The latest round of incoming freshmen are like a plague determined to wipe out all superior classes of WSU students. But in all seriousness, introducing a large amount of new bodies to a financially struggling university will provide extra sources of tuition income but will also continue the trend of oversized classes. Not to mention, we have to find adequate room to house all these students. Pretty soon, your average dorm room will be filled five deep with freshmen.
This year's massive freshman class will likely serve as an anchor to our university, weighing down and exaggerating many of the issues this campus already faces. Expect plenty of problems with the new zzusis portal, more accidents in the snow come winter, more MIP arrests, less available student jobs and grumpier professors teaching oversized classes. As a result, the students of this class will be expected to work harder to excel and stand out from their peers in a positive way. Though I anticipate WSU will lose ground on its fight to improve freshman retention rates after this year, the competitive atmosphere for incoming students could lead to a higher academic standard in future years.
With renovations to Duncan-Dunn and Community Hall not scheduled for completion until fall 2012, this year’s freshman class can expect to be packed like sardines into WSU’s existing dorms. For the first time ever, WSU is offering triple occupancy rooms in Olympia Avenue, Regents, Scott-Coman and Stephenson halls, but even students living in single or double occupancy rooms will feel the strain of additional residents crowding their shared living spaces. The exit of WSU’s largest graduating class last spring will help ease the strain of these new Cougs on much of our infrastructure, but those resources used most exclusively by freshmen are about to become far more scarce.
I am mostly concerned about the growing overall enrollment at WSU, and the increased size of the freshman class only makes this problem worse. I believe there is a direct correlation between the quality of learning a student can receive and the size of the classes and schools. With more students, larger classes and a higher student-to-faculty ratio, quality suffers.
The largest incoming class of freshmen in the history of WSU comes at a time of severe budget cuts and tuition increases. While income to the university will grow, students may face rising student-to-teacher ratios and declining services. With effective administration, nothing will change. However, if administration fails to maintain teaching quality for each student, Washington State University will just become another university pushing out thousands of automatons holding a piece of paper.
In our day and age, the mind set that everyone must go to college is taking over the public psyche. All around the country, high school graduates who have no business continuing their education are moving their bean bag chairs and Xbox 360s into overcrowded dorm rooms. As a result, the quality of education at every state school with an incentive to accept larger classes is suffering. Look on the bright side: at least future McDonald’s employees will have BAs.
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