13 Perks To Attending A Small University

13 Perks To Attending A Small University

Woke up fifteen minutes before class starts? No problem.
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Let's admit it, the college search is a long and tedious struggle. Trying to find the best school for you can require thinking about a lot of factors: teacher ratings, dining hall quality, dorm room quality, athletics, student/teacher ratio, and so much more. Often during a college search, size does matter. When the word college comes to mind, the stereotype turns to a huge campus, fraternity parties galore, tailgating, college football games, and lecture halls that can fit over a hundred students.

But what about those smaller, less recognized universities? Often, they are simply overlooked just based on their size. However, over the past year of attending a small town university on the prairie, I find that there are many overlooked benefits that cannot be found on a big college campus.

1. Dining hall lines are unbelievably short


Even when it's the big lunch rush, it never feels like you're waiting in line for hours.

2. Walking distance from your dorm to where-ever

Small college campuses allow you to get up fifteen minutes before your class on the other side of campus and still have time to get ready and make it on time. Definitely comes in handy for people who are not early birds.

3. Smaller classrooms = Closer connections

No need to feel claustrophobic in those huge, crowded lecture halls. Small classes in smaller classrooms give the class a more connected feel with their professor during class as well as their fellow students. This make a difference when talking to your professor about concerns regarding your classes. Less students = more opportunities to get help from your professor.

4. Involvement within the community

There are numerous ways to get involved on a small town campus with the outside community: volunteering at the animal shelter, going to church in town, attending town council meetings, town library book clubs, bingo night; the list is endless!

5. Nature is everywhere, and she's beautiful

When living in a small town in the middle of no-where on the prairie, biking and nature trails are the best way to get away from campus life for a while. It gives you a break to clear your mind from the hectic life of classes and homework while also getting you some fresh air.

6. Everything big community wise happens on-campus

Small towns don't have concert arenas or professional football teams to watch, but the university does. All major events that happen in the town happen on campus and usually students get a discount. Talk about a win for the home team!

7. Hang out spots, diners, coffee shops and restaurants - you know them all!

You know every nook and cranny of your university town as well as the go-to places? Need the lowest gas prices in town? Go to the gas station on Main Street. Need a good cup of coffee and place to do your homework? The coffee shop on the corner by the dollar store has a great Americano along with comfy chairs next to a fireplace. And forget about those chain restaurants, local eat-out spots are one of a kind! A homemade hamburger, fries and chocolate milkshake from a local diner always beats out McDonald's when it comes to that homey feel.

8. Easy and cheap transportation


When living in a small town, you don't have to drive fifteen minutes to go to the grocery store or to your favorite restaurant. Everything is either walking, biking, public commuting or short drive distance away - definitely a money saver on gas.

9. Internship and scholarly research

Can I bring up those professor relationships again? Professors really look for those bonds with their students. Those bonds can later turn into opportunities to work with that professor on internships or scholarly research, which looks really good on your resume.

10. Familiar faces

There comes a point in the semester where you are able to recognize every face you pass by. Whether you've seen them in class, at a club meeting, in a performance or just walking around campus, you feel like you've seen them at least once. Just knowing this makes you feel like you're part of a community.

11. Better chance of getting into college athletics, clubs, or organizations

Although small universities don't have the money to have huge athletic programs or scholarships like many Division I schools, it does provide students interested in sports the chance to participate. Smaller universities are more fluid on who is involved in extracurricular and give every student a chance no matter their experience level!

12. Making it personal with your major

Larger universities are often strict on criteria and classes needed to fulfill a major. Same goes for small universities, but some small universities give students the option to customize their major if they'd like (with the approval of the academic board), giving them a more hands-on control of their major.

13. You become more than just a number


To small universities, it's the person that lies behind the GPA that matters. Their mission is to to connect with each and every one of their students on a personal level in order to help them succeed. College is certainly the time to become your own person, and having a university that recognizes you individuality truly helps you along on your journey through college and beyond.

Cover Image Credit: University of Minnesota Morris News

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7 Truths About Being A Science Major

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Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

This is especially true when it’s on a Tuesday night and you’ve already consumed a gallon of Starbucks trying to learn everything possible before your . Or maybe this is more prevalent when you have only made it through about half of the BioChem chapter and you have to leave for your three hour lab before your exam this afternoon. Regardless, you constantly wonder if all the stress is actually worth it, but somehow always decide that it is.

