedback on their learning process.
What is it like to study at a liberal arts college?
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=4. Haverford College
The 9:1 student to faculty ratio means it is easy for students at Haverford College to have quality interaction with staff members.
Additionally 61 per cent of the faculty live on campus, which helps to develop strong ties and increase opportunities for collaboration.
Professors work side by side with students to develop high-quality research.
=4. Westmont College
Westmont College is an interdenominational Christian liberal arts college in Montecito, California.
The university combines small classes where students are able to discuss ideas and thoughts, with a commitment to the Christian faith.
The university focuses on undergraduate education and believes that it can offer “a more effective and engaging program as a result”.
Top 20 universities with the best staff interaction
|Staff interaction rank 2019||University||City||State|
|=1||Washington and Lee University||Lexington||Virginia|
|3||Rollins College||Winter Park||Florida|
|=4||Westmont College||Santa Barabra||California|
|=6||Spring Hill College||Mobile||Alabama|
|=10||Cornell College||Mount Vernon||Iowa|
|=10||Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology||Terre Haute||Indiana|
|=10||United States Military Academy||West Point||New York|
|=16||Sarah Lawrence College||Yonkers||New York|
|=18||Drew University||Madison||New Jersey|
|=20||Morningside College||Sioux City||Iowa|
|=20||University of Mobile||Mobile||Alabama|
Read more: Best universities in the United States