Can someone whose never left northeast USA fit in at ole miss?

Hi,
I’m a girl from Massachusetts and I’ve lived here my entire life. Everyone around me is liberal and progressive. I don’t have much experience living in different communities.

I don’t look Southern, act Southern, or know anything about southern culture/politics, but I am very interested in the University of Mississippi. How hard is it gong to be for me to adjust?

To a large extent, it depends upon why you are interested in Ole Miss.

I think you can adjust and be happy wherever you live, assuming you go in with an open mind. I’ve had the opportunity to live in the south, the pacific northwest, the midwest, the northeast. My experience is that it is always possible to make friends, and it never hurts to gain the perspective of living somewhere new. If you lump an entire part of the country (.e. ‘the South’, ‘the coast’) as a single, or narrow environment, you will miss out on a lot of great places in this world.

How does one “look Southern”?

I live upper Midwest. My coworkers son loves it there!

So much depends on your personality. If you’re adaptable, curious, have a good sense of humor about things you’re not used to, and secure enough to feel comfortable in situations where you don’t entirely “fit in” or agree with everything around you, you might love it there. BTW, I’m not saying you won’t fit in…just saying if there are situations where you don’t, you’ll look at it from the lens of “well isn’t this a fascinating experience” rather than feeling defensive or miserable.

I am curious too. I know someone who is having the same questions.

The main reason to go to OleMiss is that it’s really cheap: free tuition for their kid. and she can make it to honors, and do well.

The main worry is that the culture of vermot where they live is really liberal and funky and individualistic. their kid fits in well there but it seems pretty different from mississippi.

the stereotypical u mississippi girl seems to be skinny, blond, football-loving, fashion-brand-wearing, heavily appearance-aware, and either in or wishing she was in a sorority. of course not everyone is like that! but

nobody wants to go to a school where they will be mocked for who they are or will be a social outcast. if she stays in vermont or massachusetts there are whole schools full of people like her. she knows mississippi will be different and she’s fine with difference.

but are there ENOUGH people like her to have it be OK, and can people like her still find their stride?

It might be a challenge for a person from a very liberal area in New England, such as Massachusetts or Vermont, who is liberal & progressive to adjust to the University of Mississippi. Most 18 year olds are at a very sensitive stage of life and skills in adapting and accepting may not yet be fully developed.

Mississippi is a conservative state. The University of Mississippi is about 78% white, 12% black, 2% Asian, 4% Hispanic, 2% multi-racial, and 2% international.

56% are from in-state. Not sure how many of the remaining 42% ( 42%, not 44%, as 2% are international) are from neighboring states, but I can assure you that Ole Miss is not over-run with liberals from Massachusetts.

Best to be open-minded & accepting of others & their points of view just as one would like others to be toward him or her.

Attending the University of Mississippi just because it is inexpensive is probably not enough. Need an academic or other compelling reason, in my opinion, if a progressive liberal from Massachusetts who has already labeled herself as not Southern in looks, actions or experience.

This is not the case at most large Southern universities, but, in my opinion, Ole Miss retains more old South qualities than do the other SEC schools.

Greek life is important at the University of Mississippi as one-third of all males pledge a fraternity & a bit less than half of all females join sororities.

Most important to visit while school is in session & to sit in on a few classes in your area of interest.

