For those who don't know, Radford University is a medium-sized school located in Virginia about a half hour drive from Virginia Tech. For incoming freshmen, the middle 50 percent range GPA is a 2.87-3.48 and the middle 50% range SAT score is a 910-1060 (only including critical reading and math). Because Radford is less selective, many people perceive it's quality of education to be just above that of a community college. This perception couldn't be less accurate.
As a senior in high school, I graduated with honors. My GPA was a 3.7 and my SAT scores were a 1150 (only including critical reading and math). I was taking all AP and honors courses, my extracurriculars were above average, and I had stellar letters of recommendation. All of this together should've been enough to secure my admission to many of the public universities in Virginia, however, I was only accepted to Radford University. Frantically, I began calling admissions officers at the schools that had rejected me, pleading for them to take another look at my application. I was told over and over that because of the competitive pool of applicants, I had been thrown out thanks to a D I had received in Trigonometry. It was one D in an ocean of As and Bs. I tried to explain that math had always been a struggle for me and that I was applying as an English major so it really shouldn't matter, but no one would budge. The fact that one grade had such an impact on my college options absolutely crushed me. In the end, I accepted my admission to Radford.
SEE ALSO: 10 Things I Have Learned So Far As A Freshman At Radford
Reading my story, the average person wouldn't consider me to be "unintelligent." However, upon announcing my decision to attend Radford come the fall of 2013, my classmates and friends began to make fun of me and my future school. People with practically the same stats as me joked that I was going to "Virginia Tech's special ed department" and I didn't find the jokes funny. All through high school I had been looking forward to college and suddenly I was dreading it as well as doubting my own intelligence.
Since coming to Radford, I've realized how incredibly wrong everyone who speaks ill of the school is. They say the students are stupid. I'm not stupid and most of the people I know are hard working individuals who could transfer to another school but love the small class sizes and beautiful campus. Yes, there are some students who seem to fall below in the intelligence category, but most of them are weeded out freshmen year because they can't keep up with the challenging coursework. At my freshman orientation, the Dean of Admissions told us that Radford was less selective because sometimes high school students screw up, but that doesn't mean that they aren't smart or capable of succeeding in college. Because of that belief, Radford decided to be the one public school in Virginia that wouldn't turn a student away because of a D in Trigonometry. It isn't low standards that sets Radford apart, it's high hopes for a student's future.
People say that we're getting a far worse education than those going to Virginia Tech, but a lot of our professors actually teach at both Radford and Tech due to the close proximity. I've also had professors who are Tech grads and decided they were happier teaching at Radford full time. Considering our class sizes are much smaller than Tech's, we actually get more one-on-one time time with these fantastic professors so if anything, we're probably receiving a better education than Tech students.
People say no one will hire us after graduation because Radford is nothing but "a party school." Most students I know graduate with full time positions already on the table. Maybe being a Virginia Tech grad means something to an alumni hiring for a position in Virginia, but outside the state, companies don't care where you went to undergrad. They care about your knowledge and experience in the field and thanks to its size, Radford students end up with a lot of in-depth knowledge and terrific opportunities that just wouldn't be possible to provide at a larger school.
Fun fact-- every college is a party school. I'm so completely sick of hearing that Radford is a party school. Yes, there are parties. But guess who else throws parties? James Madison and Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia and EVERY OTHER COLLEGE IN AMERICA.
Currently, I am back home in Richmond, VA for the summer and in the one week that I've been back I've already heard and seen people on social media mocking Radford. It's so ridiculous that anyone thinks that they're above an accredited university. A degree is a degree and unless you attend an Ivy League school (and NO Virginia Tech does not count) then your degree is worth exactly the same as mine.
This article is not to put down any other public schools in Virginia. I used Virginia Tech as an example because Radford students tend to be pitted against Tech students a lot which is really unfair. As I said earlier, it's common for people to refer to my school as Tech's "special ed department" -- a cruel way to allude to students who just want to excel in their fields and obtain a degree.
We're all attending a university to better ourselves and prepare us for life. We all go to class, we all put in serious hours in the library, we all go through the horrors of finals, we all let loose with our friends on the weekends, and we all have the same long term goal. So next time you look down on someone from Radford University, know that one day they could be going up against you for the same job or even end up as your boss and when that happens, no one is going to care where you spent your undergrad.
SEE ALSO: Radford's Nursing Program Changed My Life