right arrow
PARENTS4PARENTS is a new initiative aimed at highlighting the vast expertise of our parents community while helping other parents better navigate the college admissions process. aggies1989 is a UC alumnus and parent of two UC college kids. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: fintech3753 is a current student at the Wharton School. Majoring in finance, he is hoping to pursue a career at the intersection of finance and technology. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our August Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Midwest help!

CaliforniaMommaCaliforniaMomma 34 replies29 threads Junior Member
We are just starting the college search and are intrigued by a few schools that are in the Midwest. Can anyone give us some info on the feel for the schools, if they are commuter schools or feel more like a college town?

Iowa State
University of Iowa
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Ball State

FYI we basically looked our what we expect GPA wise, SAT wise and has a solid psychology undergrad program and these popped on our radar. I hoped someone from the Midwest might have some info for us.
11 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Midwest help!

  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7620 replies36 threads Senior Member
    Hi Jenn,
    Iowa and Iowa State are more your traditional colleges and experiences. Iowa is Big Ten with great college town and Iowa State should be like a Big Ten school with tons of school spirit and pride. Not sure what they put in the Kool Aid there but kids love this school.
    I feel it's like the diamond in the haystack school. Tons of Illinois kids at both (Where I am at). Kids love these schools is all I can say.
    Friends that have /had kids at Ball State and Butler like their school a lot also
    I don't know much about the other ones. I would definitely get out to see the Iowa Campuses. I know you apply to them on the same application and if OOS you score something like 245 and over you are a direct admit with merit. It's a very quick application process and don't think you need an essay so your kid could do it like right now https://www.admissions.iastate.edu/freshman/requirements.php
    · Reply · Share
  • dcolosidcolosi 536 replies23 threads Member
    My D was just accepted to Iowa State so we are visiting next week. We have friends who have a daughter there now and they really like it. As for Ball State, I know a lot of people who are or went there. My D didn’t like it compared to Indiana and Purdue. We know too many people who dropped out or transferred as well. I’ve been on campus a few times as my niece was being recruited by them for gymnastics. None of us really liked the vibe on that campus.

    Butler is a nice small school, only about 5k students but we go to campus a lot to walk around. My D for the longest time wanted to go to Butler but they don’t have her major. Hinkle Fieldhouse is a great place to catch a basketball game. My wife is a direct descendant of Ovid Butler so the school is a special place to us. It is private so more expensive. It’s very near downtown Indianapolis but most people hang out in nearby Broadripple which is a fun area.

    My college roommate is a professor at Iowa and he loves the school. We are visiting the campus as well next week since we will be out that way.

    Of the ones I mentioned I’m not aware of them being commuter schools, my older D is at Indiana and she hardly ever comes home and neither do her friends. The Big Ten schools you mentioned are going to have a lot of activity having visited several Big Ten schools that has been our experience.

    · Reply · Share
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24992 replies20 threads Senior Member
    It kills me to say nice things about Nebraska (old football rivalry) but it is a nice school and a good size for kids who want more class choices than a small LAC and all the big excitement of a large sports school. It's a little harder to get to from California than the other schools on the list.
    · Reply · Share
  • bobo44bobo44 242 replies0 threads Junior Member
    D18 and I visited U of Iowa twice and love love loved it. Such a nice school with great little city/town surrounding it. Pretty campus and happy students. Lots of kids from Chicago North Shore suburbs choose it over U of Illinois. Everything we encountered at Iowa during visits was so well planned, organized, welcoming, just plain well done. We visited during torrential rain storm and still ended up enjoying ourselves and wanting to explore further. Application is so simple, D sat down the summer before, filled out the app, and was admitted with a decent merit award within three days. Nice way to start senior year!
    It remained first choice out of 12 apps and acceptances...until we visited U San Diego for admitted students day in April. Couldn't resist the weather and vibe--you probably are immune, coming from CA already. But Iowa is top of the list for grad school!
    · Reply · Share
  • CaliforniaMommaCaliforniaMomma 34 replies29 threads Junior Member
    Thank you all for your in depth responses. I have never seen this automatic admit. Granted, my daughter is a junior so we have this year to really focus on the college hunt and in California I am not aware of anywhere like that. Definitely worth checking out.

    · Reply · Share
  • college-bound-parentcollege-bound-parent 55 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Hi. I hope I can help—I have one student at Iowa State and one at University of Nebraska Lincoln. In our search process we also visited Ball State. And Drake is near my home.

    Iowa State: my student loves ISU. The campus is beautiful and lush. Academics are solid and there is so much to do there. I think I read somewhere they have 800+ clubs. It is a large school but ISU has found a way to make it feel much more personal. Students are grouped in learning communities so they meet and live with peers in the same major. My child has also been involved in the honors program and had many great experiences with that program. Ames is a nice college town with plenty to do. Great school spirit here. More international students than you would expect. Really we have had nothing but positive experience with ISU. Tons of opportunities.

