State School Vs. Private School

March 20, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

When you’re deciding where to go to college there are a million different things running through your mind. You’re probably considering the cost, location, programs, activities offered etc. One thing you may want to consider above all is whether a private or state school is right for you. With each option there are different pros and cons for everyone. As I have attended both a state university and a private college, I feel as though these are some of the things you might want to think about when you are trying to choose between the two:

Public vs Private

Public vs Private


People like to assume right away that a private school is going to be way more expensive than a state school, but that’s not always the case. Typically, the outright cost for a private college is more expensive than a state school, but when it comes to financial aid, scholarships, and grants, they may make up for the difference. Because private colleges are funded by tuition, endowments and donations, there is no limit to how much money they can give you. On the other hand, state schools are largely funded by our taxes, so you may not be awarded as much money due to restrictions and budgets. It really depends on your situation – if you apply to a private college and you are awarded more than half of the cost in scholarships and grants then it may be worth it to go, but if you apply to a state school and receive free tuition due to MCAS scores or any other achievements, it may be worth it to go there instead. Don’t rule out either before you do your research and figure out the real cost of each.


Typically, state schools are a lot larger than private schools, so if you’re interested in classes of 20 people or less, you might want to consider a private college. If you’re looking for a large school with lots of diversity and large lectures, a state school may be a better choice for you. For me personally, I attended a pretty large high school, so I knew that I wanted something on a smaller scale so that I could really take advantage of professors and small class sizes. I also wanted to find a tight knit group of friends because I never really had that in high school.


If you decide to go to the large state school in the state you have lived in your whole life, than you have to expect to see a lot of the kids you’ve seen in your hometown and high school. If you want a completely fresh start with new people and new experiences, you may want to consider a private or out of state school. Something else to consider is the diversity at each type of school. Typically, private schools attract people who have gone to private high schools who are either on the wealthy side or upper middle class. At a state school, you will probably experience a much diverse student body and people from all social classes. Again, it really depends on exactly where you are going.

Education Quality

For some reason, people tend to assume that the quality of the education they receive at a private college is better than the education at a state school. As someone who has attended both a state and private college, I can honestly say that I found the quality to be the same. At a state school it may seem like less quality because of the larger class sizes, but other than that I didn’t find that it was much different. At both the state and private schools that I have attended I have had amazing professors and not so great professors, as well as hard classes and easy classes. I honestly could not tell the difference between the quality education that I have received at each school, and I don’t think that you should assume a state school education isn’t as good as a private school education.

So, as you’re considering where to go to college, take these points into consideration and do your research. Everyone has an opinion, but you don’t want to base your higher education decision on what anyone else assumes. Really weigh your options and consider what is best for you before you decide! Good luck!

Cornell’s Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Major

March 7, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Colleges, Reviews

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Major: At Cornell, we don’t simply study “Women’s Studies” or “Gender Studies,” but rather, we study FGSS. By this, I mean to say that we study the intersectionality between feminist movement, gender—in its general form—and queer politics as it relates to broader institutions.

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Major: At Cornell, we don’t simply study “Women’s Studies” or “Gender Studies,” but rather, we study FGSS. By this, I mean to say that we study the intersectionality between feminist movement, gender—in its general form—and queer politics as it relates to broader institutions.

In lower school, your level of kindness defines you. In middle school, your level of popularity defines you. In upper school, your clique-identity defines you. In college, your majors and minors define you.

Your courses of study are incredibly important components of your identity in college. So choose wisely. I decided to choose the FGSS major and the LGBT minor (they go hand in hand, actually):

  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Major: At Cornell, we don’t simply study “Women’s Studies” or “Gender Studies,” but rather, we study FGSS. By this, I mean to say that we study the intersectionality between feminist movement, gender—in its general form—and queer politics as it relates to broader institutions.

As a gay-identifying male, I came to Cornell already sure that I would major, or the very least minor, in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I feel that it’s imperative that queer identifying individuals be familiar with the history of the movements that have given them the rights and privileges that they currently have. Granted, we don’t necessarily have very many privileges, but relative to the 1950’s, we’re living pretty well in our current American society. What I truly enjoyed about the major, prior to coming to Cornell, was the idea that such a major even exists! With Ivy League institutions being what they are, I was surprised that Cornell was so liberal and progressive so as to have such a major.

