By Nick Johnson
With many college application deadlines quickly approaching, I have heard plenty of fellow seniors voice their opinions on their college choices. Some have already decided which school they will attend next fall, while others are still pondering the various college options available to them. I include myself in that second group, as I have applied to five schools but still haven’t chosen one. Throughout my college search, I have received countless helpful opinions from many of my classmates. However, one common sentiment about the college search bothers me.
At least once a week, I hear a classmate say something along the lines of, “As long as I don’t go to school in Indiana, I’ll be happy.” While I understand the desire to experience a new and different area of the country, I’m troubled by the fact that many seniors are overlooking many excellent Indiana universities, especially public schools. I’ve heard plenty of classmates articulate their desire to attend an out-of-state school simply because they don’t want to attend IU, Purdue, Ball State or IUPUI.
By ignoring Indiana’s exceptional public universities, many students are giving up an opportunity for a low-cost, high-quality college education. IU’s Kelley School of Business was ranked 11th nationally in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report, which also ranked Purdue’s undergraduate engineering program ninth in the nation in 2009. Ball State features a nationally recognized communications department that resides in a brand new facility named for its most famous alum, David Letterman. IUPUI can also boast of national recognition, as U.S. News & World Report ranked it seventh on its list of “up and coming” schools.
Besides offering nationally ranked academic programs, Indiana’s public universities also offer tuition costs that seem like pocket change when compared with those of private schools and out-of-state public schools. In addition, these schools allocate millions of dollars in scholarship money specifically for Indiana students each year, providing a discount on the already low cost of tuition. While money should never serve as the only deciding factor in the college selection process, it must be considered, especially with the current economic climate in mind.
As a potential business major, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to spurn IU and the Kelley School of Business in favor of an out-of-state school. I will admit that I entered my senior year with the hope of going to an out-of-state school, but I have come to realize that Indiana’s public universities offer a wide range of academic opportunities and activities.
It’s difficult to imagine more than a handful of good reasons for attending an Indiana school, yet many of my classmates continue to look upon IU, Purdue and other state schools as second-tier options. The fact that a large number of this school’s graduates choose to attend these schools does not take away from their exceptional academic quality and economic value. As the college search continues for many, Indiana’s public universities should be given equal consideration with private and out-of -state schools.