Drake University prides itself on creating a strong, engaging learning experience for its more than 3,500 students, an experience they feel is reflected by their exceptional student-faculty ratio of 13-to-1.
Ryan Thompson, senior assistant director of admission at Drake, said that the small class sizes forces students to become a more integral part of the classroom.
“Having small classes fosters a stronger relationship between the faculty members and students,” Thompson said. “Our students are engaged in the learning process and have the responsibility to come to class prepared and ready to participate in discussions daily.”
He also compared his experience studying at a large university to academic life at Drake.
“I attended a much larger university where most of my classes averaged over 275 students, especially in my first two years,” Thompson said. “Many students would just skip class and cram for the exams because attendance wasn’t required. It was not a very engaging experience.”
More than half the classes offered at Drake have fewer than 20 students, and only 6.5 percent of classes have more than 50. Samantha Baker, a sophomore at Drake studying English and magazine journalism, said she feels the student-faculty ratio accurately reflects her classroom experience in college.
“I chose Drake because I didn’t want to be ‘just a number,’” Baker said. “At Drake, I actually get to know my professors, and they know me. I have a name and a face, not just ‘blonde girl, seventh row.’”
Despite Drake’s exceptionally intimate learning environment, its student-faculty ratio still falls short of two of its fiercest competitors. Both Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and Butler University in Indianapolis are similar in size to Drake, but have student-faculty ratios of 11-to-1. Drake admission counselor Silas Hanneman said he feels as though the institution makes up for the difference in various other areas.
“Even though Drake has a minimally larger ratio than some competitors, our tuition is lower than those (two) schools,” Hanneman said. “We believe in making Drake affordable for students while still keeping class sizes low. The ratio may have some correlation with small class sizes, but our programs, location and the faculty at Drake easily make up for any small difference.”
Erin Gabriel, assistant director of admission at Drake, also said she feels there is more to a school than ratios and statistics.
“(Drake) feels like the ‘Goldilocks’ campus—just right on all fronts with the campus size and Des Moines as a medium-sized city,” Gabriel said. “We’re not competing with a state school in the capital city, so it all works for students to maximize their academic and professional opportunities.”