Since not many people come to this spot I just wanted to put out an option that if anyone comes across this thread and wants more information feel free to post here or message me! I 'm a K-State parent with a son that was undergrad from OOS and is now at the Vet School. I’d be glad to answer any of you questions. It is a great school and my son got an excellent education with wonderful opportunities here. Just wanting folks to know that this thread is available (CC isn’t only for the Ivy’s!),
I would like to read your thoughts & experiences about Kansas State.
Any familiarity with the Honors College ?
Kansas State truly is a family. Their motto is not hype. From the moment we walked on campus for a visit everyone was helpful. A professor saw us looking a little lost and stopped what he was doing to walk us where we needed to go (later found out he was a dean), another professor stepped out of her classroom while students were doing independent work to show us some equipment outside her class and share her enthusiasm for what she was teaching. Some students came out and said “Come here you will love it!” We encountered things like that all over the campus. My son said that has continued his entire time he has been there.
There are excellent merit scholarships for OOS students and IS students. I’m not as familiar with the need based scholarships but we finished his undergraduate school with no debt and about the same cost the instate school would have been.
The academics have been outstanding for him. He worked very hard and earned top grades. He was rewarded with opportunities such as being a learning assistant, helping with physics labs (paid job) and was able to attend classes (also paid) to learn how to teach effectively in these environments. He said he learned so much there. Later he was able to be a teaching assistant in an anatomy lab. He also had the opportunity to work in the Bio-Research Institute which is an outstanding facility.
He started in the honors college. It is excellent and the leaders of it are personable and want the students in it to succeed. He really enjoyed honors English where they studied spies. They read books from all genres about the subject, watched films and critiqued them, read news articles and had excellent discussions in a small class. Every semester the offerings for English are different. He was advised to not continue in the honors college due to the program he was in which was already selective and very busy. Many of his friends continued in it and had wonderful experiences. The honors chemistry course is known to be outstanding.
The contacts he made opened many doors to him. He met alumni that hired him as an intern across the county (even let him live in their home rent free during the internship), others that mentored him in business and leadership. He became friends with the CEO of a large national corporation. Others have had similar opportunities. Professors are more than willing to talk to students and help them find opportunities. Students just need to take the initiative to go to office hours, go to recitations, ask questions and they find the professors very helpful. His gf has been able to work in cancer research and has won several prestigious awards (with monetary prizes) for her work.
Travel abroad opportunities abound and are affordable. The faculty led trips during spring break, early summer or winter break are great for those that don’t want to slow down their graduation or go for a full semester. He had a fantastic animal science mini semester in Switzerland. They had class work before they went and then had a wonderful time.
The professors have helped lead him in his career. The career center is very helpful to many but he found the professors to be the most help for him personally. He has a professor from undergraduate now working to get him into a very competitive summer program in veterinary research. Another graduate professor has given him steps on what types of experiences he needs while he is in veterinary school to reach his goals. Students coming out of K State get jobs all over the country. His friends (many graduating this semester) all have jobs lined up that are what they were looking for.
The town is a wonderful place for students to visit. It is a typical college town within walking distance of campus. He was never bored. There are cultural events, concerts, sports and outdoor activities. If his friends wanted the big city they would drive a couple hours to Kansas City for a Chief’s game, or a big concert etc. He is from a very large city and never felt isolated in Manhattan. He enjoyed the fraternity life that wasn’t over the top crazy and the academic life.
I won’t leave out the “negatives”. The school isn’t the easiest to get to but we just flew into Kansas City and rented a care and drove to the college. It was cheap on Southwest. We did fly into Manhattan once when fares were really low. The drive isn’t bad and the rental cars not expensive. He just drove to college and kept his car with him so he could come and go as he pleased. Lots of students have cars and will drive others to Kansas City to the airport for at break times.
The school does lack diversity. It is not for lack of trying. You just don’t get a lot in the middle of Kansas. The school has a new multicultural center that is amazing. My son took several of their Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Department courses (one class short of a minor) which were very interesting to him. The college has had issues in the past but most are based on one or two individuals that the school would love to expel but can’t due to state laws. My son has quite a few LGBQT and minority friends who he enjoys being around and as a recruiter for his fraternity he did not see discrimination.
