Looking at Colleges (Pros and Cons)

I’ve been visiting colleges lately, for reasons that should be obvious to those who have ever visited colleges. Because I live in New York and am not super rich, I’ve only been looking at SUNY schools within the state. For those unfamiliar with SUNY (I assume that would include anyone who doesn’t live in New York), I will allow their website to explain it to you:

“The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. Our impact in New York State and across the globe begins with our 64 institutions, including research universities, academic medical centers, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, colleges of technology and an online learning network. We educate approximately 463,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs, and nearly 2 million in workforce and professional development programs. Our nearly 3 million SUNY alumni are located around the globe, each making their own unique impact.”

That’s right. Not feeling so great now, huh, New Jersey? I bet you guys don’t even have a comprehensive university system, whatever that is.

Moving on . . .

The good thing about a SUNY college is that it’s much cheaper to attend if you live within the state, and most of them are well respected, and they cost less than those fancy colleges all those politicians keep bragging about. So if I’m going to be accepted into any college in the future (fingers crossed), it’s going to be one of these.

My family’s been visiting a lot of them recently, and I was impressed by each one of them. Although admittedly, I am easily impressed. Once they mention the free food, I’m sold. The problem is, going on college tours is a lot of work. There’s a lot of walking involved, and they always show you a fake and generic video at the beginning. You know, the ones with the cheerful music in the background, where everyone looks so, so happy: “Going to [Insert school] really helped me broaden my horizons and gave me the confidence I needed to succeed!” says at least one overly-cheery attractive student in each video.

I don’t want any of you to have to go through that pain. So if you’re thinking about visiting Stonybrook, Oswego, Binghamton, SUNY Buffalo, Plattsburg or Oneonta, don’t bother. Just read what I have to say about them, and then use that information to make what is possibly the biggest decision of your entire life.

Plattsburg

Pros:

  • There were two students throwing a frisbee across a field to each other when we visited. That was nice.
  • We were crossing the street during the tour and a group of (presumably) students in a car shouted “PICK PLATTSBURG! FUCK YEAH!” very loudly as they drove by. I am inclined to listen to their advice.
  • Their ski club is very popular, because they live like, ten feet away from a bunch of mountains.
  • According to their website, in order to get accepted, your grades have to be about a B or better, and the recommended SAT score is a 1,000 or higher (not including the writing portion.) C+ grades are considered borderline. I find this refreshing, because unlike all the other schools, I know I actually have a good chance of getting into this one.
  • I visited this place a year ago, so that’s really all I can remember.

Cons:

  • Plattsburg is in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a five hour drive from my home. It’s located way up north, and do you know what the population of Northern New York would be if not for Plattsburgh? The answer is zero, because no one lives up there but them. Maybe a few deer, and one lonely moose, but that’s it.
  • Then again, if you’re an introvert, that could be a good thing.
  • It gets very cold in the winter. Lots of snow, and I assume there’s no one to clear the roads because as I mentioned, no one actually lives up there.
  • The tour guide so very clearly did not want to giving that tour. She rolled her eyes a lot, which made me roll my eyes in response. But as someone who used to have a severe problem with accidentally rolling their eyes at people, I didn’t hold it against her.

Oneonta

Pros:

  • Everyone there was friendly and likeable.
  • It’s smack dab right in the middle of New York state, and is not too long a drive over from where I live.
  • Once again I saw two people throwing a frisbee together, and I took that as a good sign.
  • It’s apparently nicknamed “Stoneonta” due to the abnormally high use of marijuana among the student body. The fact that this is listed in the pros section says troubling things about my character.

Cons:

  • I had a sprained ankle at the time, so I just sat in the lobby reading the newspaper while the rest of my family went on the tour. So I’m not really qualified to say anything about this school because I don’t actually know anything about it.
  • I do know that they gave away free water bottles in the admissions office, but there were the tiny ones, and it was frowned upon to drink more than one. Those cheap bastards.

Binghamton

I went to this college less than a week ago, so I remember it fine.