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I Had School Choice, And It Better Prepared Me For College

Not all students can excel in the traditional brick-and-mortar school setting.

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As the years progress and people grow tired of traditional public education, more and more options of schooling are opening up: charter schools, virtual schools, magnet schools, Montessori schools—the list goes on. Some people see this as detrimental to traditional public education and claim that charter schools and such are taking money away from public schools, but these schools are not doing that. In fact, charter schools are public schools, and they most times receive less funding due to costs such as food, transportation, and the costs of running a traditional school building are eliminated. With these areas cut, charter schools are able to pay their teachers more generously and have higher per-pupil funding, which is increasing with their rapid enrollment. Oklahoma-based Epic Charter Schools, the virtual, one-to-one charter school I attended, is first in teacher pay and fourteenth in enrollment statewide. Having the option to go from a traditional school setting to something as innovative as Epic Charter Schools benefited me, and my graduating class of over 1000, tremendously and prepared me for college better than any brick-and-mortar school could have.

Throughout my schooling, I always went to public school. School was my absolute favorite thing. I'm the kind of person who gets extremely excited to buy school supplies and choose my classes. In elementary, I became a part of the gifted and talented program, and I never found school particularly challenging. This didn't bother me when I was younger because it seemed like there was always something to do after classwork was finished, such as coloring sheets, reading, etc. But when I got into middle school, this changed and I stopped liking school as a whole. When I would finish my work in class, there would be nothing to do and it was always too loud to read, so I was at a loss. Because of the lack of challenge for me, when I knew there would be nothing for me to do in class, or it was just going to be a day where we watched a movie, I wouldn't go to school. I did this so often that in middle school I actually failed classes that I had As in because of my attendance. The fact that I failed classes because of my absences didn't surprise me as much as the fact that I could keep As in said classes while missing so many days that they decided to fail me.

My freshman year went about the same as my middle school years—I was still missing a lot of class, and I started putting less and less effort into my work because I just didn't like school anymore. Finally, in my sophomore year after I started driving, I quit going to school altogether. I had heard of Epic Charter Schools, and I took it into my own hands to get enrolled and withdraw from my brick-and-mortar. My family wasn't too supportive of this, but I pushed for it hard enough that they finally came around.

The first semester of Epic was rough, to say the least. It was the first time in a long time that my work was challenging, and whoever says a virtual school is easy, you're completely wrong. The difficulty of virtual school doesn't even come from the subject matter; it comes from the accountability. I had a teacher, but she wasn't at my house every day telling me to do my work, so I put it off for weeks at a time. After some time, I finally found a schedule and the following semesters' virtual classes were a breeze because my time management skills had developed so much.

When my junior year came around, I was excited to start concurrent enrollment at a local community college. Through Epic, I was allowed to take as many college courses as I wanted as long as I was taking at least one class through Epic. At a typical public school, students are only allowed to take two per semester; I was taking four, sometimes five college classes while still in high school, and they were actually challenging me.I'm sure most people think that sounds expensive, but it really wasn't. In the state of Oklahoma, high school students receive a waiver for six credit hours' tuition for no cost, only fees are paid. For me, through Epic I received an additional eight-hundred dollars in a learning fund, which I applied to my tuition. I also received a tribal scholarship for my concurrent courses in exchange for completing community service hours.

Through Epic, I was able to complete 52 hours of college credit completely debt-free WHILE STILL ENROLLED IN HIGH SCHOOL! The summer after I graduated, I completed my Associate's degree at Tulsa Community College (61 credit hours), which all transferred to my current school, the University of Oklahoma where I am studying Language Arts Education to become a teacher (if you're reading this, Epic administrators, call me in 2020 when I'm certified).

Not only am I graduating college two years early, but I am also saving my future self at least 50 thousand dollars of debt.

Most importantly, though, through Epic, I regained my love for learning.

Epic high school students and traditional students alike: please take advantage of the opportunities presented to you whether it be concurrent enrollment or vocational school. After high school, you will be so glad to have some college experience before going to a four-year university or to have a certificate to move into the workforce.

As the Epic's motto says: school CAN be different.


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