Jordan Green supports small colleges
College. It’s a tough decision to make. When you’re a high school senior, you have to ask yourself some hard questions about it. Am I going to “fit in?” Will my professors care about me? Will I do well?
Am I choosing the right school for myself?
None of those questions have easy answers. I would know. As a college freshman myself, I can attest to this. Sadly, no one can make this decision for you. But for those of you who are getting ready to head off to college, I’ve got some advice. (Parents, grandparents, friends, and teachers: Take note!)
When I was a senior just one year ago, I was absolutely sure I wanted to go to a large school somewhere far, far away from Oklahoma. I applied to several schools out-of-state, though I did apply to a few here in Oklahoma.
Throughout the application process, I learned a lot about the schools I had applied to – and I learned a lot about myself. The first lesson I learned: College isn’t cheap. I applied to one particular out-of-state school that would have cost me $45,000 a year to attend. Multiply that by four, and you’ve got a pretty significant amount of debt – and that’s just for a bachelor’s degree.
I knew I didn’t want to take on debt to go to school. Debt is never your friend, and if you can, you should avoid it at all costs. Monster-sized debt turned me away from attending a monster-sized college.
But when it came down to it, money wasn’t the main factor for me. Ultimately, I wanted to go to a school where I could get to know my professors. Where I could make connections to the people around me. Where I could quickly find leadership opportunities. And where I could make a difference.
I didn’t find those things at those large colleges. Luckily, a small school here in my home state reached out to me: Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
When I came to the little town of Alva, I felt at home. The first thing I noticed when I got to town was that the people here are friendly. They’ll greet you as you walk into the grocery store, and they’re always happy to lend a helping hand. I might add that they relentlessly support the university. Since 1991, Alva citizens have donated nearly $12 million to the institution. Now that’s giving.
Much like the people of Alva, the professors here at NWOSU are generous in giving their time and undivided attention to students. Northwestern has small class sizes, so a kid like me is able to ask questions without having to yell over the roar of a massive lecture hall. That’s comforting. And whenever I need help, I can stop by my professor’s office and ask for it. They even know me by my first name. For those of you who’ve been through college before: Can you say the same about your professors?
Developing a relationship with the people you’re learning from is important – just as important as it is to find a good support group. Such groups are made up of friends, family members, study partners, and classmates. The students here understand the importance of making strong, long-lasting friendships. So, even if you had a hard time making friends in high school, you’re bound to find people you love here.
The best part? The school offers a great education at a great price. Northwestern offers several award-winning degree programs, and it has some of the lowest tuition rates around. They also offer more scholarships than just about anybody. What could be better?
I know I’ve pumped up my school quite a bit in this column, but I’m not here to make a sales pitch for it. My message is this: All small colleges are just as good – if not better – than some of those “big” schools. Sure, larger universities have their perks. But there are lots of things that only a small, close-knit college like NWOSU can offer. Don’t believe me? Come check it out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
Seniors, you might not believe it, but your last year of high school is almost halfway over. Those tough college choices are about to demand a decision. So, what’s my advice? When you’re making those decisions, don’t just look at large universities. Look at the smaller colleges that offer great scholarships, high-quality education, and caring people whom you can befriend. That’s what college is all about.
It’s my hope that all college-bound students will make the choice that’s right for them. For some, that will be a large university. But for people like me, it was a smaller college. No matter where you go, find a place that values you as a person. Find a place where you can develop lifelong friendships. Find a place where you can learn what you need to in order to get where you want to go in life.
For me, that place was a small college: Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
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