By Lisa Schmidt LPC, NCC, College Planning Counselor at Parros College Planning LLC.

Living and working just an hour from East Lansing, we felt pretty confident that we understood what Michigan State University had to offer to our students. However, on our recent campus tour, with a group of Independent Educational Consultants, we discovered there was still much more to learn about the large state university in our backyard.

The facilities were top-notch, but the brand new STEM building blew us away. MSU transformed a 70-year-old power plant into a “student-ready maker and collaboration space. Old silos are now conference rooms, and a 1946 limestone entrance welcomes students. Original steam boilers and mechanical hardware are art installations.” The cool urban design includes high-tech classrooms, a dining area, and cozy study spots containing the latest technology needed to complete group projects and coursework.

A short walk from here is the brand new music building. It is a beautiful spot for students to attend class and work on their musical skills. All of the MSU bands and orchestras have competitive auditions to gain entry, but all students, no matter their major or skill level, have the opportunity to try out. Also, the community music school offers lessons for a small fee to non-music majors.

Another highlight was getting to understand the Residential Colleges better. We feel these smaller communities within the large university may be the perfect fit for many students. “The residential colleges at MSU offer the best of both worlds: the finest qualities of small liberal arts colleges combined with the energy and resources of a large research university. Three living-learning communities unite students with similar interests in designated residence halls on the campus. This assists in creating distinctive educational atmospheres. They are:

  • James Madison is where students share a common goal of addressing and examining the major political, legal, social, and economic issues affecting our world.
  • Lyman Briggs empowers students to change the world by understanding science and math in society.
  • Residential College in the Arts and Humanities is for students passionate about the arts, humanities, and community engagement.

The majority of the consultants we traveled with were not Michigan residents, and they were not disappointed by their first trip to MSU. Here is some of what they had to say:

“This was my first visit and tour of Michigan State University. I was impressed with the beauty of the campus, the sincerity and energy of the staff members we had the pleasure of meeting throughout the day, and the consistent message that was shared at every department/college we visited of a desire to help every student find their place and be successful at MSU.”

“After years of suggesting MSU as an option to my students, I am so much better informed on the fantastic offerings. I have a much better understanding of the residential college system (James Madison, Lyman Briggs, and ARCAH), which is very appealing to many of my students.”

“I especially enjoyed eating at Thrive, an allergen-free dining hall. Thrive is committed to being sesame-conscious and free of the Big 8 allergens (milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish) plus gluten. Another dining highlight was the unlimited swipes so students with meal plans can eat anywhere on campus as often as possible. A snack can be picked up at one hall and then a meal at another.”

In regards to major areas of study, most students list their intended major on the application but are not admitted to the specific program until after they complete their first year of college. For example:

  • Engineering – students interested in engineering take 28 prerequisite credits the first year and are automatically admitted to engineering if they have over a 3.0 GPA.
  • Business – students interested in business must apply after taking 28 credits. Admission is competitive. A select few students will be accepted directly to the Broad School of Business from high school.
  • Nursing – is a VERY competitive program, only admitting about 100 students each year through the application process after students take the required 28 prerequisite credits. A 3.9 GPA is generally needed to be competitive.

After the tour, we were all very excited to look at our client list and match some of our students with MSU. We appreciated the red carpet that the admissions team at MSU rolled out to us, and we had a fantastic tour! Please reach out to us to schedule your complimentary consultation so that we can help you in the college application process!

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