Kansas State University is not one of the highly ranked colleges in the country. Many people overlook the school. One reason is for it’s high acceptance rates. We never really considered it a negative. Kansas wants its public colleges to accept as many students as possible. Their view is that all students deserve a chance. That does no mean they “teach down” to these students. If you go to K-State you are expected to work hard no matter what school you come from. The pre-med and engineering courses are rigorous and challenging for even the best student. (I know most about these courses from son, gf and their friends). There are students that take longer to graduate or don’t but that isn’t a fault of the college. They do everything to work with students who struggle. Sometimes the student either needs longer (finances are a big issue) or find they really did not want to go to any college but they had a chance! My son and his friends only knew a couple of people who left the school and they all left within the first semester.
This is a large college. There are 18,000+ students (it feels much smaller) and it has problems most large institutes have. There is drinking but it isn’t like you feel out of place at all if you don’t drink. There is a D1 sports mentality but again it isn’t overwhelming and if you would rather go to the art museum or to see speakers or go on a hike that is great too!
My son is now in graduate school (College of Veterinary Medicine) there and is still very happy. I know this is long but hopefully helps someone.
Thank you so much for adding this. I for one really appreciate it since K-State is one of the schools my an sci/pre-vet daughter is considering. I do have two questions. We are about to schedule a visit there. We were supposed to go over spring break but it was canceled due to covid. Are there any specific people or departments you would recommend we try to visit with? My daughter is an sci as I mentioned but also wondering if she should consider a minor. She also has a passion for wildlife. Also, do you know anything about how housing works freshman year or where she should live? She is accepted to honors, as well. Should she be registering for housing now even without making a final decision? It seems that is done at some schools. So glad to hear of your son’s positive experience.
@Momoftxtwins ask for a tour of the vet school (you may have to call and set it up yourself). They are doing in person one-on-one tours. An ambassador (like my son) will give the tours. Also schedule a talk with the admissions department of the vet school. They can give you some good information about potential jobs etc. Those meetings were very helpful when we toured undergrad. (I know her plan is to go back to TX but the tour and talk can help set a foundation to look for jobs). My son just decided not to come back to TX! I would also talk to the Honors college and to the study abroad department. We were able to just walk to their office and talk to someone but in these COVID Days I would talk to them. Meet with the head of the department she plans on majoring in. My son met with the animal science people. The biology or chemistry departments would be good choices. Ask about potential to help in labs after freshman year. My son ended up doing that through physics. In the honors college ask about the english offerings they plan on in the fall and the chemistry class. As for housing my son lived in Wefald Hall the newest of the dorms by far. It was very nice. It did have mainly community bathrooms. He ended up only living there for one semester and then moved into a frat house for the rest of his undergraduate (He was only undergrad three years and was president of the frat his last year). His girlfriend lived in Haymaker and really enjoyed it. If I remember correctly they had bathrooms shared by suite. It is older and honestly isn’t much to look at but she said the atmosphere was great. It is also closer to the vet school, animal science classes and science classes. Those are the two I know the most about. She only lived there a year and then lived in the sorority house for two years and is now in a rented house with friends her senior year. We went ahead and chose and paid deposits for housing at the three top schools we had. We were able to easily get refunds at the two we chose not to go to. That way we got on the list early for course registration and knew we would get our choice of housing. You can pick up minors when you get into the school. My son didn’t even realize he was only one course short of a minor! My view is to talk to as many people as you can get appointments with. They weren’t all that thrilled we set up a lot of our own appointments but it was well worth it! I was the least impressed with the admissions department on our visit but very impressed with everyone else we met with. I think they knew we were admitted and let the specialist talk about what we really wanted to know. I also think it was an off day when we went (The week before fall term stated). I would stay at the Bluemont Hotel or the Holiday Inn Manhattan at the Campus. Both are right across the street. We stayed at the Holiday Inn when visiting because it is very close to the welcome center and just walked over there. Now when I visit I stay at the Bluemont because it is nicer. If you get any time in Kansas City go to the Art Museum, it is fantastic! Do you want chemistry or biology? I can ask his girlfriend if she has any particular people for you to talk to. She is a chemistry major/pre-med or PA she hasn’t quite decided because she is going to take a gap year and work so save money. Both kids had lives and had top grades. For my son the key is that he has gone into vet school without being burned out like some of his classmates are. He came in ready to go and completely prepared! If you need anything else please message me! We are from the Houston area so similar transition and it was no issue - there are a lot of Texans at K-State. Good luck!