Pros:

  • The tour guide was wonderful. She was fun, she spoke clearly, and she was just really great at her job.
  • The place really seemed like it had a nice community feel to it. I felt like this would be the type of college where it would be particularly easy to meet new people and make friends.
  • There were vending machines everywhere, which is great, but I have a complaint about them, (see below).
  • A group of kids were spotted playing ultimate frisbee outside.
  • Their school mascot is the wonderful Baxter the Bearcat, who was apparently voting #6(?) in a ranking of the nation’s most intimidating mascots. Roar!
  • You know Flo, from those Progressive commercials? Yeah, she went to Binghamton.

Cons:

  • There was really not a whole lot to complain about here, but I’ll do my best.
  • You have to pay to use the gym, which is disappointing. I mean, I know I’m never going to use the gym anyway, but I’d like to at least have the option..
  • During the tour I was getting thirsty, so I quickly snuck off to one of the vending machines to get a bottle of gatorade. I has hoping to quickly put the money in, get the drink and return to everyone else before they disappeared, but nope, the machine refused to take my money until like, the fifteenth try. I know this happens with many vending machines, but I choose to believe the school was behind this.

Stonybrook

Pros:

  • The place has a really good Pre-Med program, which is nice for those like me who are considering taking that pre-med journey.
  • The place also has a good journalism program, which is nice for those like me who are considering a career in journalism.
  • In at least one of their classrooms, they had outlets connected to the desks, so you could charge your phone during class. This may be the single best selling point the school has.

Cons:

  • The students giving the tour were very annoying, mostly because they kept repeating stupid cliche phrases and making terrible jokes. Their jokes were so bad that they single-handedly restarted my eye-rolling habit.
  • There weren’t many open spaces of grass, and so I didn’t see anyone throwing a frisbee around. That is a very bad sign.
  • The requirements to get in were much higher than say, Plattsburgh, which is discouraging.
  • It’s located in Long Island, and I’m not a fan of Long Island. I know I poke fun at New Jersey and Upstate New York a lot, but I actually love both of those places. (Except for New Jersey.) But there’s something about Long Island that gives me bad vibes. Not to mention, whenever someone mentions Long Island, I think of the color gray. If anyone from Long Island has some sort of insight onto why that is, please comment below.
  • My parents loved Stonybrook, and neither of them have shut up about it since. “Matt, why don’t you want to go Stonybrook?” “Matt, you should go to Stonybrook. I think you’d do well there.” “‘Long Island gives me bad vibes,’ is a really stupid reason not to go to a school, Matt.”

Suny Buffalo

Pros:

  • There was a really good restaurant nearby that sold amazing wings.
  • Unlike Stonybrook and Binghamton, I’m reasonably sure I could get into this place.
  • The college has free HBO Go, which is it’s #1 selling point, as far as I’m concerned.
  • The bathrooms are nice.

Cons:

  • The place was huge. Twas the size of a not-so-small city, which is way too big for me. Also,
  • The dorms and the hallways that I saw were surprisingly ugly. I know looks aren’t everything, but compared to the modern-looking hotel feel of Binghamton, a large portion of what I saw looked like it was taken straight out of my junior high school.
  • Junior high sucked, by the way.
  • Those familiar with the area surrounding Buffalo should know that it gets a ridiculous amount of snow during the winter. I believe it got six feet this last one during one storm alone.
  • Also, it’s very windy there, and that was during an otherwise normal day. I can only imagine how an even windier day would feel when it’s twenty degrees below zero.
  • There is another college in New York with Buffalo in its name, and I find that unnecessarily confusing. Chances are I’m going to put the wrong college in my GPS and I’ll accidentally end up driving all the way over there on my first day.
  • They bragged about having a quidditch team. I’d be excited, if not for the fact that every other college I visited had also had one as well.

