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Minnesota State University - Mankato

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If you want to be an IT majorBrightComputer Science
If you want to be an IT major specializing in Networking and Security, DO NOT come to MSU. Unless you want to come here to be nothing but a programmer, this campus is horrible. I am in 400 level courses and have not once touched a Cisco router or switch yet! Most of the IT people who are in the networking and security specialization cannot even tell you what a console port is, despite being 4th year students.

To top it off the campus stopped offering one of the 400 level NETWORKING classes I need to graduate under my bulletin, and they suggested that I take a PROGRAMMING course instead! The school does not even have a networking lab setup for students to even see or touch a router or switch. So far in at this campus I have programmed in C++, python, java, C#, SQL, HTML, and MIPS Assembly! I am a networking major! Not a programming major! Over 50% of the professors in the IT dept do not speak English as their first language, and the courses are either so easy anyone can pass, or you have to spend 80 hours a week working on busywork programming assignments just to pull off a C (I cannot tell you how many times I have had to program a freaking bubble sort algorithm in (insert any computer language here) from scratch. The amount you are going to actually LEARN will be very little, and if you are going into networking, you are going to learn next to nothing from the professors. And some of the stuff you will learn, will be wrong and not the way it is actually done in the industry. Like designing web pages using Visual Studio instead of dreamweaver. Be prepared to teach yourself everything!

This school might sound cheap, but their thirst for money is unreal, and you are left wondering where the heck the money you are giving them is going. At least that is how it is for the IT dept, where many of the courses you need are only offered once every two years (so once every two years only 30 students can take the course they need because the school wont offer that class more), and the courses they do offer every year are taught mostly by people who do not speak English, and do not seem to care one way or another if you succeed or fail, and have no interest helping you during your office hours.

As for the people down here...
The people down here are stuck up, arrogant, cliquey, and generally hard to get along with. About the only friends I have been able to make have been the other outcasts like me. You have to look for them, and they won't be hard to spot. They will likely be the only one trying and not stoned or drunk off their ass. Which is another thing. If all you want to do is major in gym or music or something easy like that, and be stoned, drunk, and at the bars your entire career, all while acting like a redneck who claims to love going muddin... then this is the college for you!If you are trying to go into networking, either pick a different (better) school, or save your money and spend it on getting certificates like the CCNA, CCNP, MCSE, etc, they will serve you better than a degree from this campus. I went to a community technical college for a year, and even first year students there could tell you how to setup a basic configuration on a router or switch... fourth year students here cannot even tell you what the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch is.

5th Year Male -- Class 2014
Campus Aesthetics: B+, Education Quality: F
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I transferred here from Concordia College, Moorhead (readQuite BrightMusic Education
I transferred here from Concordia College, Moorhead (read my review on that place as well). I was not expecting the program down here to be quite as good or the academic work to be quite as challenging (comparatively), but I can honestly say I would not recommend this place. I was able to get straight As my first semester of study without even trying and was quite bored with the work half the time.

If a person plans to major in music, especially Music Education, I would highly recommend a different place. For Dual-License (Instrumental and Vocal), the curriculum is designed for a six year degree (two different required classes are offered simultaneously and on an every other year basis, making it impossible to finish a degree in five). The core curriculum (Music Theory, Aural Skills, and History) is simplified so everybody has the ability to pass no matter how little they try as long as they understand the key points. (minor exaggeration, but it is much easier compared to the boot camp I experienced at Concordia)

Private Music Lessons are rather hit or miss. The instrumental lessons go from pretty good (from the adjunct faculty) to pretty mediocre (faculty on campus that would rather do their other jobs). In studio class, it seems as if the faculty (this is just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt) does not trust the students with giving other students constructive feedback and only seeks to mention what was missed when students do give feedback.

Voice lessons have the possibility to emphasize contemporary music over traditional music if a student desires. I do not think that kind of curriculum (up to 60% contemporary music) is relevant to a Music Educator in Minnesota (as solo contemporary repertoire is not appropriate at High School Contest). It seems to be more suited for Bachelor of Arts, Performance, and Industry majors than Education majors.

All in all, the only thing saving that music department is the quality of the ensembles. Both the Concert Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir are of extraordinary quality (especially for a public school). The disadvantage is that students can only be in one of those ensembles at a time. Since I need at least one of each, I had to be in the non-auditioned choir (which was quite disappointing).

This University has a decent campus, yet to live on it a person must spend a large amount of money (up to $3000 a year more than where I am going next year).

If a person wants to live on campus and/or purchase a meal plan, I would recommend the Maverick 160 and convert all of the meals to Flex Dollars. I would not recommend the cafeteria here (Carkoski Commons) at all because the food is the same day after day and is of sub-par quality.

I found it hard to get talk to students outside of my major. If they are not music majors or people I went to high school with, I have difficulty making real conversation with them (with a few exceptions).

There is 100 times the diversity here than there was at my old school, yet there is less to do because there is so much getting divided between every group. I lived in Stadium Heights Apartments for about 3 weeks (just off campus, but owned by the University) and as soon as Thursday night hit, parties would start right across the street. There seems to be many students getting pulled into that, which concerns me about what will happen in the long run.

Finally, the scholarships in my department did not amount to much. $1,500 the first year. $1,000 each additional year. *phew* Enough venting for one session. Long story short, by the end of my first semester here, I decided that it was not going to work out after a year. I am going to Bemidji State next year. On a positive note, Mankato State did help me figure out my values and who I really am, but had I the opportunity to rewind to one year ago, I would have gone up to Bemidji and skipped this place. The overall quality is not worth the money being paid.

1st Year Male -- Class 2017
Friendliness: A-, Useful Schoolwork: D+
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I am a freshman this year, and cameQuite BrightNursing
I am a freshman this year, and came here mostly because I knew people here. I was expecting to be challenged academically and helped along to achieve the goals I had in mind. But from orientation on, I've had a bad feeling about this place. My advisor started recommending classes that weren't required for my major and treated everyone like they were in ninth grade. The social environment here requires that you drink in order to have any fun. The school nearly promotes the practice by allowing a gated community that allows underage drunks to walk freely around the complex until they blackout at which point security step in only to send them to detox. Their thirst for your money here is unreal. The amount of money you get ripped off by staying in the dorms is unreal (2-3000$ a year). Tuition maybe cheap but that only because nobody can leave here in 4 years. The classes are easy yet 20% of the students still have to dropout of them for failing. If you have any chance at being somewhat successful go to the U of M. I sure wish I did.
1st Year Male -- Class 2017
Friendliness: B, Collaboration/Competitive: D-
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