The one joke I've heard made about Ball State students of pretty much every conceivable social stripe -- by BSU students themselves and others -- is that we're slackers. (A realistic response to that statement by a BSU student would be, "Uh, of course we're slackers; why do you think we go to Ball State?") Even our most famous alumnus, David Letterman, is well-known for his 2.0 GPA and plaque in the telecommunications building dedicated to C students everywhere. It's a jab made at ourselves usually with aware, self-deprecating humor and, given the right context, a toast made with fifty-cent cans of Natty Ice or Boxer, depending on whether you're a fraternity brah/sorority girl or hipster kid. Some of that attitude comes from living in Muncie, Indiana. I mean, it's Muncie -- sure, there are way worse places to live, but Muncie is no vibrant college town. It's a fairly small, economically struggling Midwestern city in a dull landscape where winters seem like they'll last for a soul-numbing eternity. (This, by the way, does not mean Muncie hasn't been a good place to live the past four-ish years; honestly, it's been one of the best things to ever happen to me, but for reasons not relevant to answering this question.) That is the setting for BSU students' collegiate glory days. So regarding accuracy, I don't really think slacker-ishness is any more prevalent here than anywhere else, regardless of what jokes we (or Letterman) crack; I've met tons of self-starting and ferociously intelligent people at Ball State. I think more likely is that the self-deprecating humor of labeling ourselves slackers lets us acknowledge the context in which our college lives are taking place in a way that makes our situation funny and endearing. We can identify with and grow fond of a place that's associated, regardless of accuracy, for having low standards by saying we have low standards for ourselves -- and doing so in a way that makes our friends laugh.
I feel that there might be a few stereotypes here, but if they are applied, it's most likely because a student desires that stereotype. The cultural diversity here is decently rich. We have many people who come from different countries, but of the students who are not from overseas, the majority of students' home towns are in Indiana or from Chicago, IL. When first coming to Ball State, I thought that there was a definite stereotype for people in Greek life, but my opinion since then has completely changed. There will always be alcoholics and constant partiers, but as far as my knowledge goes, there is no solid group made up of just those people. Overall, I feel that Ball State is great about letting students be who they want to be.
Students at Ball State have a reputation for being immersed in alcohol, rather than learning. When many think of Ball State University students, their minds instantly jump to images of wild parties, crowded bars, and drunk students stumbling all over the place. In reality, this is not what ALL Ball State students are doing. A small portion of the student body engages in regular alcoholic activity, while a larger portion can be found participating in one of the university's student groups or clubs. The media coverage tends to center around the negative aspects of Ball State University students and therefore tends to allow outsiders to view the students only in that sense because that is the only view they are given.
If you're looking to be judged or accepted by the 'Midwest Hipster' Ball State University is your college of choice. The university's creative/artistic scene may be recognized, but not fully understood or appreciated. This artistic scene has caused numerous hipsters, young people who are thinking progressively and have a love of all things art and wit, to flock to Muncie, or rather transform once they arrive. If you're thinking of attending BSU be sure to cut your hair in an androgynous way, buy tickets to the latest underground show, and ignore the culturally-sheltered mainstream. If you follow this pathway vaguely, there's no doubt your college experience will be a fun and life changing one!
Several years ago, Ball State used to be a major party school, and I think the outside conception of Ball State students from some prospective students might be that we view college as a social more than an educational experience. The reality is that Ball State is very focused on academics, increasingly selective with its acceptance process, and quickly becoming state and nationally recognized for its great academic programs, like our award-winning architecture and nursing programs, among others. I feel like Ball State has a great balance of social and educational opportunities that allows students to both enjoy and benefit from their college experience.
Several people think that Ball State is a party school; therefore, it is full of "crazy party people." However, almost every university has parties and Ball State isn't as high on the totem pole as people think it is. Yes, there are parties at Ball State, but there aren't "more" and they aren't any different than parties occurring at other schools. I think that there is about an equal amount of different types of students that attend Ball State (jocks, nerds, Greeks, punks, etc.) You are bound to fit in somewhere because it's so diverse here. I love it!
We're known as a party school. I'm not sure if this is true, but I do know this; it's easy to stay out of the party scene, if you want, or to get into it. I don't go to parties; I know people who go every weekend. There are frats and sororities, some of which house their members inside the residence halls, so I'm assuming they don't drink as often, though I know that many do. There are also conservative activities every Friday and Saturday night, through the university, as alternatives to parties, which many people attend.
The school can often be associated with being the "backup" school, meaning the school people do not hope to attend but eventually settle for. As a result of this, the students here are stereotyped by those from other schools as being less intelligent or less driven. However, this could only be further from the truth. I have seen motivation in students that most people could only dream of as well as a level of intelligence to the point that one can already tell many of the students here will make a difference int the world.
Before I attended Ball State, the only stereotype that I heard about was that the school was a party school. A walk on a friday night will prove that many students do, in fact, drink, and I have heard students talk about parties that they attended over the weekend. Even so, I've met many people who do not drink and it is very easy to find people who do other activities over the weekend. I believe that our reputation as 'partyers' is an exaggeration, having about the same amount of parties as other schools.
Being in the Architecture Program there is absolutely a stereo type, and i see it first hand. Being in the program people automatically assume you spend all your time working in studio, but actually we do work a lot but its something we want to do so its not hard work to an architecture student. We have just as much fun as anyone else! In general i don't think Ball State students have a general stereo type because there are so many different forms of studying and it all seems to collaborate nicely.