The Small School Advantage
“A name, not a number” is the key phrase you will hear when you visit a small college. What exactly does this mean? To start, it means your Admission Counselor will know you personally. Having worked in Admissions for two summers now, it always amazes me how many students the Admission staff remembers by name. When I interviewed for the Admission Fellow position, Hannah Moriggi remembered coordinating my visit to campus over a year ago; after I causally mentioned my roommate’s name one day, Courtney Leahy excitedly began discussing with me how amazing he is, recalling a number of details from his application that was submitted over a year ago. This happens on a daily basis.
From the moment you first interact with a Babson Admission Counselor, you become a very real person in Babson’s process. Once you get to Babson, this trend will continue. With the largest class size set at 40 students here and an average of just under 30, your professors will know your name, often even before the semester starts. Last fall on the first day of class, my Accounting professor walked downstairs, saw me (although we didn’t know each other yet), and said “Hi Adam, how was your summer?” She memorized the class photo roster before Day 1.
Developing relationships with my teachers was always something I was passionate about in high school, and this is something I have been able to continue doing while at Babson. George Recck, a double Babson alum (BS & MBA), was my Quantitative Methods for Business Analytics I (QTM I) professor in the fall of my freshman year, and in the spring, I approached him about doing some project work. Since then, we have been working on a research project relating to analytics for fantasy basketball, an article we are hoping to publish this summer. He has effectively made me his general project assistant, working on a number of different items ranging from preparing new in-class exercises and slide decks to even designing new courses.
As we have worked together, he has developed as both a mentor and a friend. Being well networked on campus, he has introduced me to a number of people and involved me in a number of meaningful projects. He is someone I go to for guidance about anything—whether academic or personal. We are even close enough now where we text – we’re both big baseball fans, and often send each other messages about the scores throughout the night.
While I was a student in Foundations of Management & Entrepreneurship (FME), Babson’s flagship first-year program, I grew very close to Professor Donna Stoddard, who has emerged as another of my mentors on campus. She is constantly sending me programs she thinks may interest me, connecting me with people she thinks I should meet and talk to, and has provided invaluable guidance as I pursue a career in public accounting, having started her career as a CPA herself. She has even had me to her house for barbeques these past summers while I have worked in Admissions.
But it doesn’t stop at professors. Babson is a school that values student voices, from top to bottom of the organizational hierarchy. Ian Lapp, Dean of the Undergraduate School, is someone I have come to know well in my time at Babson. Every time I see him, it always strikes me how much he knows about my life at Babson and how much he remembers from our past conversations. He makes it his goal to know as many community members by name as possible. Over winter break, he spontaneously showed up at one of our swim practices and later came to our swim meet and featured us on his Instagram. During my summers working in Admissions, he and I have met a number of times over breakfast to discuss my own experiences and feedback about curriculum that will allow Babson to adapt and improve moving forward. His willingness to meet with me and the respect he shows me in our discussions is special, and his operating style sets the tone for everyone who works at Babson.
Chartwells, Babson’s new dining services provider, is considering adapting its meal plan offerings to better meet student needs over the coming years, and this summer, its leadership group has asked me to sit on a focus group to analyze potential changes. Sitting in a room full of staff on campus from the Budgeting, Residence Life, and Undergraduate Dean’s offices, my voice as a student is valued. The Chartwells managers often casually stop me in Trim Dining Hall, too, to ask my feedback or what my friends are saying.
Whether it’s simply as a prospective student interacting with Babson’s Admission Office or as an enrolled student taking classes, you are truly a name, and not a number. You will never find yourself sitting in a large lecture hall, nor will you ever walk across campus without passing a familiar face. Every day at 6:55 AM, my wake-up time for my 8 AMs, I feel like my day has a purpose. Never have I gone to class and felt like my day is empty—going to class is much more than just sitting down and listening. A classroom at Babson is a community, a community where I spend time with friends and build relationships with professors. Every time I walk outside of my residence hall, I know I will see someone, whether a student, faculty member, or staff, and I can’t imagine it any other way.