Q: I want to attend Texas State University – San Marcos (formerly Southwest Texas State) because they have a good drama program. However, my parents think that it’s a party school.That’s why my parents want me to go to Oral Roberts in Tulsa. Should I avoid a school just because it has a reputation as a party school? – M. Mendoza

A: Any school can be a party school. I think by party, you mean distraction. At every college campus, romantic interests, roommates, friendships, liquor, and illicit forms of recreation can tempt students away from classwork. The key to a great college experience is to enjoy yourself while staying in school and out of jail.

Don’t get caught up in the reputation of the campus; every student’s experience is different. Hopefully, these 2 examples of Prairie View A & M and the University of Oklahoma will dispel your parents’ notions of a party school.

Prairie View A & M University

To some people, enrolling at Prairie View means a great big party on the hill. On the contrary, Prairie View produces productive people. I know Prairie View alumni who earned ordinary grades in high school, yet have extraordinary careers in education, medicine, engineering, and business.

University of Oklahoma

My alma mater, University of Oklahoma, is fastened in the conservative Bible Belt. At OU, everyone follows a higher power. If students aren’t reading the Holy Bible, then they are reading the Wiccan Bible. My friend, Tucker, started at OU with me. Tucker drank from Thursday to Sunday and drifted from major to major. When we were in our 4th year of college, I was a graduating senior and he was a freshman.

Look Beyond the School’s Lit Reputation

Ultimately, you have to remember why you chose to attend college. My college education — yes, at the party school — helped me to realize that I could become more than I thought I could ever be. My college degree has enabled me to pursue meaningful work and realize financial independence.

As you visit with recruiters at college fairs this fall, look beyond a school’s Thirsty Thursdays to its student support services. Ask how a “party” school may support you beyond the classroom.

1. Academic Support
Does the school offer a writing center or subject-specific tutoring?

2. Career and Job Placement
How does the school connect students with potential employers? Does the university work with employers to place students in internships and co-ops? What percentage of its graduates get jobs?

3. Graduate School
How does the school prepare students to enter graduate, law, medical school, or other professional schools? Xavier University, a historically black university in New Orleans, boasts a tremendous reputation in producing African-American medical school students and doctors. Learn more about Xavier and its strategies in “A Prescription for More Black Doctors.”

Make someone’s day. Share this post with folks who want to learn more about the college-bound journey.

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Article by Jennifer Ledwith


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