Oswego

Pro:

  • I really liked Oswego, despite the fact that Stonybrook and Binghamton would probably be better for me, educationally speaking. You know how I said Long Island gave me bad vibes? Well, northwestern New York gives me good vibes, for some reason. I think it’s the smell.
  • The college is right next to Lake Ontario, and I visited on a cloudy day, so it didn’t look like a lake so much as just a continuation of the sky. It looked like the whole area was floating high above the earth, like that really terrible kids’ movie, “Sky High.”
  • The campus is really big on hockey. And while I’m not a fan of sports in general, out of all of them I hate hockey the least. Because it’s fun to watch, you can drink hot chocolate, and to the game I can wear that sexy blue jacket I have that matches my eyes. It truly is the sport for me.
  • Their ski club is lit.
  • The tour guide was great. (The guy giving me the tour was named Jimmy, in case anyone plans to go visit this one.) I approved of his dopey, self-deprecating humor. Not to mention, the woman giving the presentation was fantastic, and she talked to everyone individually and seemed like she genuinely wanted the best of us. They all get an A ++.

Cons:

  • It’s a four hour drive over there from where I live.
  • My older brother’s thinking about transferring there, and I’m not big on having someone in my family go to the same college as me. I’d much prefer to be completely separated from my past life so I can start anew and whatnot.
  • The place has all the courses needed to go to med school, but it’s not exactly the go-to place for aspiring doctors. Stonybrook would be better for that. It’s a shame that there’s an intangible evil presence in Long Island that makes Stonybrook a bad place for me.

And I realize that this post is quickly approaching 2,000 words, which is excessive, even for me. I assume most people just lose interest after the five-hundredth word or so, which means that chances are, no one is reading this sentence, so I can say anything I want and not have to face any consequences. I am half deer. I had romantic feelings towards my teacher back in kindergarten. I once murdered a man with my nothing but my eyes. I am also half-squid.

If anyone reading this is a student to these colleges, feel free to comment and explain all the terrible inaccuracies in this post. Or you can try and persuade me to apply to your school, or to not apply for my school. Anything goes, really.

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26 Replies to “Looking at Colleges (Pros and Cons)”

  1. I’m thinking about going to college– in order to be a librarian, I need a master’s degree in library science. And while writing is my first choice, being a librarian would be an awesome job (with a steady and good paycheck). But I’m not quite to the point of figuring out what college to go to.

    Good luck! And let us know which college you decide!

    1. Ooh, being a librarian sounds nice. Not quite as nice as being a taste-tester for Hershey’s, but it’s up there. I remember reading that post of yours and being surprised by how much work was required to become one of them. Though that’s probably because the only part of being a librarian I’ve seen is the part where they collect books and when they put the books back in the shelves, and that seemed easy enough.

      Thank you! And I shall.

      1. That’s not even actually a librarian. That’s a page or shelver. A librarian is kinda in charge of the library. They get some say in what books are purchased or discarded, offer programs and training, help with research/homework, build websites, and they may specialize in an area. The jump in paycheck between page and librarian or even between library technician and librarian is huge!

        You’re welcome!

      2. Yes… except maybe writing. I still think I’d rather write than be a Hershey’s taste-tester. BUT CHOCOLATE TASTE-TESTER IS WAAAAAAAAAAAAY UP THERE!

      3. Perhaps you could use your taste-testing experience to further your writing career. “The Extraordinary Life of a Hershey’s taste-tester” could be your first novel. I know I’d read it.

  2. I have a friend who was making her choice between Binghamton and Columbia. Ok so she did choose Columbia, but that gives you an idea as to her opinion of Binghamton!

    1. I see. Was there any specific reason she chose Columbia instead?

      *Starts researching Columbia university* Damn, that college looks hard to get into. I tip my hat in respect towards your friend.

      1. I replied to this but I don’t think WordPress took it into account, since it’s kind of being a f*cker right now. Besides it being Columbia I think she chose it cause of their Biomedical Engineering program and the opportunities it offers. Plus NYC vs Binghamton, well

  3. So how much poking fun would I be due if I were to tell you (completely honestly) that I have lived in New Jersey, upstate NY, and Long Island? 😉 (And ironically, Long Island was my favorite…)

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