Ten reasons to pick JMU
February 11, 2013 72 Comments
February and March are the longest months of a high-school senior’s life — the months before most colleges and universities announce who’s been accepted. After that comes the decision that will change their lives: What school to choose? It’s a huge decision and as deadlines loom, it doesn’t get easier. So here’s a little help: My Top Ten reasons to pick JMU …..
- You’ll earn a degree of substance and significance that will mean much more in practice than it ever will mean on paper. Madison has always charted its own path and never believed that the status quo or the experience of another university is what works best for us. In fact, Madison offers exceptional opportunities to students — from athletics and leadership to dazzling arts and undergraduate research. Many opportunities here simply aren’t available at other schools.
- JMU is a fun place to go to college. Students love it here. In fact, more than 90 percent of freshmen come back for the sophomore year.
- Harrisonburg has a little bit of everything: beautiful mountains (for climbing, biking, skiing), a lively downtown, great food (Ethiopian, Asian, Greek, Cuban, you name it), convenience (everything is close to campus), and shopping. (Well, maybe not great shopping, but there’s always Amazon.)
- JMU students are ambitious but not obsessed. The typical JMU student wants to wring every drop out of college that they can. Many pursue two and three majors. They also devote time and talent to worthy campus and community organizations. Few students spend four years only studying. They work hard, don’t misunderstand me, but they look at life in balance, a philosophy promoted by the university. Here, it’s about the whole person.
- It could change your way of looking at the world — literally. JMU is one of the top master’s-level universities in the nation for the number of students who study abroad. Almost all of these students returned “home” to JMU changed in some way. It is an enlightening experience to step out from the comfort of the familiar and venture into another world that is exotic, often challenging, but always interesting.
- Here students are people, not numbers. The student teacher ratio at JMU is 16:1. At an institution of higher education with an enrollment around 20,000, that’s remarkable. Teaching matters here. It’s not an ancillary activity that professors endure so they can do their research. Over and over we hear stories about students whose lives have been changed by the diligent and dedicated mentoring their professors generously give. A top piece of advice that new grads almost always offer to freshmen is this: Get to know your professors.
- You’ve got a great shot at landing a good job. That’s because there’s a very practical bent at JMU. I’ve heard SMAD students report that their professors regularly remind them that they are teaching them for jobs that don’t yet exist. JMU’s determination to respond to the marketplace sets it apart. The combination of a liberal arts-focused college with a penchant for understanding the reality of landing a job is priceless.
- You can make it through in four years if you work and plan well. JMU has one of the highest four-year graduation rates in the nation. And you can change your major if you wish. JMU offers 71 undergraduates degrees. The programs are strong and many are nationally ranked.
- We turn out citizens. There’s more to life than education; and there’s more to education than academics. Eventually, all students graduate and what they do with the rest of their lives is important. We understand that, so from day one we cultivate the habit of thinking big, thinking broadly, and thinking how one person, one group, one JMU class can change the world. We’ll challenge you to do that—to start a meaningful life right here.
- JMU has a spirit like none other. It’s an extraordinarily open and friendly campus. If there’s one stat to remember, this is it: 97 percent of students give it high marks. You should keep that in mind when making this all important decision. And if you are, by chance, leaning elsewhere, you can always change your mind.