As mentioned, I took The Girl to Oklahoma State University for a campus tour. While not one of her top 5 schools, it also wasn’t one of her bottom 5 schools either. We used the OSU tour as a way of dipping our toes into the world of college tours. We wanted to experience a tour with low pressure (i.e. not a school she was super high on) so that we could learn the process, find out what questions to ask, and to build a baseline for expectations.

First, let me say that Oklahoma State is a very beautiful school. I don’t know if it was just because we hit on a picture perfect day, but the building are classic brick, and the whole campus screams “college.” Foliage was in bloom, birds were singing, students milling about everywhere, it was a great day to visit.

Instead of creating a wall of text reviewing our tour of Oklahoma State, I’m going to do a Top/Bottom list. Here goes:

Top 5/Bottom 5 from Oklahoma State Tour

Top 5 Experiences at OSU

  1. As mentioned, the campus is very beautiful. Every building looked like it was well maintained. The trees and flowers were all blooming and showed that they were well taken care of. The maintenance staff has a sincere love for this campus.
  2. The dorm rooms we saw were outstanding! I was so impressed with the rooms and multitude of options. Coed dorms, women only dorms, dorms that are tied to your major, furnished, unfurnished, suites, solo room, whatever your preferred living style is, OSU has it.
  3. Campus life was extremely vibrant. There were students and faculty everywhere. It seemed like every building we walked in had cool nooks for studying, all occupied by students working hard. Study groups were tackling major problems, individuals were typing away at laptops, and conversations were focused on complex solutions to major issues. The atmosphere was electric!
  4. Food, food, and more food! When I went to college all we had was one cafeteria that served tolerable food. Apparently this has changed significantly as OSU’s dining halls had tons of different options. I saw at least one Chick-fil-a alongside tons of other places. The choices were endless. Just when you thought you’d seen everything, you walk around a corner and there are tons more places. Freshman 15 – I don’t know how it becomes the Freshman 30! I think I gained 5 pounds just from being near all of it!
  5. Everyone was so friendly! One thing The Girl and I both commented on was how friendly everyone was. We got turned around while trying to find the spot to meet the tour and people were coming out of rooms and offices to help point us in the right direction. The same was true when I was looking for a bathroom later – some guy saw me wandering around and ended up escorting me to the restroom and then back to the place I had come from. Students were friendly and helpful, we inadvertently ended up walking into a class and, instead of being flustered, the professor invited us to stay and listen in. Since it was in the department The Girl is considering, we stayed for a bit and listened quietly. Very cool!

While these were all awesome experiences, there were some not-so-awesome experiences I have to share.

Bottom 5 Experiences at OSU

  1. Did you know that Oklahoma State University Homecoming was ranked #1 by ESPN a few years ago? No? Neither did I. However, our overly cheery tour guide reminded us of this fact at just about every stopping point on our tour. Every. Frickin’. Stop! And there were lots of stops. She recommended that we come back next weekend to experience it for ourselves. Apparently she had been “pomping” for the 8 hours leading up to our tour. She told us this fact about a dozen times, but never once explained what “pomping” is. Yes, I asked, no, I didn’t get an answer that explains it. Something to do with tissue and chicken wire.
  2. OSU does a great job of getting you to campus for the tour, providing very detailed directions coming in from any part of the country that get you right to the target parking lot. However, that’s where the directions end. We got out of our car in the parking garage and had zero clue where to go. We ended up in about 3 different buildings before people took pity on us and directed us to the proper location. Again, everyone was super friendly, but it would have been nice to have some sort of idea as to where to go once we found a parking spot.
  3. The tour was nice, we walked through lots of buildings during our 1 and a half our tour. However, we never once saw a classroom. Oh, we walked through a building called “Classroom” but didn’t actually get to see any actual classrooms. It wasn’t just classrooms either. We were given a “tour” of the library, which was us just walking through from one door to another, no stop, no explanation of what we were seeing, or any idea of study rooms or the library process. We also saw a “research lab” but just the building itself – in one door, straight through the lobby, out the other door. I get that classes are in session, but, as a parent who will pay for this, I would like to see what actual classrooms look like. Where will The Girl be spending her class time?
  4. The tour started with a video presentation, well, it was supposed to start with a video presentation, but the person from the Admissions office who was trying to get it started had zero clue how to run the video. So, instead of watching the video, we sat in very uncomfortable chairs for 20 minutes while the Admissions person and a student fiddled with the PC trying to get it to work. Finally someone from IT showed up and solved the problem. I know this is a minor detail, but really, you give tours all the time, know how to use the technology or use foolproof technology! It made everyone from OSU, except the IT guy, look silly.
  5. The Girl wants to include horses in her field of study. One of the reasons OSU is on her list at all is because it has degrees in Animal Science, beyond being a veterinarian. In the paperwork we filled out, we included her interest in that school and asked to meet someone with some tie to that area. We got nothing. Nobody knew anything about the Animal Science program. In fact, we asked our overly enthusiastic tour guide for directions to the OSU Equestrian Center and got a blank stare back at us. She had no clue what we were talking about. She texted someone in the office about it. They texted back that they had no clue either. Fortunately, Google is my friend and I was able to find the Equine Center on my own. That’s actually where we accidentally walked into the middle of a class. Big thanks to Doctor Hiney for being super cool!!!

Overall Results

The Girl was very impressed with Oklahoma State, but not enough to crack her Top 5 list – yet. She said that she’s reserving judgement until she’s had a chance to visit a few more schools for comparison. Admission won’t be a problem if OSU becomes a target, The Girl already has a high enough ACT score to qualify for automatic admission (she also automatically qualifies based on GPA & class rank).

Will The Girl end up at OSU? Who knows, it’s still way too early to tell. It was a nice school, but nothing stood out to make it her #1 choice. She said that there wasn’t anything she saw or heard that would move the needle for Oklahoma State. It remains firmly lodged in the middle of her list. Overall, the pluses could have applied to just about any school that is the focus of a small town, while the minuses seemed to be more focused on OSU specifically.

Next up are Texas Tech and West Texas A&M. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare!