was not my first choice school. The reason I went
here was for the Musical Theatre Program. They have great
fine arts programs here, but that's pretty much it. Let
me start out about why the school is great.
offers a small classroom environment with class sizes ranging from
12-30, so your professors generally know who you are. The
theatre and dance department is very good, classes are very
relavent and challenging and they are currently working on building
a new theatre and dance center. The campus itself is
really pretty but there's only about 2 blocks of it.
Now for some not so great things about the Musical
Theatre program... When I first auditioned for the Musical Theatre
program at Millikin the staff wanted to make it clear
that there is NO CUT SYSTEM. I have found that
this statement is VERY misleading. At the end of freshman
year, you have to pass “hurdles”. If you fail to
pass your hurdles, you are dropped from the program. The
freshman class of Musical Theatre is 30... the senior class
is about 12. I'm sure some people dropped, but every
year these hurdles must be achieved to progress in the
program. Rather than paying special attention to the students and
nurturing their success in the program like many MT schools,
it is immediately competitive. Freshmen are required to audition for
mainstage productions and pass the Level 1 Curriculum for music
students for their voice lessons; regardless of how much music
theory training you've had in your life. So if you
don't know any theory, you're pretty much screwed since you
don't take that until your sophomore year - if you
make it to your sophomore year, that is. Overall, the
theatre department is great, with very nice staff (there are
a few snooty professors, as to be expected with theatre)
and it provides many performance opportunities for everyone on campus,
not just theatre majors.
I'm deeply considering dropping my Musical
Theatre major, so this is where the real dilemma comes
in. If I were to major in another area of
study, I would in no way get the same quality
of education that I am receiving in my theatre courses.
Professors don't stick around for too long - in fact,
my current seminar professor is new and has no idea
what the hell she is doing. She emails one of
my other professors associated with the class for approval..... when
she in no way needs to. The fact that my
professor revealed this information to our class is concerning enough.
Extra-curriculars are okay. There's a decent amount of organizations
to get involved with and a lot of Greek Life.
In terms of the party scene, the only thing there
really is to do is go to frat parties, which
to me, is pretty boring. There are really no huge
parties either, considering there are only about 2000 students here.
Sports teams are generally awful and football games are a
waste of time.
The social scene is so cliquey, especially
when you're in the theatre department. I feel like I'm
in high school all over again. There's not much diversity,
mostly it's a ton of middle class white kids. I
haven't met very many bright people here as basically everyone
who applies gets into the school and usually gets a
pretty decent amount of scholarship so that they'll stick around.
The surrounding town is AWFUL. Decatur is an economic wreck.
There's not much to around Decatur and Millikin advises students
not to wander off campus because of safety risks. Merely
wandering 100 feet off campus, I ran into a barren
wasteland with a single shirtless drunk guy. I don't feel
safe in this town or campus (at night at least
on campus) and already there have been a few reported
armed robberies in stores only a block away from campus.
Creepy people walk in the campus town at all times
of days and students barely use it.
Dorms are overpriced,
especially for what they offer. They're not well-maintained and only
offer a few crappy lounges and about two vending machines.
The freshman meal plan is a ripoff and does not
roll over your meals - if you don't use all
3 meals every day on cafeteria food, you're wasting your
money. The cafeteria food is the worst I've ever experienced
in comparison to visiting a few other colleges and offers
a very slim variety of foods. Every other food place
on campus closes at 11pm, except for Dominos pizza. There
are very seldom options for food besides the cafeteria, subway,
jimmy jons, dominos, 2 overpriced cafes and the C store
(which barely offers anything).
I also feel totally trapped.
There is pretty much no way to get out of
this place if you live in Illinois and want to
go home. Your best bet is to make a friend
with a car who lives near you. There is no
train station in Decatur and the nearest ones are in
Champaign and Springfield. To get to these stations you have
to take a grey hound from a really shady motel.
Overall, Millikin is a great school if you wish to
be involved with fine arts or just want a small
campus setting and wish to STAY on the campus all
the time. There's not much to do in Decatur or
really on campus either unless you take advantage of student
life. There are a lot of frat parties, but nothing
really huge and school pride/football games are basically non-existant. Don't
go to Millikin if you're looking for the stereotypical college
experience or wish to be apart of the community outside
of you school.
I'll be transferring to a larger,
Chicago-based school at the end of the year.