@hopingforthebest11 @RosyRose My daughter is a freshman at Ole Miss now. We live in Houston, TX. I was raised in Maryland am very familiar with liberal NE values. My daughter is extraordinarily liberal/progressive. She is thriving at Ole Miss. 1) Have you visited Ole Miss ? I would definitely encourage you to do so. Oxford is a liberal college town in a deeply red state. It’s beautiful. The school administration is quite progressive. They recognize their past in the Civil Rights Movement but are taking great strides to move ahead. There is even a 8 ft statute in the center of campus honoring James Meredith (the man who desegregated Ole Miss in the mid-1960s). 2) I don’t think it will be hard to adjust at all. My daughter has lots of liberal friends and lots of conservative Southern Baptist friends. I would say the unifying trait among her friends is their ambition. They all want to do well in school. They all want good jobs. There are also lots of kids (like any big school) that are searching for the next party. Most of my daughter’s friends are real serious students. 3) My daughter’s classmates in Croft and Flagship Chinese are from Long Island, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas as well as small towns all over the SE USA. I’m guessing both of you are concerned about your kids going to Oxford and being mocked for not having a gun rack in your pickup truck OR being surrounded by blondes in sorority houses who say “tinkle.” Sure you can find kids like that, but you will also find alot of kids going to school there who are from all over the country who are working their tails off in school. My daughter did pledge a sorority at Ole Miss and while she has lots of expensive yoga leggings – she (and her liberal views) have been welcomed with open arms. 4) We’re from Texas and your fears about fitting in at Ole Miss were the same as my daughter’s friends who wanted to go to school in the NE. I say “y’all” … are all these people from New England gonna make fun of me for being from Texas. Am I gonna be like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde at Harvard ? Are all these super liberal New England people gonna hate me bc we produced Ted Cruz and President Bush :wink: 5) My last words are that there are 17,000 kids at Ole Miss from all over the US. If your kids want to learn and work hard in college, I’m sure they will find a group of people at Ole Miss. Best of luck to y’all !!!

1 Like

@HoustonKen: Wonderful, helpful, encouraging post.

However, I would like to make two observations.

One, your daughter was raised in Houston, Texas. Whether liberal or not, Houston, Texas is quite different than very liberal, very progressive Massachusetts. Same for Vermont. Simply put: Houston, Texas is not the same as liberal Massachusetts.

Two, your daughter attends Ole Miss for academic as well as financial reasons. She is in Croft & heavily involved in international oriented matters which are the Croft Institute’s mission. The OP has only indicated an interest in Ole Miss based on cost, yet admitting that she will need “to adjust” = “not a fit”.

Liberal in Texas most likely means something different than liberal in Massachusetts. (Maybe something akin to not keeping one’s rifle loaded versus being a staunch advocate of gun control.)

My point is that OP needs a reason beyond cost in order to make the venture down to the University of Mississippi & to one of the best towns–Oxford–in the country. Either an academic reason or a driving sense of adventure, exploration & discovery. Just something more than cost.

P.S. OP: It will help if you love college football.

P.P.S. @HoustonKen: Any idea how your daughter would feel if she had not been accepted into and pledged a sorority ?

Yes my daughter is in a well recognized program at Ole Miss but there are lots of kids in her dorm working hard in engineering, pre-med or business/accounting. My daughter was drawn to these specific programs but the $ offer than Ole Miss made her was the major factor in her attending over some more prestigious schools.

Assuming these kids in NE are serious students who have achieved enough in school to get significant merit aid at Ole Miss, there is no reason to think they won’t be serious students at Ole Miss.

Not gonna lie. Sorority Rush at Ole Miss is a full contact sport not for the weak of heart. She had lots of friends at Ole Miss before rush. She’s made lots of friends in her house too. She understood that there was a chance that she wouldn’t make it through rush and she was fine with it.

The urban areas in Texas (Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston) are almost as blue as California. In Houston, Clinton beat Trump 54-42%. But I agree that a NE Democrat is generally more liberal than a TX Democrat.

@HoustonKen: I agree with respect to Austin, not as sure about the other cities.

I reread some of your earlier posts which share that your daughter turned down Stanford to attend Ole Miss with multiple scholarship awards including the ultimate Stamps Scholarship.

We had a discussion on a thread started by another poster whose son took the Stamps Scholarship at Wake Forest University even though offered admission to Stanford University & that family had the ability to be full pay at Stanford.

I love Ole Miss. I recognize that there are outstanding programs such as accounting & data analysis. I love the culture & the town of Oxford, although I have no relation to the school or to the state.

I would love to read more about your daughter’s experiences at the University of Mississippi & her experience with the Croft Institute (which we considered about a decade ago).

