Private Colleges With the Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios
With the cost of college continuing to rise, so too are the concerns parents have about whether their children are getting the most out of their education.
With the cost of college continuing to rise, so too are the concerns parents have about whether their children are getting the most out of their education. A low student-faculty ratio indicates that students are getting more educational instruction for their dollar, a major selling point among colleges. We highlight here the ten private universities and liberal-arts colleges that boast the lowest student-faculty ratios on our list of Best Values in Private Colleges 2010-11. The ratio reflects the number of full-time students divided by the number of full-time faculty members.
By Marc Wojno December 2010
California Institute of Technology
Location: Pasadena, Cal.Overall rank (among private universities): 3Students per faculty member: 3 Talk about hands-on experience. Cal Tech once again tops Kiplinger’s list for having the smallest number of students per faculty member -- and when we say faculty, we don’t mean graduate students teaching Statistics 101. With most class sizes less than 20 students, it’s not uncommon for professors to lunch with undergraduates, take questions after class and serve as mentors, helping students select a field of study or research topics.
Location: Houston, Tex.Overall rank (among private universities): 4Students per faculty member: 5 Rice continues to value the importance of faculty-student interaction. During the past six years, Rice has added more than 50 tenure and tenure-track faculty members. Currently, Rice employs more than 530 faculty members for the school’s 3,000-plus undergraduate population.
Location: Princeton, N.J.Overall rank (among private universities): 1Students per faculty member: 6 Our number-one ranked private university may not have the smallest number of students per faculty member, but Princeton’s faculty make it a priority to get involved with their students, from conducting freshman seminars to giving guidance on senior theses. No wonder Princeton has one of the highest four-year graduation rates among private universities in the U.S. (90%).
Location: New Haven, Conn.Overall rank (among private universities): 2Students per faculty member: 6 Many of Yale’s most-distinguished professors teach introductory-level classes. Yale also boasts a high 90% four-year graduation rate for undergrads. The core of the university, Yale College, provides instruction in the liberal arts and sciences, with more than 2,000 undergraduate courses offered each year by more than 65 departments and programs.
University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.Overall rank (among private universities): 7Students per faculty member: 6 Students are in good company with such a distinguished group of faculty members. In the past two decades, the University of Pennsylvania has been home to seven MacArthur Award recipients, six recipients of the National Medal of Sciences, five Nobel Prize recipients and five Pulitzer Prize recipients.
Location: New York, N.Y.Overall rank (among private universities): 8Students per faculty member: 6 In a city that never sleeps, faculty never stop influencing and challenging students. Nearly 80% of Columbia’s undergraduate classes have less than 20 students, providing greater opportunities for students to reach out for extra guidance and instruction. What’s more, Columbia has had 79 Nobel laureates serve as faculty, adjunct faculty, researchers or alumni. Nine Nobel laureates are among the school’s current faculty.
Location: Stanford, Cal.Overall rank (among private universities): 12Students per faculty member: 6 One of Stanford’s objectives, as established in the school’s founding grant in 1885, is “to qualify its students for personal success.” Stanford upholds that objective by emphasizing a close, personal interaction between students and faculty. The school’s Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research, for example, offers advising, grants and programs that give undergrads more exposure to faculty and their research.
University of Chicago
Location: Chicago, Ill.Overall rank (among private universities): 19Students per faculty member: 6 This urban campus in the Windy City is known for having the most number of Nobel laureates. But it’s also known for having most of its faculty living in the surrounding neighborhood, making it more feasible for students to interact with them. It’s not unusual for students to see their professors at the park or shopping at the local grocery store.
Location: Claremont, Cal.Overall rank (among liberal arts colleges): 2Students per faculty member: 7 Pomona takes pride in noting that professors, not graduate assistants, teach all the college’s classes, including laboratory classes for its science programs. The average class size at Pomona is about 15 students.
Location: Williamstown, Mass.Overall rank (among liberal arts colleges): 3Students per faculty member: 7 Williams students are guaranteed a solid education with dedicated faculty, 97% of whom hold doctorates or other such high-level degrees. Within its three academic divisions (humanities, sciences and social sciences), Williams has 25 departments and offers 36 majors.
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