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Help students make better decisions about college while helping yourself to a $1,000 scholarship. Our College Review scholarship asks college students to share their experience so others can make better decisions about college. See our past winners and their scholarship responses below.
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Pagosa Springs, CO
I loved attending Penn State! I was actually a double major. I earned an Economics degree and a Geography degree. I chose Economics because I was good at math and I thought Economics was a marketable degree. I chose Geography because I loved to travel and I knew that I would get a scholarship as a Geography Undergraduate. I was also able to travel to Greece and Egypt with a grant for Geography Undergraduates. It was an amazing trip. There is something for everyone at Penn State. I was a Resident Assistant (RA) which helped defray the cost of housing. I loved the dining halls and residence hall experience. Campus life was a healthy and dynamic life. It was the little things that I found at Penn State that made my college experience so unique. I went to the Florida Keys for my “Physical Education” requirement as an undergraduate. I also took a yoga class offered for course credit! I think the reason I ended up with a double major was because I just loved taking classes, studying abroad, and participating in everything that Penn State had to offer. The campus is so big that I am sure my essay would be totally different than another Penn State graduate’s essay. There are so many different avenues to take and things to do, that you can really make your college experience whatever you want it to be at Penn State.
The amount of spirit and pride the Penn State community has is unmeasurable. Football games get so loud that it registers as a small earthquake. When the alma mater is played everyone links arms, friends or strangers, and sings loudly and proudly. Walking through the town of State College, you will see flags, banners, bumper stickers, and signs with the Penn State logo or slogans. The overwhelming sense of community is present anywhere you look.
Within the classroom, the sense of belonging doesn’t end. The teachers genuinely care about teaching you. They hold office hours every week, but if you cannot attend for whatever reason, they will work with you to find another time to meet. Even in the largest classes (650 people), you don’t feel distant. There are numerous teaching assistants and learning assistants walking around to make sure you understand the information.
The accessibility to resources students receive is an amazing privilege, that opens up so many opportunities that others will never have. We have a cadaver lab containing four human cadavers to learn from; we have a dairy farm to get first-hand experiences; we have a planetarium to enhance our education past a textbook picture; we have a library with over 5 million books to check out, or, you could even check out a skeleton to study.
Outside of the classroom, the opportunities are endless. With over 1,000 student organizations, ranging from sororities and fraternities to ukulele club or 3-D printing club, it’s easy to get involved and make friends.
Resident life is also commendable. Housing ranges from the traditional dorm, with two people per room and a floor bathroom, to the suite style housing with two bedrooms, a common living space, and a personal bathroom. Some dorms offer more of the ‘freshman experience’ with lots of people and activities, but others offer a more quiet and private setting. Overall, no matter your preference, there is an accommodation to suit your needs.
Dining opportunities at Penn State are plenty. The five dining halls offer a variety of food options including vegetarian, vegan, and halal options. In addition to these dining halls, there are café’s and other restaurants across campus, ensuring no student will go hungry.
Most people say they fell in love with their college, but I can guarantee you, once you go to Penn State, you will never look back. We Are, Penn State. Forever.
Sweet campus life. That is how I describe the University of Georgia. Before attending college, I had no idea what I'd do, if I'd ever make new friends, and if I'd ever find out what to with myself on such a grand campus. However, halfway through the semester, I declared my major. I did so just by attending free events, professor lead seminars, and just talking to other students. It amazed me when I found out how much opportunity there was on campus. Through word of mouth and campus emails, I joined the Honors college, joined clubs that fascinated me, and applied to my first job. Before attending college, I rarely ever volunteered. Now, I've completed a volunteer experience in Peru for six whole weeks. The type of university can surely change and shape a student, and I can gladly admit that UGA has changed me for the better. There is something enjoyable for anyone on campus, from the big Saturday football games to the movie screening in the Tate theater on the weekends. Because of UGA, I was able to interact and make new friends, even those who were studying abroad from other countries. I am grateful because now I have made friendships I know will last. Many times a semester, UGA will have themed events at the dining halls, which were one of my favorite memories from freshmen year- I would make plans with my friends who lived on campus to visit every dining hall on campus just so we could taste and experience the food and atmosphere. There are five stars, but I rated UGA with four. This is not because it lacks in anything, but because I am only a rising sophomore who has yet to see the other opportunities in clubs, organizations, and internships UGA has to offer. I absolutely love my university and cannot wait to begin my third semester in the fall.
Xavier University of Louisiana is one of the most distinctive universities in the field of education. Not only is Xavier an HBCU, but it is also the one and only Institute for Black Catholic Studies in America! The values and morals instilled in students are like none other. While this is an HBCU, Xavier makes it their duty to pertain to every culture and race enrolled and even cultures outside of the community. At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the student government association board held an event called, "All Around the World." This was a week-long event with a different ethnicity celebrated each day. Food, live music, games, and assemblies were a part of this event to educate students of the Xavier community about different races and how similar and different they are from us. Xavier also doesn't shame those that aren't Catholic. In March, Dr. Reynold Verret, the president of the university, marched with students around the neighborhood in hopes to ensure those of the Muslim religion felt safe at the school regardless of the new laws that were almost passed through Congress. Xavier never fails to educate students on culture because they know that life is more than just being around those so much like you. I appreciate all of the values, morals, and lessons learned here. I wouldn't want to thrive elsewhere!
Mount Laurel, NJ
Stockton is an up-and-coming regionally accredited university that has greatly expanded over the past few years. Formerly known as The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Stockton gained university status in 2015 offering undergraduate to doctoral degrees in a variety of fields accredited by program-specific organizations.
Stockton has a very advantageous public health department that is committed to seeing their students succeed in the world of allied health professions. I took up a concentration in environmental health where I had the opportunity to take both public health and environmental science courses. This allowed me to take classes, such as watershed hydrology, which involved on-campus research projects. Stockton's location in the New Jersey pine lands makes it an excellent school to conduct environmental research.
Social life at Stockton is varied. Some students choose to join a Greek society while others may join an academic-specific club. Academic-specific clubs can be as simple as a business society where students convene and study for upcoming exams, or you can go as far as academic housing. For example, nursing students have the opportunity to live together. This promotes unity in the program, provides a common bond among roommates, and gives students easy access to like-minded peers for tutoring. Even if you do not join any clubs, there are usually free events on campus to get students socializing with one another.
As I found in college during my senior year, the big question is: Will I get a job? The answer is yes, if you put in the effort. When it comes down to it, Stockton is what you make of it. Take advantage of career center resume review days, mock interviews, and job fairs. Utilize Stockton's online job search engine and attend career panels to speak with alumni. Don't forget to network with professors and express your career goals to everyone you meet. By being proactive with your career search, you will surely find employment after graduation.
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