    Nebraska: also a great, fun school with a traditional college experience. It is a CITY campus—not in the middle of a corn field. Lol. Very walkable with wonderful walkable shopping literally right across from the campus—restaurants, cute shops, night life etc. You are in the downtown (capital city of Nebraska) so definitely an urban vibe. But very safe. People are super friendly. Many in state students but a fair number of out of state students too. They are super devoted to their football!...the place lives and breathes red!! A good portion of students participate in Greek life. My daughter did not but has friends that do and it has not been an issue at all. They also have an East Campus a few miles east of the city campus that houses the agricultural and natural science programs as well as the dental school, law school, and vet med. The honors program and learning communities here have also been great for my student to connect with her people.

    Ball State: we visited and applied but decided not to attend. Beautiful campus too and Muncie exceeded my expectations, but it is a smaller town. Although some programs are fantastic, my daughter just didn’t feel the academic fit there she was looking for...

    All three of those options offer out of state merit aid. Housing at ISU is super affordable.

    Drake: good reputation for academics. But my kids wanted to go somewhere further from home so we didn’t apply. I have been to campus for community events etc. I don’t know a ton about Drake, but the surrounding neighborhood is not probably ideal. It’s in an older part of town. I think a student would need a car whereas ISU and Nebraska they would not.

    You could fly into Des Moines Iowa. U of I is about 2 hours east, ISU less than an hour north, Drake in town, and UNL a little over 3 hours west (an easy drive).
    · Reply · Share
  • momocarlymomocarly 1033 replies12 threads Senior Member
    My son was accepted at Iowa State (ended up choosing Kansas State) and it is a great school. I know more about it than the others. It is a little more small town feel (according to my son) than Kansas State is. I'm not exactly sure what turned him off other than there was a ton of construction when we went and he just couldn't get a great campus feel. I have an intern now that goes there and he loves it!
    · Reply · Share
  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1624 replies46 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    we're from the midwest, and toured all of these schools a few years back. We have friends who have attended IOWA, ISU, UNL, & Drake. I'd like to add to your list Kansas State (as mentioned above,) and Kansas.

    The price for our kids was the best in-state (UNL); but top pick would have been KSU or Kansas. ISU is good and has a very good regional rep for engineering/design; but it's a big campus in a very small town; D16 didn't like the program. And a friend tells us how they are trying to become more diverse, but really, there's lots of farmers' and rural kids there (no diversity). Iowa has a little more diversity and draws from the Chicago area. KU is really loved around here; it's close to Kansas City where there's lots of flights. KSU is adorable. Small town, but lots of love on campus. (but once again, not too diverse). UNL is good too. You can also look at Creighton which is between all of these and similar to Drake. Creighton's a good school in Omaha.

    We have relatives in LA area; their daughter attends Texas Tech and loves it and is getting a better price than instate CA. just throwing that out there as well. Good Luck!

    (I will say, my S15 and his GF both graduated from UNL; they are making hella money now; have no loans. I can't imagine paying double for the same degrees to end up in the same jobs. We are all thankful for the education and experiences!)
    edited July 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • threebeansthreebeans 803 replies39 threads Member
    We toured Drake with our son and daughter is going to UNL in the fall. Drake struck me as a very nice albeit smaller University. The pre med student we know there really has gotten a lot of opportunities for internships, etc.
    Daughter chose UNL over Madison and Minnesota - Twin Cities. She felt much safer there and the people are just outstanding! For a large University I honestly don't think they will let a student get "lost" like you hear about at the others. She's not interested in greek life and found a roommate that isn't either so I think there is a good mix. She got enough merit money to knock tuition down to in state level too.
    · Reply · Share
  • cshell2cshell2 1116 replies11 threads Senior Member
    I don't know what it is about the Iowa schools either, but I'm in MN and despite the fact that it's the ONE state we border that doesn't offer reciprocity, all the kids want to go to one of those schools and the high school counselors push them too. It's weird. Still. We're going to apply to Iowa State and check it out. I think it would cost us nearly double from going in state though, so he'd have to really love it.
    · Reply · Share
  • dcolosidcolosi 536 replies23 threads Member
    We just came back from our Iowa trip so being our first time to both Iowa and Iowa State here is our impressions:

    Iowa State my D loved and she is now thinking this is where she wants to go, especially after getting to meet with the adviser and learning more about the design program. The campus was bigger than I expected but it was beautiful. A nice mix of old and new and ton's of trees and flowers all over the place. Walking all around campus was actually nice with all the trees to provide shade from the hot sun. The dorms were average compared to other schools we looked and the food courts seemed about average compared to other places. We've seen some Youtube videos and the virtual tour but they really don't do it justice. Even without school in session we saw kids on campus and walking or biking to work and some hanging out in their hammocks. Being OOS seeing that level of activity in the summer was nice. The city of Ames while small was nice and clean.

    University of Iowa, we met up with my old college roommate who is a professor there on Saturday. He walked us around and gave us tour. It is a lot different than ISU. Iowa is in the middle of the city and it is split by the river. It seemed like a nice school but not the style of campus my D would like. It has a much more urban feel and is integrated into the downtown area. The old capital building is pretty cool. It does seem like its pretty spread out, there was one dorm we passed down by some of the fraternity houses that seemed pretty far away from the actual campus.

    If you are looking for a urban campus and a city feel then Iowa certainly has that feel. If you are looking for a more traditional campus that feels more like a park then Iowa State has that feel.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity