As Mississippi State University continues to grow, so do the advantages. However, this expansion may be too much. We may be starting to see some negative effects of this growth, like increased traffic and massive class sizes.
One way the school could improve would be limiting enrollment. This would allow the school to expand at a slower rate which would be more beneficial to the town, improve the overall university ranking and allow for smaller class sizes.
MSU's rapid growth affects more than those who live on campus. The push for living off campus after freshman year definitely impacts Starkville. Already this past summer, we have seen City Bagel close due to the construction of a new apartment complex. Whether good or bad, the dynamic of this town will be affected by this new construction.
If there ever comes a freshman class greater than 5,185 students, forcing freshmen to live on campus will become unrealistic. All of this is compounded by the plans to tear down Rice Hall, a dorm which can house 511 residents, according to MSU's Housing and Residence Life. In the long run, this may be a good option, but in the meantime, the school will be losing one of its biggest dorms. If MSU were to limit enrollment, the school could grow at a slower and more realistic rate, which would allow Starkville to comfortably grow with the school.
Limiting enrollment could also help the university improve its ranking. According to U.S. News, MSU is ranked No. 211 nationally as compared to the University of Mississippi at No. 162. If our school is continually trying to better itself, one of the best ways to do this would be to raise their national profile.
A way to help raise the ranking would be raising the ACT/SAT score and GPA requirements for admissions. By doing this in combination with accepting less students into MSU, the university could become more sought after, and our degrees could increase in value.
Another advantage of limiting enrollment is the university could lower the class size of intro courses. Many intro classes are largely taken by freshman, and lowering the size of these classes could help freshmen with the shift from high school to college.This academic transition can be difficult, but with a smaller group they can interact with their professor more and become better equipped for university.
According to the National Council of Teachers of English, "[a]cademic performance is important, but it is not the only measure of student success. In the area of student engagement, findings consistently show the value of small classes. Students talk and participate more in smaller classes. They are much more likely to interact with the teacher rather than listen passively during class."
Speaking from experience, it is far easier to zone out in a class where students feel they are invisible to a professor. So, by lowering enrollment, the university can lower class sizes for intro classes, improving academic achievement overall.
Lowering student enrollment could end up being beneficial for the overwhelming majority of this community. This could not only help Starkville properly expand with the university at a better pace, but also support local businesses. Limitations in enrollment could raise the overall rankings of the university and improve the academic success of its students, while also helping everyone at the university during the process.