My daughter is currently a sophomore at Ole Miss. She absolutely loves it and did not rush her freshman year. She is an accounting major with a minor in Intelligence and Securities. When she applied to Ole Miss, she had no idea about the Intelligence and Securities minor Ole Miss offers. She applied to the program last semester and is taking her second class and loves the minor. There are so many wonderful programs at Ole Miss that students should investigate. She is also part of the Honors College at Ole Miss and enjoys her small classes. Most of her classes at Ole Miss have been under 20 students. This semester she is taking a big auditorium class for Management and hates the size. She is so glad that she did not select to go to our Flagship University in Florida (classes are huge and many taught on-line).

She participates in band at Ole Miss, which takes a lot of time in the fall semester, and pep band for basketball. She belongs to the Women in Business Club and was currently selected as an Ambassador for Accounting.

1 Like

My impression is that the University of Mississippi has retained many of the charming aspects of the Old South. Oxford is an incredible college town.

With approximately 17,000 undergraduate students, the University of Mississippi is the smallest school in the SEC–which is a positive in my opinion.

@HoustonKen: You are correct about the political leanings of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, & Austin. A google search revealed a clearly laid out state map of red & blue counties.

The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 introduces the University of Mississippi in this manner:

“Located in the progressive town of Oxford, Ole Miss is doing its best to put the state’s redneck past behind it. Strong on public policy and international studies, and the honors college is one of the best anywhere.”

“Tailgating remains world class.”

Exceptional study abroad program which offers many scholarships.

“Ole Miss students are ambitious, hospitable, and well-rounded.”

Lots of school spirit.

“There are lots of locally owned businesses and restaurants that are unique to the area and very charming.”

P.S. In a post in another Ole Miss thread earlier this month, another poster noted that there is a pipeline of students from Jackson, Mississippi and from Memphis, Tennessee which has some effect on rushing a sorority or joining a fraternity.

I lived in Texas for six years. As an athiest Jew born in Connecticut and raised in New Jersey, I found most Texans were quite unable to comprehend me. For example, one coworker tried to reassure me, knowing I was not from Texas, by saying, “Only half of my town’s residents worship in town! The other half worships in churches in other towns.” I have always wondered why this educated, intelligent engineer thought that this would be comforting to me?

So my advice is to consider the religion question quite seriously. If you are religious, then no matter what religion you are you will probably find acceptance at a school in the deep South. However, if you are athiest then I strongly advise you to consider another plan because to my knowledge things have not substantially changed since I lived there.

We are merit hunters and looked at a few southern flagships for $$$, one of which D now attends. She, and H and I, all agreed that Ole Miss was significantly more southern in feel, although we liked the smaller size and more generous merit. Croft Inst and other programs/majors are also a draw. We also loved the town of Oxford - got the impression that whilst the town is pretty liberal, the university is not. D much preferred South Carolina and Alabama, where there was a wider geographical mix. She is in a sorority, with a mix of girls from across the country, and a mix of political views. Note that southern sorority life is expensive - not just dues, but all the add ons. This restricts SES diversity. She does say that religion is a big thing, which she doesn’t get at all. She refers to the local megachurch as ‘the cult’ (her words, not mine!)

@Publisher My oldest son, a few years out of college, travels to an annual college football game with friends (Clemson, Texas and 2019 Ole Miss). They said it was a beautiful campus and the tailgate experience was unique. China, chandeliers and dressy. Different than Rutgers football! They had a great weekend, nice town/campus.

1 Like

vermont kid is pretty mellow. not really into football but not bothered by it (lots of Pats fans up here!) and will probably g to a few games. Atheist but not bothered by religion and has spent plenty of time w/ religious friends. democrat but not annoyingly so (not an uber progressive) and not bothered by people who disagree.

absolutely zero interest in sororities though or so she thinks now. (i know her well, my view is that shes not into giving up that much control of her life to a group of people. i don’t know much about sororities but they seem to have a lot of rules.)

hmm.