I'm not going to Webster this January. I lied. Instead I am going to UMSL. The reasons why are many, and overall I am happy about my decision. To make me feel a bit 'happier' with all of this I'm going to outline pros and cons vs Webster and UMSL.
Webster Pros - - -
Intellectually I think I would have been a good fit. Small classes in a liberal arts college was exactly what I was looking for. There was something very charming to me when it came to Webster, before I even thought people needed to go to college I can remember driving past it and thinking that there was something prestigious about Webster. I loved the old buildings, the small student population, and the location location location.
Webster Cons - - -
The cost. I was prepared to pay the price of Webster when I was under the impression that I was getting a superb education. But when I hear Webster's own advisors tell me their science department is "subpar compared to most local high schools" I just couldn’t justify spending 25 K there anymore...and while we're talking advising let me tell you something. Webster's sucks, hard. Their advisors are not real advisors, as I found out the hard way. They're professors that just lend a helping hand. They have less of an understanding of requirements than I do, and their advice differs between person to person on things like which classes can be applied to your degree, and how long it will take you to graduate. They lost my transcripts several times, getting anyone to follow up with you was a struggle, and I just had an overall feeling of sloppiness when dealing with them. Also, classes were dropped willy-nilly, and a lot of the required classes that I needed were only offered every other semester, which was a huge deal in how long it would take me to graduate. Also, they really made me feel kind of shitty when it for transferring from a community college. One of my advisors didn't want to accept a class that was transferable from my transcripts because, well, I took it at STLCC…
UMSL Pros - - -
Cheaper, like half as much as I was planning to spend at Webster. They're a large university with a lot of opportunity to get a really decent education. I loved all of my advisors; everyone was extraordinarily helpful and willing to show me exactly where I needed to go and what I needed to do. They worked some real magic to get me in as quick as they did, and a lot of people bent over backwards for me. I recognized the gesture and was thankful for it. I really felt like they cared about my education, and cared about working with me. I know they get paid to do that, but that is a large part why they do their job so well. They have paid advisors that know their department’s degree’s and know what it is they’re talking about. It seemed like UMSL is way better equipped to deal with someone that is not an A-typical student. The only thing I missed out on were quite a few of the scholarships that I would have been eligible for since I was enrolling so late, but my Biology advisor is trying to work some voodo on that for me to see if I can squeeze into any. He was thrilled to have me in his program and had nothing but compliments for me when he saw my GPA and some of the professors I’ve had at STLCC.
UMSL Cons - - -
So. Far. Away. It's a 45 minute drive on a good day, and OMD the campus is HUGE. Some of my classes will have more students than I graduated from high school with. I know I'll get the hang of it but I feel a little overwhelmed with how big everything is there. Also, when I have a few hours down time between classes, I’m going to be stuck on campus. There will be no driving home to let my dogs out and eat and unwind. And this is pretentious of me, I know, and I’m kind of ashamed to write it…. but while I was at STLCC I met a lot of people that were transferring to UMSL and I would look at them and think to myself… I do not want to be them. They were just caricatures of college students, and I thought them to be exasperating and simple. They weren’t there to learn, they were there to try and have sex and scrape by with the lowest GPA possible to keep from getting expelled. I think that has been my biggest hold up with UMSL when it comes down to it. I don't want to be that person that is going to UMSL, so I’ll have to be that other person that is going to UMSL.
So, now that I've had a few days to chew on my decision, I'm feeling good about it. I'm going to get out of UMSL what it is I put into it, and I have really high expectations for myself. I think I made the right choice in switching from a major in math to a major in science as well. (for those of you that didn’t know) Though I love math, I think I would be sick of it in 5 -10 years, whereas with science thing are always new and changing. Plus, planning math lessons vs planning science lessons....well...there is really no comparison
…oh and the best part about UMSL…they don’t start classes till the 19th! Whee!