Southeastern Oklahoma State University – Affordable Education

Southeastern Oklahoma State University – Affordable Education

Southeastern Oklahoma State University, located just north of the Texas Red River border, is within the large town of Durant, Oklahoma. Durant is the tribal headquarters for the Choctaw Nation, and their hotels, theater, and casino attract a steady stream of visitors from the Dallas area with multiple star-talent concerts every month. In fact, Reba is a graduate of Southeastern. The town’s population is approximately 17,000, and the town feels as it is transforming from a sleepy community close to Lake Texhoma’s recreational experiences to a bustling community on a growth spurt. Oklahoma City and Tulsa are both two and a half hours from Durant while Dallas is an hour and half drive south. Oklahoma became a state in 1907 and Southeastern was founded in 1919.

The campus is close to the town’s center and spread across 269 acres. It felt like an easy campus to maneuver with buildings clustered together. I didn’t encounter any roads closed to vehicular traffic and parking didn’t seem to be an issue as it is with most campuses. Everyone I talked to was helpful. I asked the admission’s rep what she liked best about Southeastern. A graduate, she didn’t hesitate to say the small calls size and the interest faculty takes in students.

Southeastern Oklahoma State is home to 5000 students and offers over 60 majors and degree option. Student to Faculty ration is 20:1, and the college is active in NCAA Division II Athletics. Southeastern provides an affordable education with undergraduate tuition for 2016-17 at $198/credit hour for in-state students and $507/out-of-state hour. Like other public colleges in Oklahoma, Southeastern waives out-of-state tuition for the first two semesters, to attract students from other states. Waivers continue at 100% for students maintaining a 3.5 GPA and at 90% for those with a 3.0 to 3.49 GPA. Those maintaining at 2.0 GPA will have 75% of out-of-state fees waived.

Average yearly cost for in-state tuition is $12,000 while out-of-state students pay approximately $18,400. Clearly a bargain for students who can maintain a healthy GPA.

Admission requirement are a minimum ACT composite of 20 or SAT equivalent (combined critical reading and math). Student in the top 50% of their graduating class with a 2.7 GPA are also accepted as well as students with a 2.7 GPA from a state-accredited high school in the 15-unit Oklahoma Core Curriculum.

Among majors students can choose from is a B.S. in Aviation Management. Located at the Aviation Sciences Institute, SE offers options in Business, Safety, Maintenance Management, and Security and students can participate in the Pilot Pipeline Program. I found this interesting as becoming a pilot is an expensive endeavor, and the SE program looks like an affordable option with multiple paths within their Institute.

Who would be a good candidate for Southeastern Oklahoma State University? The student who is budget-minded and enjoys a rural environment.  Check out Southeastern Oklahoma State University at www.SE/edu.

Austin College – A College Worth Remembering

Austin College – A College Worth Remembering

Austin College is a liberal arts college located on 85 beautiful tree-lined acres in the sleepy but charming and historic town of Sherman, forty-five minutes northeast of Dallas and close to the Oklahoma border. It’s several hours north of Austin, Texas so don’t confuse the two. 80% of students live on campus and choose from more than 55 areas of study.

The campus is filled with massive trees, surrounding and within well-manicured lawns. I visited on a cold, gloomy, gray day which allowed the lawns to pop with green against the dreary sky. Students sat huddled together, talking in low voices, within the student center while others spread out with papers and computers in tow. It had a serious, intent vibe, that those out and about were directed and motivated, and those in the student center were focused and studying. The dining center had floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the grounds, and on a beautiful day would have been a delightful setting for meals and intriguing conversations.

Wynne Chapel, nestled between academic buildings, sits close to the student center and stands out among the building. Wooden pews, simple design, and beautiful organ pipes behind the alter evoke a place of calm spirituality.

Unique programs include students investing and managing real money through their Million dollar Williams Student Investment firm. Students can participate in Mock Trial, Mediation, and Moot Court tournaments as well as in Model United Nations programs. Austin College also houses a Center for Research, Experiential, Artistic and Transformative Education (CREATE) for those students seeking research and creative activities.

Austin College seems to have something for every student and almost every student takes advantage of the multitude of experiences offered. 75% complete internships! 90% participate in community service! 75% study internationally! The college offers Jordan Family Language House with immersive language learning in Chinese, Spanish, German, French, and Japanese. Global Outreach Fellowships allow 10 to 15 students funding for summer international service projects. A dorm for juniors and seniors help them transition into life beyond campus. The college offers more than 70 campus organizations and has a recreational complex at Lake Texhoma for swimming and camping.

Robust career services help prepare students for life after graduation with etiquette dinners, mock interviews, and resume preparation. 80% of students in health sciences and law studies are typically accepted into their respective graduate or professional programs and 63% of graduates pursue advanced degrees.

