As incoming first-year students make their way to campus (or sit tight and log in from the comfort of home), I wanted to shed some light on different students’ experiences. To kick off our senior summer send-off series, I connected with Josh, who is heading to Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan, a large state research university that is part of the Big Ten. Josh provides us with some great insight about the reasons he chose Michigan State, how he’s connected with other incoming students, and more.
In light of COVID this fall, what will the structure at Michigan State look like?*
Josh shared that this is a bit of a moving target, and the University’s classes will be a mix of about 50% online, 25% in-person, and 25% hybrid. “All of my classes will be held online, so I’m waiting to find out whether there will be facilitated meetups and study sessions, or if I’ll schedule these on my own with some friends.”
What will you be majoring in?
Josh plans to major in Hospitality Business, and will be taking all of his prerequisites for the program this year. “I was admitted to the Broad College of Business for my freshman year, and then I’ll apply to the School of Hospitality Business, within Broad, this spring for admission in Fall 2021.”
What are you most excited for?
“When I was accepted to Michigan State in the fall, it had been my top school. I had been really excited to take classes [in my area of interest], go to football games, join clubs, and maybe rush a fraternity. Now, that has shifted a lot. I’m excited to meet some friends and live away from home and hope to have a productive after-school environment.”
What are you most nervous about?
“Because of COVID, it’s a little frustrating to hear people saying that they don’t feel it will be a successful semester, but I’d like to think that we’ll find a way to make it through! A lot of my classes are asynchronous, so I’ll have to really budget my own time, which may be one of the bigger challenges.”
Have you connected with your roommate or other students on campus?
“Yeah! I met my roommate through Facebook, and it turned out we had some mutual friends through camp. We’ve talked a bunch and we requested to live together. I went to visit him in Buffalo earlier this summer, where we hung out and visited Niagara Falls during the trip.”
Are there any offices on campus that you’ve connected with, such as Residence Life, Student Activities, or Disability Services?
“I received academic accommodations in high school, so I connected with Disability Services after I was accepted. I’ve already set up a “Student VISA” [Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations document], which is their version of an IEP, and I met with them to hear what my accommodations will look like once I’m there.
“There are also different social media accounts for living on campus and ‘Eat at State,’ which have been really informative. I also filled out a Google Doc to keep updated on info from the IFC [Inter-Fraternity Council, the governing body for fraternities on campus], so I’m getting updates on that as the semester gets closer.”
Why did you choose Michigan State?
“I chose to go to Michigan State for their hospitality business program, which is the #1 public hospitality business program in the country. When I visited, I loved the campus atmosphere, and I could see myself on campus. My uncle went to Michigan State, so there was a family tie there. I also wanted a big school, and everything that came with a Big Ten school.”
What advice would you give to students going through the application process now?
“I’d say that it’s important to find a school that you want to go to and not to compare it to where other people are going. I had some people question my choices [throughout the application process], and I decided that this is the best school for me. Your college list should be your list for your reasons, and those reasons aren’t all going to be academic.
“I have friends who chose a school only because of the academic side of things, but I think of it as four years to grow as a person and take advantage of everything the college has to offer.
“Also, be patient with the amount of schools you apply to. You don’t need to apply to 25 or even 10 schools. If you can, on your first go-round [during the early action and rolling admission process], send 3-5 applications in, and be ok with waiting for a bit. It might not be worth all of the mental energy and stress to work on all of the different essays and applications [for other schools].”
How did you use the extra time you had over the last five months to reach out to people at Michigan State or make friends before you got to campus?
“I’ve connected with a lot of people through the Michigan State Facebook page and Snapchat and WhatsApp groups. Then I used these groups to find people I mesh with and now I have a bunch of friends starting with me.”
*This interview was conducted prior to Michigan State’s announcement that they will be remote for Fall 2020. Josh is now working through next steps in his decision process.
Thanks so much, Josh, for sharing your perspective with us and starting the Senior Summer Send-off! Do you have questions about the college application process and finding the best schools for you or your student? Send an email to danaroseroth at gmail dot com to set up a consultation!