Can you imagine going to the flagship university in your state with all the abundant resources that come along with that privilege and your roommate most likely would not be from your state? What would that look like? What unintended consequences would come from this?
This #academictourist recently visited another big state university. West Virginia University is located a comfortable three and half hour drive from Washington, DC. in Morgantown, WV. It is located just north of the Dorsey Knob mountain summit. Morgantown is a small community of 29,600 residents. It is famous for the electrically powered mini buses that run throughout the city. It owns the only personal rapid transit (think subway train in the sky) system of its kind that is used commercially. Though WVU is encompassed within the city of Morgantown, it is dispersed over three separate campuses. The rapid transit system allows for students to easily get to any campus location.
All who attend receive a quality from WVU. Famous alum include Stephen Coonts, NY Times bestselling author, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems Inc., Jon McBride, former NASA astronaut and the NBA logo himself Hall of Famer Jerry West. The most popular major on campus are Business Administration, Management and Operations, Engineering, General Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences.
“My experiences at WVU have allowed me to grow into the professional young adult I am today,” says 2011 graduate Sydney Morris, “Growing up in this fast pace (Northern Virginia), affluential area, I needed to be taken out of my comfort zone and dropped in a place that would shake my world up a bit. That was Morgantown.” Morris says that she was removed from her comfort zone but found a new home at WVU. “The school, the town, and the students embrace each and EVERY student with open arms because we all share one similar tie. You look around, and everyone looks different, but somehow we all look the same. The school spirit goes without notice. You somehow become family with strangers, simply because you are a West Virginia Mountaineer. The town is a Gold and Blue, Mountaineer college town, it's easy to forget you are in rural West Virginia. But when you look around you're surrounded by gorgeous hills and more trees than you'll ever see in Northern Virginia, you truly feel like it is almost heaven.” Fifty percent of the students who attend WVU come from out of state. Some state schools across the country have a non-resident cap. This is not the case for WVU. Tuition and fees run about $6,090 for state residents. Out of state students are charged $18,868. In state tuition at University of Virginia ($11,794) and University of North Carolina ($8,340) may make this campus a great option for many. Forbes magazine has ranked WVU as number 30 in their top 100 list of best buy colleges.
“I never heard of that school [West Virginia University] before my son got into it,” says Katrina Jones mother of 2006 WVU graduate. According to Ms. Jones she could have not asked for a better situation in sending her son away to a college. “WVU has an awesome parent network. They have so many ways to keep a parent connected to the university. They anticipate ways of assisting parents,” Ms. Jones added that they even provided a bus from Morgantown to Northern Virginia for students to get back home. “WVU is a very big school and they made it very manageable for a parent.” “The only negative thing I can say about the university is you better not think you are going to get tickets to a home football game. It is like trying to go to a Redskins game. You cannot just show up and think you are going to get in.”
As an #academictourist, I vist quite a few colleges every year. I was shocked by the lack of students wearing Dr. Dre headphones or having white ears bud connected to an electronic device. I saw extreme focus when student were headed to academic buildings. It seemed as if everyone was equal and accepted for being who they were.
“Look at the flag of the state of West Virginia. Sic sempre tyrannus. It means Mountaineers are always free,” says Robert Lowe from the class of 1972. “Separated from Virginia during the issue of slavery when West Virginia went with the north, West Virginia's land and people cry out freedom.”
This #academictourist believes that WVU would be a good fit for anyone looking for a change and a academic challenge. Learn more about WVU by visiting http://admissions.wvu.edu/admissions.
Mark Ausbrooks is the Academic Tourist. He occasionally blogs about colleges and universities that he encounters.