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Visits to Truman State University and St. Louis University

Michelle in MO

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Hi all!


I've been meaning to write this for ages, but perhaps it was best that I wait until today.


Like many others, we have started looking around for colleges. So far we have made two campus visits: one to Truman State University in Kirksville, MO (northern Missouri), and one to St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO.


Our impressions so far:




The drive to Truman from our house was long---5 hours. However, we really enjoyed the campus tour. This was not one of their official "Truman Showcase" weekends which garnered lots of visitors, but an appointment we made over spring break, just before Easter. We met at the Visitors' Center and then were able to meet with an admissions officer for one hour---by ourselves. That time was invaluable. This admissions officer gave us loads of information about Truman. I'll try to jot down the positives here:


- Average ACT scores of incoming freshmen: 25-30; 1/3 of the incoming freshmen have ACT scores of 31 or higher; i.e., "Bright Flight" scholarship material in Missouri.


- Student body of approximately 6,000; a medium-sized institution. Enough to be able to diversify quite a bit without the size being overwhelming.


- Clean, well-organized campus. Beautiful research library. Decent dormitories, branching out into those residential dorms which are becoming more and more common.


- Good campus safety; dorms are secured and locked at night. Also saw many poles around the campus with a large blue button on them; if a student is in trouble or being pursued, they can run to these poles and push the button, which will light up and (I think) send a signal to campus police.


- The admissions officer told us that the campus focuses more on making itself an excellent undergraduate school, but has also branched out into other departments.


- The college also had many, many foreign languages, which impressed me greatly: German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Latin, and Greek, to name a few off the top of my head.


- The campus tour was led by a student in the service fraternity. We went as an individual family, not as a group. We were led through one of the dorms and through many of the main buildings on campus.


- The admissions officer also explained that each incoming freshman was assigned a guidance counselor who would help them map out their program for the first two years. After the student declared a major, they would be assigned an advisor in the department of their major. I did not get a chance to ask if SLU did something similar, but I would imagine that they do.


- The choir director at Truman is Dr. Mark Jennings, who is the son of the former director of the St. Olaf Choir, Dr. Kenneth Jennings. That alone is enough to be a great recommendation for the choir!



St. Louis University:


- Average ACT scores of incoming freshmen: closer to 24.5 to 29/30


- Undergraduate student body of approximately 7,500; closer to 12,000 or so including graduate students


- Nice campus; freshmen dorms OK but not quite as nice as those at Truman State University


- The tour was not as helpful; we didn't go inside very many of the buildings, and the tour was conducted in a group rather than as individual families. However, the setup of the entire day was completely different than Truman: this was the Junior College Visit Day, as opposed to just a scheduled visit on campus, which might be more individualized.


- Very close to some key places in St. Louis, such as the Fox Theater, Powell Symphony Hall, and other attractions.


- Security decent; each incoming freshman is given a whistle and expected to use it only in case of an emergency. I did see some of those "poles", but not quite as many.


- Many more graduate opportunities at SLU, but I didn't get the impression that academically it was any better than Truman for undergraduates.


- I'm not sure how strong their foreign language departments were, but they did have a residence in which students could live and speak only that language; I believe the options were French, Spanish, German, and Italian.


Overall, both visits have been great and have been instructive for me, as a parent new to all of this. It helps to have someone clue you in on what questions you should ask!


Although the campus visits were organized differently: the one at SLU in a very large group, and the one at Truman in a much smaller group---and I recognize this----I would still have to give the nod to Truman at this point, at least for our particular family. Still, we have more schools to visit, and it's really not my decision---ultimately it's up to our daughter!

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When at a college fair, gee it was 5 years ago, the rep from Truman was very nice. They are homeschool friendly too. It sounded like a great place.


Too bad you weren't planning to visit SLU this weekend. I am going to a St. Louis Symphony concert at Powell Hall on Sunday. Maybe one of these days we will get to meet.



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I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a wet blanket, and I also realize you were much more in favor of the Truman visit anyway....but St Louis, a WHISTLE?!!! I'm sorry that just isn't a warm fuzzy for me regarding campus security. I only have son, so my fears and worries are no where near as profound as the mom of a dd, but a WHISTLE? Maybe I'm being stupid or an alarmist or out of line, but that would frankly send me running in the other direction...and my kid is going to go to school in the city. I just can't believe a university would tell parents that their security for the incoming class includes the distribution of a whistle....sheesh. :confused:


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