I went on my first ever college campus tour at Michigan State. Located in East Lansing, it was established as an agricultural college in 1855. The neighborhood around MSU was like a little community. Students had easy access to restaurants with any cuisine to appease one’s taste, and supply stores.
MSU is a large campus, with almost 50,000 students. Most students I saw either biked or walked around, and not many spaces for cars were available. The architecture of the buildings had a mix of old and modern. The campus seemed to remodel often, while keeping old architecture intact.
My tour started in MSU Union Building, the central meeting place for students. The building includes an ice cream shop (perfect for any hot day), food court, and even a bank. From an information session there, I learned that MSU highly emphasizes student academic research. MSU has three residential colleges: James Madison College (for politics), Lyman Briggs College (for the sciences), and Residential College in Arts and Humanities.
MSU also offers study abroad programs. One of them is especially for incoming freshman, called “Freshman Seminars Abroad”, and it is held over the summer. Destinations included Spain and New Zealand. MSU also boasts a wide variety of campus food, cafeteria style, and offers dining plans. The libraries offers different wings of study areas for students, whether they prefer an absolutely quiet area, or an area with some chatting. This is to allow any type of student to study at their own preference.
After the information session, my guide showed us around the campus. I noticed that not many students were present, as it was the middle of the summer, and the humid weather had probably driven everyone else into air-conditioned buildings. I was told that summers were humid, and winters were bitterly cold. Since I was used to Southern California weather, the weather was not a positive for me. Of course, in the college search, weather should be taken into some consideration.
During the whole tour, I learned that MSU has many interesting landmarks on campus. One includes the president’s house, Cowles House, which contains a growing tree. The Rock is another landmark. My tour guide explained that almost every day, one different club camps and stakes out at The Rock overnight, and post their messages on it with paint. According to my guide, legend has it that The Rock started out as a small pebble, but with so much painting on it, it grew into a massive rock.
Sports plays a big role on campus. MSU offers a wide variety of sports, from varsity to intramural to club sports. My guide explained that people who initially didn’t like sports ended up watching many games, especially football. The football stadium on campus holds approximately 75,000 people. The guide explained that every morning before a football game, the team members all walk to the Spartan (its mascot) statue, nicknamed “Sparty”, and leave pennies there for good luck.
The opportunities that Michigan State offers are diverse. Going on a college tour for the first time helps narrow down students’ list of expectations. Whatever they are, a student must go find out for themselves by visiting various colleges. Michigan State certainly helped me discover what I want in a college.