the top of my head” - not a preplanned essay,
so bear with the stream of consciousness style ;)
I just happened to find this site while doing a
search to find out what Drew's tuition is nowadays.]
was the perfect school for me. The intimate, (mostly)
non-commuter campus gave me lots of friends to spend time
with. The fact that it's a competetive academic school meant
that most of my friends were academically supportive (no partying
till morning if there was a mid term the next
day!), and the majority of my classes (after the required
freshman surveys, anyway :) were challenging and provoking. I met
two really inspiring teachers on the campus, and they both
happened to be in the English department, which is how
I ended up an English major. I was worried
about having the generic “English” major, but one professor, Robert
Ready, (don't know if he's still there) encouraged me to
apply for a graduate program in Creative Writing. I
not only got into the program (which accepted six new
students each year), but I received an Assistantship that covered
my tuition and paid me a stipend to teach courses
at my grad school. Since my goal was to
get into education, I was very excited! Of my
fellow students, I felt that I was one of the
best prepared for the graduate school program - even though
I was the youngest there.
The extracurricular activities
at Drew were plentiful and it was fairly easy to
start a new group if needed. I was able
to do everything from bowl to take photographs for the
newspaper to play chess and backgammon to take part in
That Medieval Thing every spring. I was NEVER bored.
And when I was applying for jobs that included
writing, editing, and proposal-creating, it was often the skills I
learned in my extracurriculars that gave me the edge.
also remember being impressed by the staff my very first
month at Drew. The administrative building (Mead Hall) burned to
the ground something like two days before school started, and
the staff somehow pulled everything together to have a successful
Freshman Registration. It was pretty amazing, considering that all
of the records had been housed in that building!
used the career center both to get internships while I
was in school (I got one at a literary agent's
office in NYC that was absolutely my dream internship -
Drew has a bus that leaves from the front gate
and hits the city 45 minutes or so later, and
there are a LOT of great opportunities - work-wise, learning-wise,
and socially, if you're so inclined - in NYC!) and
to learn how to write resumes. And let me
tell you - I wrote very few resumes that did
*not* get me interviews, even when I was only marginally
qualified for the jobs! Those ladies really knew what
they were doing. The center is small and it
was never crowded when I was there, so the ladies
in charge always gave me their full attention.
has a good reputation among those who have heard of
it - which, at the time I went, was pretty
regional. But Gov. Kean took over as President in
my last year or two, and I've been amazed to
see how prominent Drew is becoming. Just a couple
of weeks ago, I heard on the news about a
national (was it security council?) meeting held on the campus.
They have preeminent people speaking there all the time
now, thanks of course to President Kean's reputation and standing
in the national arena. And the money that he's
brought into the school, to contribute the new arts center,
athletic center - I wish I could go to school
there NOW, too.
Drew is an expensive school. But
my other favored school was Princeton, whose tuition was similar,
and Drew was definitely the scholarship choice (they gave me
a scholarship for over half of my tuition cost, based
solely on my SAT scores.) Plus, of course, they
gave me my first laptop when I got there -
it's included in the tuition. They've always been a
school committed to technology. In fact, that's another way
I was much better versed than my fellows when competing
for jobs after school - I was completely comfortable with
any and all software applications I encountered, with the internet
(such that it was at the time), and computers in
general. I was competing (again, this was 12 years
ago - there have been gains on both sides now
:) - against people who had used typewriters or word
processors all through college. Drew's technology edge gave me
a distinct advantage over darned near everybody.
Do I think
a comparable academic education could be received elsewhere, for cheaper?
Absolutely. My graduate school education was top-drawer, and
that school's tuition measured in four digits, not five.
Good teachers are everywhere, if you can find them.
But I could never replace my total Drew experience anywhere
else, I wouldn't want to. I have a seven
month old son now, and I'm doing the frightening calculations
to figure out how much I have to save to
send HIM to Drew eighteen years from now, if he
should choose to go there. (That was the internet
search I was working on that led me to this
site in the first place.)
FYI, I spent several years
after graduate school working in corporate marketing, owned my own
specialty retail business for two years, and taught full time
for the past three years (a return to my original
plan :). I am now home with my son
full time, working as a teacher in one school and
as a specialist in gifted education in another - on
my own schedule.
One thing I wish I'd
known? DON'T make working for someone else your goal
- find a way to own your own business.
Be a consultant, build a company, go for the gold
- for money, for satisfaction, for being able to do
what you love - it's the best way. Make
friends with entrepreneurs, learn from their examples, find a niche,
and fill it. While you're a student is the
best time - SO many people will be willing to
have an 'informational interview' with you - and those interviews
Also - if going to Drew will
put you up to your ears in debt, and you
have another option that won't be nearly as taxing...DON'T go
there. I couldn't tell you enough good things about
this school, but avoid student debt AT ALL COSTS. IT WILL FOLLOW YOU FOR YEARS! You almost never
make the money you think you will the first few
years after college - and deferments and forebearances and all
those loan things really build up your debt big time.
A *little* debt to help - okay.
Financing an entire tuition the size of Drew's - bad!
Use judgment when making financial decisions like that.
I didn't have to use financial aid for Drew, thanks
to big scholarships and my parents - but I did
use them for a few grad school classes later on,
which were MUCH cheaper than Drew - and they're still
following me around.
If you're considering Drew and
have questions about it, I can answer any questions you
have about my experience. Just email me. Thanks.