After spending two years at Cornell, and having taken over 15 courses in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and LGBT Studies departments, I think I have a basic understanding of what goes on in the major. What I won’t do here is tell you graduation requirements—as a simple Google search could help you to answer that. What I will tell you is why FGSS is such an amazing major:

  • The classes are small: Cornell boasts its 20,000 student population. FGSS, being the major that it is, doesn’t really attract that many students to begin with—after all, it’s no political science or biology. However, small classes are fundamental when it comes to in-depth discussion on the social issues that marginalized communities face. It’s also imperative that classes remain small so as to create safe spaces—queer and feminist politics are controversial issues and everyone should feel comfortable voicing their opinions.
  • You get a different perspective of history: Coming from a high school that specializes in law and society, Global history, and American history, I can wholeheartedly state that I never once learned about queer history. My APUSH professor once mentioned something about Stonewall, but that was just a brief aside. Cornell’s FGSS major has given me an in-depth perspective on the people that have given me the freedom to walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand. As a social activist for the queer community, I find it wonderfully enlightening to hear the stories of those who have re-shaped society for the better.
  • Being with people who understand you: The FGSS major and LGBT minor (which usually go hand in hand) are full of feminists and queers. That’s not to say that there aren’t allies, but the majority of the people who study these disciplines have a purpose for being there. Every class is full of students who understand my struggles and with whom I feel comfortable sharing my personal stories. It’s like being in a queer-straight alliance 24/7!

There are, of course, so many other reasons for my being in the FGSS department, but those are just a few. I would recommend that you take at least one course in the FGSS or LGBT Studies departments before you graduate—hey, you get to watch porn for class!

Applying to College: Leaving Your Comfort Zone

January 15, 2015 in Admissions

Choosing what college to attend is a major decision that several high school seniors will eventually face. We constantly ask ourselves the question, “Which school is best suited for me?” There are so many colleges out there that the question has become quite overwhelming. The idea of living far from home can be scary to anyone, especially for an entire four plus years. For most of us, it is the first time we are officially living on our own and witnessing a number of first time experiences that can never be erased.

I was one of those who applied to 15 different colleges because I was unsure of where I wanted to go. Some of the private colleges close to home sent me free applications, so I applied and chose those as my “safe schools.” However, after growing up in New York my entire life, I knew I wanted to leave the state and experience a different type of lifestyle. Could everything really be as fast-paced as New York City? I applied to schools in Boston, Pennsylvania, Florida, and even New York, just in case I had freaked out and changed my mind about moving away from home last minute.

Then the letters started to come in the mail. Opening each of those letters was practically one mini heart attack after another. I was accepted to most but also rejected by a few. For some reason, despite the 15 letters I opened, these words stood out to me most: Congratulations! You have been accepted to the Florida State University.

I had seen FSU sports games on television, which most likely contributed to my initial liking of the school. However, I was worried that I would not get accepted because I was out-of-state and the acceptance rate was only about 40%. Before applying, I had spoken to a representative on the phone about how to stand out from the several thousands of competing applicants. She provided me with a few tips, stating those with an overall GPA of 3.5 or above are generally accepted, but admissions will also take into account how heavy a student’s workload is. This put me at a higher advantage because I had been on the full IB program, which also allowed me to enter college with a semester’s worth of credits.

I booked a flight to tour my accepted Florida schools. I had been to different parts of Florida for vacation, but I had never been to Tallahassee (FSU’s location.) Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and located in the very northern part, only about 30 minutes from Georgia. It does not have your typical south Florida feel with a view of the beach every corner you turn. It is more of a city/college town and even has a short season of winter.

Once I stepped foot on the FSU campus, I knew this would be the place I wanted to call home. The students were extremely friendly, the lifestyle was slow-paced, the sun was shining, palm trees were everywhere, and the campus was enormous. The main feature that attracted me most was the giant football stadium, home of the FSU Seminoles football team. The idea of attending a school with a huge football team was ideal for me. If I was going to leave my home 1100 miles away, I was going to take advantage of retrieving the full college experience at a large university. With a population of 40,000 students, bars on every street, and practically every sports team imaginable, Florida State had it all.

Choosing to attend Florida State allowed me to leave my comfort zone and explore something completely different than the New York lifestyle I had been so accustomed to for 18 years. An important factor I considered when I chose to attend this school was the tuition. Compared to all of the other schools I applied to, including the ones in New York, an out-of-state tuition of $30,000 a year was actually a low price. It is important to consider this when weighing between colleges. Leaving college with a high debt is something no student should ever have to be affected by.

To future college applicants, the best advice I can provide is to leave your comfort zone and explore your options. You can always move back near home after school, but these four years will be a life experience that you can never take back. If you are looking to stand out from other students during your application process, increase your senior workload. Remember that state schools will give you the opportunity to meet several different kinds of people from all over the country, as well as offer you a larger selection of classes and a reasonably priced tuition. In my opinion, a state school is the absolute way to go if you want to break away from the feel of a small high school population. Good luck in your future college decisions!

