West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV: When it comes to looking atcolleges, it is hard to know where to start. The bombardment of brochures usuallydoes not help narrow choices, and even if it does, you can’t make a decisionuntil you visit. My first campus visit was to West Virginia University. When myparents told me we were stopping there on our vacation, I had never even heard ofthe school and was sure I would not want to go there. But, as it turns out, I mayhave judged too quickly.

West Virginia University is in Morgantown, a cityof about 27,000. On campus there are countless clubs and organizations. There isalmost always some event taking place. On weekends the WV Up All Night program,featured on “Good Morning America,” organizes free concerts, comedyacts, movies and games. If you want to work out, there is a $34 millionrecreation center with a climbing wall, two pools, fitness equipment, a track andbasketball, squash, volleyball, racquetball and badminton courts. Or, if you’drather visit a big city for the weekend, Pittsburgh is only 70 milesaway.

Naturally, the most important part of college is the education.West Virginia University is a large school with approximately 22,000 students,but the average class size is only 30. One of the most popular and competitivemajors is forensics, and WVU is the only college whose program is certified bythe FBI. But, if that’s not what you’re interested in, there are 168 othermajors.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of the campus is themonorail system that can take you from one side of campus to the other in lessthan 12 minutes. With five stops, 73 cars take you to your destination. Duringthe school year, it transports about 15,000 students daily. This solves theproblems of parking, car pollution and transportation, and is completelyfree.

I have toured three other schools, but none has impressed me asmuch. This university seems to have thought of everything, not to mention that itis a steal at about $15,000 for out-of-state students. I would never have evenconsidered going there, but touring the campus changed my mind completely. Sobefore you scratch a school off your list, give it a chance and go for a visit.You might be surprised.