Kent State: More than its cracked up to be

Jennifer Ice, one of two out-of-state recruiters for Kent State, spoke to seniors from a small New Castle, Pa., high school about leaving for a large, Ohio university.

“You guys sure are a quiet bunch,” Ice told the room full of seventh-period skippers, rowdy football players refusing to settle down and a small group of polite students in the back.

“A lot of people are really concerned about going to a large Division I school and not really getting a personal feel with their professors and classmates,” Ice began. “It’s not going to be like that (at Kent State).

“About 93 percent of your classes are going to be 50 students or fewer, and the average class size, once you get into your major, is about 20 students. You’re going to see familiar faces in your classes and you’re going to start seeing the same professors over and over again.”

The students stopped fiddling with their crutches, making faces and dozing off when Ice addressed the topic of residence halls.

“I know it’s a big deal — it was a big deal when I lived on campus,” Ice said. “I didn’t want to live in a box. I didn’t want to live somewhere that I didn’t like.”

Ice told the students about Kent State’s 30-plus residence halls.

“All the residence halls have lunch facilities, high-speed Internet, cable, phone jacks, lounges, kitchens, and some have a fireplace,” she said. “A lot of the residence halls are now wireless, and some have activities like a pool table; one of them even has a bowling alley.”

Looking around the room, it was clear Ice had the students’ undivided attention.

“There’s all this really cool stuff to do,” Ice explained. “You’ll be able to find something to do with your friends.”

In addition to just living in a regular residence hall, she highlighted the 13 Living Learning Communities available to students.

“It (Living Learning Communities) helps students to make sure they’re living on a floor with people of a similar interest,” she said. “So I know there’s a floor for students big on leadership … studying abroad and science majors, it also groups academically as well.”

Ice told the students that along with residence halls comes dining. And, along with dining at Kent State, comes a declining-balance meal plan.

“So, if you’re sick for a couple of days and you get soup and juice and fruit, you’re only going to pay for that soup, juice and fruit,” she said. “And the next day, since you’ve been eating soup for the past three days, you want to get four pizzas, you’re going to pay for those pizzas. Your student ID works just like a debit card.”

Several students expressed an interest in off-campus dining.

“Is there a Great Wall?” one particularly boisterous student interrupted Ice when he asked about a local Chinese restaurant.

Ice responded tactfully with a smile, “We don’t, but we have the Evergreen Cafe, which is right off campus. And, it’s like six bucks for the buffet at lunch.”

Kent is very much a college town; the town is geared toward the students, Ice reassured the room.

“There’s tons of green; it’s the picturesque college campus that you think of,” she said. “You know, where you walk to class and there’s people sitting in large grass areas.”

One of the football players jumped in and asked, “You mean Indian-style?”

“If that’s what you want to call it, sure,” Ice responded.

The most important part of her visit: admissions.

“We want you to apply by Thanksgiving,” Ice encouraged the room. “You can apply on paper or online, but we recommend online.”

She explained to the students that Kent State looks at students’ high school transcripts, college prep forms and ACT/SAT test scores.

One student asked, “Which is more important, my GPA or my SAT score?”

“Definitely your GPA,” Ice said, causing the student to sigh in relief.

“The most important thing,” Ice told the students, “Is if you haven’t been to Kent State, come visit the campus.”

And, as the seventh-period bell rang, the students exited the room with Flashes in front of them and their Wildcats days behind.

Contact student affairs reporter Matthew White at [email protected].

Contact student affairs reporter Caroline Lautenbacher at [email protected].