Florida State University

Florida State University


Private school or State school? I’ll take state school!

November 15, 2014 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Colleges

It is that time of year, students that are in high school are visiting campuses across the country to decide where they are going to continue their education. For many this task is incredibly stressful. It shouldn’t! This is a great time for students to take advantage of seeing what the colleges have to offer. Now, there is always this debate, private school or state school? State school!

At the University of Maine, a state school and in-state for me, the size of the school is a huge plus and wouldn’t be this large if it was private. In many visits to other schools around the state that are private schools, it felt like a small step above high school. With only a couple thousand students that attend each school each student knows each other. Where is the fun in that? The ability to meet someone new everyday and establish connections that will be beneficial to students is incredibly valuable. Students have the opportunity at the University of Maine to do just that.

State school UMaine

State school UMaine

The campus atmosphere is another area that students should evaluate. Small campuses are the norm for private schools in the state of Maine. It feels too cramped. The University of Maine has the largest campus in the state and also has the most students. Campus atmosphere shouldn’t be your number one reason when selecting a school, but it does play a role in making it feel like the right campus for you.

The expense of private schools are incredibly high. Thankfully, the University of Maine tuition rate is roughly $23,000 compared the annual cost of attending one of the state of Maine’s private schools, Colby, it is at an astonishing $61,100. Students need to think about the cost of their education and how it can effect them in the future. That difference of tuition cost can really make or break a student’s decision. Over the course of your 4-year college career you would pay $92,000 at the University of Maine. Over 4-years at Colby, $244,000. Double the cost!

Another thing that students should look into is remaining in-state. The cost of being an in-state versus being an out of state student is quite high. Roughly a difference of $17,000 at the University of Maine. The great thing the university does is offer a discount to students who are in the New England region rather than just having them pay the full out of state tuition rate. Also, it makes moving incredibly easy. Living far away from home makes moving to and from college difficult. Living within reasonable driving distance of the school you are attending makes it a lot easier.

High school seniors, take all of these topics into account when you are considering what school you should attend next fall. By determining whether or not to attend a state school vs. a private school students need to look at all of the factors. Tuition costs, campus atmosphere/environment and how all of these factors will effect your future. Good luck class of 2019 on deciding your school.

University Primetime

November 3, 2014 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Events, Health, Infographics, Love, Reviews, Sports, Style, Top 10 Lists, Travel, Videos

University Primetime is a blogging website designed to specifically target college students.  This website covers all aspects of college life such as dating, relationships, lifestyle, and information about colleges all around the country.  Aspects of this blog include top ten lists, student reviews, and other commentary from current college students.

One interesting thing about this website is that all of the content is submitted only by college students.  In a way, this blog is the nucleolus for college students to come together and compare their notes.   All of the articles are written by students, for students.  This is a great way to make college kids feel like they have a way to express themselves.  This blog also serves as a source of information for college students as well. While yes, most of these articles are written for the purpose of entertaining college students, there are other types of articles written.  There are articles about music, television, sports, politics, movies, etc.  There are a wide variety of categories for readers to choose from.

One thing that stands out about this website is the layout/design of the page.  The University Primetime logo is clearly printed at the top left corner of the page.  Next to that logo is a drop down menu for readers so they can easily navigate throughout the page.  The three main things that this website contains are articles with lists, advice, and campus life, which is what they first three drop down menus are.  There’s also a submit content tab which gives the reader the option to write in to the website.

Right under this drop down menu, there is a mix of the most recently published/most popular articles plastered in the center of the page.  These include the main picture in the article, and the article title. Underneath that, there is a section called “what’s new”,” which continuously updates as new articles are posted.

The overall page design is actually quite simple.  It’s very pleasing to the eye, as it’s design is made so that it will not be too overwhelming.  The color scheme is very bland, using blacks whites and a salmon coloring for the University Primetime logo.   The only pop of color the reader gets is from the pictures that are in the articles.

This website is successful because it’s writing specifically for things that college students care about.  There’s articles about money, fashion, movies, pets, things that people want to see.  There’s a fun, humorous side, and there’s a realistic, serious side.  The key is that University Primetime has found that balance of both sides.

It’s also successful because it’s well known.  When University Primetime first started out, the promotion that went around and the buzz that was created for it was very over the top.  There were links posted all over Facebook and Twitter, and the owner of the company even gave students the chance to become University Primetime Campus Representatives, which made students feel like they were a part of something.  The amount of marketing that went into the creation of this website was astounding.

University Primetime is definitely a front-runner for college blogging websites.  It’s simple, it’s modern, and it’s entertaining, which is exactly what college students want to see in the media nowadays.  I’m sure it will continue to be successful in the future.