At UW, it's difficult to predict whether a student will shine or burn when exposed to the collegiate academic spotlight. Thanks to the size of the University, students have an expansive selection of courses and professors each quarter, and an equally impressive breadth and depth of ripe resources. And, also, because of the size of the University, the quality of classes and the teaching styles of professors range widely. Some teachers boast of rave student reviews, and others stay too preoccupied with research, tenure, or recognition to show passion in the classroom. Because so many professors call UW home, it's impossible to predict how impressed or disappointed a student will be in his or her classes and with his or her teachers.
And because so many students call UW home, professors don't usually cater to stragglers-most often, a student sinking in an intro-level class won't get help unless he or she asks. Intro-level classes are the universal initial hurdles of the race. Some find the academic isolation kind of cozy, a veritable security blanket from the ever-looming threat of participation, while others feel lost at sea in the vastness of the lecture hall. However, class size shrinks with time, and eventually, upperclassmen-level courses recall the intimacy of high school. In addition, attending a large research University has perks for independently motivated students. Super-sized academia doesn't have to intimidate-plenty of UW kids ask questions, go to office hours, and make friends with professors. A motivated, proactive learner can always find his or her own niche in which to flourish.