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Norfolk State University

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Date: Dec 04 2013
Major: Political Science (This Major's Salary over time)
I graduated from NSU in 1998 - I completed my education in 4 1/2 years…hooray!! I must admit, in high school, I was a bright kid but I was your classic under-achiever. I had an above average SAT and a horrible GPA - I didn't apply myself and my grades reflected this, so I didn't have many choices in terms of colleges that would accept me. Luckily, NSU prides itself on granting students with high potential but poor performance a chance.

I'm originally from SC so I really didn't know much about NSU other than the fact that around the time I entered, it was one of the largest HBCUs, and they had an open admission policy. I quickly found that NSU is what you make it, and I'm happy to say that I took full advantage of the opportunities that the school afforded me. I majored in poli sci and most of my professors were excellent although some of the professors in other departments needed to retire! Honestly, I was able to land a few valuable internships in my major while at NSU. I was also impressed with most of the students in my department as well. Many of the discussions in my classes were both stimulating and energizing. I engaged in several discussions about world and historical events, philosophy, religion, the international drug trade, crime, the prison industrial complex, the black middle class, race relations, politics - I truly had some great classmates. Additionally, there was plenty to do on campus and in the surrounding area - lots of activities, intramural sports, academic / departmental clubs not to mention the fball and bball games! If you're from the North, you may find Norfolk to be unsophisticated and boring - it's not for everyone. Most of my classmates were from VA, DC, MD, NYC, NJ, NC or DE. We even had students from Cali; a pretty diverse group.

I now live in the DC area and I've remained in contact with several people I met while in college - thank God for Facebook, lol. Many of them went on to law, business or medical school. One of my close friends, who also graduated from NSU is a computer engineer for the CIA.

On the downside, despite the fact that NSU has several prominent alumni throughout Virginia, including local politicians, educators, business leaders, etc, the school does not have the best reputation in the local area. At times, it appears as though the VA Pilot, the local newspaper, has a vendetta against NSU. True, the neighborhoods surrounding the school are crime ridden but writers at the pilot always find a way to link incidents that occur in the community to the school, which contributes to our negative rep. Furthermore, NSU has abysmal business practices and many of the staff are unhelpful. I was there this summer and no one could tell me where I could make copies. I was sent to three different buildings before giving up. Moreover, leadership and governance has been a huge issue since the departure of HB Wilson.

Several imporvements to the campus have been made since I left, including the new library, student apartments, the new baseball field and the new student union building.

Additionally, the lax admission policy works for students like me, but living in Scott Hall was like living in the projects. I declare, it seemed like many of the guys there were released from prison shortly before enrolling. Many of them simply did not care about school and literally did not go to class - at all. Sadly, many of them did not take advantage of their situation and ended up either dropping out or flunking out. This contributes to the low graduation rate - the lowest in VA! I honestly believe that NSU would benefit from being more selective with regard to their admissions requirements and provide more support and guidance to students, particularly first year and non traditional students.

Part of me wishes that I would have applied myself more in high school but overall, my experiences at NSU, good and bad, contributed to who I am today! Although NSU needs to make some improvments, I can honestlysay that I'm grateful to the school for granting my an opportunity to better myself. I recently went to my high school reunion and out of 105 people in my class, I'm one of eight who obtained a Masters Degree and I now own my own business and I consult at agencies where I supervise people who went to Georgetown, Columbia, Fordham, Southern Cal, Yale, Michigan and Colgate - Thanks NSU!!

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