Out-of-state students call Kent State home

Brittany Moseley

They only represent a small portion of the Kent State student population, but out-of-state students aren’t hard to find on campus.

Eric Odorczyk, junior geography major from Rochester, N.Y., said he chose Kent State because it was the only college that accepted him for his major, which was architecture at the time. Even after he changed majors, Odorczyk said he was still glad he chose Kent State.

“There was a wide variety of majors to choose from when I decided to change after first semester,” Odorczyk said.

Chicago-native and junior Kimberly Gerke chose Kent State because of the fashion design program.

“It’s one of the top five in the country, and I thought it would be really good for me,” Gerke said.

Marissa Atkins, a senior from Buffalo Grove, Ill., also chose Kent State for the fashion design program. She also said she liked that she could change majors if she wanted to without much difficulty.

“Kent offered both a chance to try something else if I wanted and offered great scholarships,” Atkins said. She visited other colleges but found Kent State’s fashion program to be “far superior” to others.

There are approximately 2,000 out-of-state students enrolled at Kent State (11 percent of the student body), and Kristen Zurbuch, assistant director of admissions, said the university is hoping to increase that figure in the future.

“The greater concentration of students come from Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan,” Zurbuch said. “Our goal is to continue to increase out-of-state student enrollment by focusing on the development of new markets, such as New Jersey and the Washington, D.C., area.”

As part of her job Zurbuch not only supervises one admissions counselor for out-of-state students, she also does some recruiting herself.

“I personally visit 30 high schools and attend over a dozen college fairs in the Pittsburgh area,” Zurbuch said. “I also coordinate the geographic-area receptions, which are recruitment programs that take place across the U.S.”

There are some disadvantages to attending a college out of state. With tuition costing $15,386 for out-of-state residents ($7,432 more than Ohio residents pay), Odorczyk said one of the biggest disadvantages is cost.

Making friends can be another hurdle that out-of-state students face.

“It was pretty hard for me at first [to make friends] as a freshman, not knowing anyone and being so far away from home in a different environment,” Atkins said.

“Kent is such a suitcase campus,” Atkins added. “Everyone goes home on the weekends. I’ve been to dozens of other colleges and have never seen it like it is at Kent.”

Most out-of-staters said they weren’t even able to go home for every break.

“I’ve missed a lot of friends’ and relatives’ birthdays or graduations because I’m too far away,” Atkins said. “I’ve never gotten to go home for Easter because it’s just too far and not economical with the time frame.”

Even with the disadvantages, most are still happy they chose Kent State.

“I have met a lot of friends and have enjoyed most of my classes,” Odorczyk said. “It is nice to have all the choices for sports and activities to participate in.”

Although Atkins plans on settling in New York City, she said she has enjoyed her time at Kent State.

“My experience here has been a great one and has offered me many opportunities,” Atkins said. “I’ve met some great, down-to-earth people I’ll remain friends with long after graduation.”

Contact features correspondent Brittany Moseley [email protected].