Thank you again! Now you have us very excited. This is so helpful and exactly what we needed to hear! We are going to call tomorrow to set up meetings. We are also from Houston. My daughters go to St. Agnes. Small world! Your son is living my daughter’s dream. She has also known since she was very young that she wanted to pursue veterinary medicine, unlike her twin whose interests have shifted around a bit. You give me hope this can all work out for her in spite of all the horror stories we hear about vet school admissions. I will probably come back to you with more questions in the future. We did drive to Kansas State and spend a couple of hours walking around earlier this summer when the campus was closed, but now we are trying to do a deep dive.
Momocarly - thanks so much for taking the time to share your knowledge. We are out of state and haven’t visited yet (I kept thinking the covid situation would improve and campus would be more “normal” or representative of itself in a few months). Did you visit other schools in the area? We’re also looking at University of Kansas, Iowa State and University of Missouri (Columbia). If by any chance you visited any of those as well, I’d love to hear if any of those had advantages or disadvantages (other than the community aspect – it sounds like nowhere else could stack up to KSU on that front). I know no one has enough time, so know that even quick top-of-mind thoughts on the comparison would be greatly appreciated!
@LFishback We did visit Iowa State and University of Kansas (this one was more a drive by visit). I don’t know much about Missouri. Iowa State is a fantastic school. I had an intern at work that was going there and we hired him after he graduated. He has been one of our more outstanding interns (engineering). He really liked Iowa State but not the area around it. He had a great education. My son was not sold on the school but I can’t even put my finger on why. I think the area wasn’t what he liked, it was pouring and our tour guide was lackluster. It was our first visit and he just didn’t get the “We want you here” feeling that he wanted. I think a big thing was the study abroad people met with us for all of about 3 minutes and the Honors program had their doors locked at the time we were supposed to be there. I think it has great academics and I have often given it as a great choice.
KU is also a very good college. It did not have the major that my son wanted so we really just drove through it. He and his gf know people that go there and are very happy. I think if the student was a business major I would suggest KU. It has different areas of emphasis. It has a larger college feel to it. He did not like the fraternity life there when he looked into it. He felt it was a little too out of control. He thought that the vibe of Iowa State and KSU were better in that respect. He wasn’t sure at that time if he even wanted to be in a fraternity but didn’t want a too-wild environment.
Educationally I think that all of them will give you what you put into it. I give the edge to Iowa State in Engineering but KSU just built a new facility with some excellent resources and graduated its largest class ever in engineering. It really depends on the student and the fit. Many of my son’s friends were engineers and all either had good jobs or chose to go on to grad school.
I really think that is is going to be how your student feels about the environment. All have good scholarships. Financially we had the best deal at KSU. Others have different results. I think any of the schools you are looking at would be great. You get out of the school what you put into it!
Thank you so much! This is very helpful. Your comments about your ISU visit is so true – it’s unnerving really, how much influence a lackluster guide or bad weather can have. On paper, my kid and I both think Iowa looks ideal, but I do worry Iowa winters may be a shock to my Kentucky kid’s system!
I’m glad to have read your take on KSU – my impression was that there’s something very special there culturally, but you never know if that’s real or just a fluke of the online ratings in a particular year (KSU really blows out the lists for happiest students, quality of life, etc.). And even when we visit, I’m sure campuses won’t really feel like themselves over the next couple of months…so it’s great to read I’m not imagining it, KSU is a wonderful community!