Ball State University
Ball State University - Comments and Student Experiences|
The university itself is rather large, with about 20,000 students or so. Buildings are relatively spread out, but the city operates a bus system (free for students) with four routes running through the heart of campus. There is also a private, yet sluggish shuttle bus system operated by the University.
Academically speaking, Ball State has plenty of programs to choose from, and small class sizes in general. Some of the lower level courses will feature a small lecture hall with at least 50 students, but if taking a lower level "core curriculum" course expect to get lumped into a lecture hall with 500 students. Professors here are very helpful and friendly, and are usually available as often as possible. Almost all of the courses here are taught by professors, which is unheard of for a school of this size.
The school is extremely technologically advanced and prides itself on being the number one wireless campus in the nation. Networking here is excellent, from online courses to Internet access to telephone services. There are literally thousands of computers here, the library is HUGE and features plenty of resources for students, and there are smaller computer labs scattered around campus.
Ball State has a well maintained campus, with plenty of trees, walking paths and open spaces. There is a nature preserve and two ponds on campus, as well. Campus is slightly hilly and most beautiful during the summer and fall, with plenty of flowers and very colorful trees. Many of the buildings here have cool architecture. There's quite a few relaxtion and "chill-out" spots on campus, like under the bell tower, by the fountain outside the library, and at the memorial near the Student Center. The school is safe for the most part, althought we get a good share of non-violent crimes. University cops generally aren't well liked due to issues they've had with handling students in the past.
Living on campus is decent, but not great. Dining options are good, but still relatively limited for such a large school. Over 7,000 students live in the residence halls, and perhaps 1,000 more live in the campus apartments, which suck even more than the dorms. On a positive note, the school is in the process of adding and renovating its residence halls because of the growing enrollment. Some of the older residence halls are bland and have limited amenities, but the newer halls are top-notch when it comes to providing an optimal living environment for a kid in college. Freshmen tend to live in the older dorms and upperclassmen live in the newer dorms. Living preference is important because some of the dorms provide a close knit environment for students while others don't, so it really depends on the hall where you live.
Parking is terrible of course, but what college doesn't have terrible parking options?
Greek life is good, overall. There's a great selection of clubs to choose from on-campus, and there hasn't been any major issues between the school and the fraternities and sororities in the time that I've been here.
Social life at Ball State is decent, but could be better. Be careful because many of the students here are closed-minded, almost to the point of being afraid of other students...but there are also many open and friendly students here as well willing to socialize and meet new people. There's always something to get into on campus during the day, but weeekends tend to be dead on campus as many of the people who live on campus leave for the weekends. Intramural sports are popular here. Students tend to be more social on warmer days. There isn't a whole lot of diversity because most of the students are white and middle to upper middle-class kids from Indiana; however the school is working on it. In terms of social climate, I would say that Ball State tends to lean liberal, but many students here seem to be apathetic to anything and everything...except parties of course.
You may have heard that Ball State has somewhat of a reputation for being a party school, but this reputation is dwindling now that the school is maintaining focus on its academic repuation and becoming more picky about who gets in and what goes on off campus. Don't get me wrong, parties are still abundant here and in full force. In fact, I know quite a few people here who party ALL THE TIME. Friday and Saturday nights from July until November is the most lively time period for parties, especially during the start of fall semester and during football season, but afterwards there seems to be a dropoff once cold weather and finals kicks in.
And speaking of football, the school has excellent athletic facilities. The basketball stadium is still relatively new and the football stadium was expanded and remoldeled last year. They're both great places to see a game, although school spirit seems to be a bit lacking during the games. The athletic program has had issues retaining its staff and recruiting good players, but its improving (albeit slowly). Now, if only the teams could start winning...
Be wary that the surrounding community is, for lack of a better word, a DUMP. This is perhaps the most saddening aspect of Ball State...of all the college towns in the world, Muncie, Indiana just might be the most depressing of them all. Muncie is a Rust-Belt city still bleeding from the loss of jobs in the auto industry, so it's no surprise that there isn't much of an economy willing to provide things to do for bored college kids. In addition, many locals here tend to have a negative attitude towards Ball State students because they think we're all arrogant rich kids who want to take over their city. On the plus side, Ball State is an hour's drive from Indianapolis, which has much more to get into. Many students leave for Indy on the weekends.
I think I've covered just about everything here. I believe Ball State is a good choice for a large liberal arts university in the Midwest, and for those of you in-state, a viable alternative to both Purdue and IU. The school has a good academic reputation, and some of the outstanding and nationally programs include architecture, entrepreneurship, telecommunications, and journalism just to name a few. The education program is also very good here, and Ball State produces more teachers than any other university in Indiana. Graduate school is also good here and there are plenty of programs to choose from.Personally, I find Ball State to be somewhat lukewarm and almost bland for my tastes, but that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't a good school. So despite not being a particularly challenging or exciting school in my opinion, I can still say that Ball State is certainly a well-rounded and fulfilling one and will satisfy most every prospective student who is considering enrolling.