97% of 2016 graduates completed their degree in four years or less. Wow! Cost of attendance is $37,340 for tuition while room and board was $12,082. The average gift-aid was $28,745 in 2015. 75% of students received merit-based scholarships. 74% of students ranked in the top 25% of their high school class. Applicants may apply via or Early Decision deadline is November 1, and two Early Action Deadlines are December 1 and January 15. Regular Decision deadline is March 1.  44% are ethnic minorities.

Austin College receives yearly independent recognition too.

Colleges That Change Lives

Fiske Guide: Best Buy

Forbes: America’s Top Colleges

U.S News: Best Colleges

Washington Monthly: Best Band for the Buck Colleges


Learn more at

University of Texas – Arlington

University of Texas – Arlington

Undergraduate enrollment 30,600. Total enrollment over 50,000. In-state tuition for 2017 $9700. Out of state $23,500. Total cost of attendance for in-state was 23,744 for 2016-17 and $37,048 for out-of-state. Rolling admission and $60.00 application fee. Acceptance rate was 64%.

Arlington is located between Dallas and Ft. Worth and just a few miles from campus are the stadiums for both the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. A Six Flags Amusement park is within eyeshot of both stadiums. I parked on the east side of campus, in one of several multi-level garages which looked freshly built and housed eateries, apartment-style dorms, and shops. Across the street was a center for plays, lectures, and other activities. The area reminded me of a trendy, upscale shopping center with apartment living above the retail establishments.

The campus feel is one that is busy, with a central pedestrian walkway through the main academic area and housing on the east and west ends. While taking the tour, I felt as if we walked from one eating establishment to another. The buildings appeared modern, and the oldest building remaining was built in the early 20th century. There’s housing for approximately 5000 students so there’s a commuter feel and both of my tour guides commuted from home.

Students admitted from the top quarter of their high school class have no minimum ACT/SAT score while those in second quarter averaged 22 ACT/1130 SAT scores. Students applying from the bottom half of their class are admitted under individual review. UT-Arlington also offers a summer bridge program for students who are short of their admission requirements. Students must complete the FAFSA for financial aid and completing a supplemental UTA form puts the student in contention for all institutional scholarships.

UTA is a leader in online coursework and over 50% of students take at least one class online.  UTA is a Level 1 Research institution and Hispanic-serving institution. One tour guide was majoring in engineering and said there were research opportunities for upper classmen. The university is organized into twelve colleges including an honors program. Freshmen enter into University College and branch into other colleges after their first year. Popular majors include health sciences and business. UTA graduated more nurses than any other institution in Texas. Tour guides also stated internships were plentiful with a wealth of businesses in Dallas and Ft. Worth.

My impression of the college is that it would be a good fit for a student not needing a collegiate vibe present at campuses with more student housing. There would be plenty of opportunities to take advantage of in the urban setting but students would need to seek out those experiences. Acceptance rate is 60%.

Undergraduate General Application Deadlines:

Fall Semester:                   June 1

Spring Semester:             December 1

Summer Semester:         April 1

Minding the Gap Year – Part 2

Minding the Gap Year – Part 2



I thought I would make a list of gap year program websites after attending a recent college fair for gap year programs that was put on by USA GAP YEAR FAIRS but have changed my mind on the list. I couldn’t believe what happened when I arrived at the gap year college fair. The parking lot at the school was full, and when I walked into the school’s library, the two levels were jammed with so many people I had to cut through book stacks to collect literature from every program. Every table have five to fifty parents and students surrounding it! I was shocked.

Thirty-five programs filled the library. There had to have hundreds of parents and students waiting to talk with representatives. What I learned was that instead of listing link after link to different programs, it would be better to list links to American Gap Association Why? Because I’m a huge fan of professional associations that self-regulate members. After visiting American Gap Association’s website, I found they provide links to many different programs as well as they have continued accreditation system. That’s important because anytime a gap year program changes hands, new owners must seek accreditation.

When I visited American Gap Association’s website, sixteen programs were listed as current in their accreditation. I would rather provide a link to them so that those interested in gap years can find the latest programs that have been accredited as well as reviews of those programs They also shared the website of thirty-one programs that were not accredited. I found that interesting. Not all were gap programs, some links were to books.

I was interested in advice about taking a gap year. What I found helpful was that the site advocated for students taking care of college business – deferrals, deposits, and questions to determine how much time to devote to a gap experience as well as self-reflect on the reason for the experience. It’s important to understand how to keep oneself safe while traveling and why it’s happening.

Want to read more about the benefits of taking a gap year? American Gap Association stays current and links to articles on the gap experience.

Attending the fair enlightened me as to how much there is to learn about gap years. It’s a growing movement for students to take a year off from college, but not for play although there’s fun to be had. Gap years afford students a time to learn outside of the straight academic trajectory, a time to inform the subsequent college years.