- Class: Junior
- Major: Psychology
- Gender: F
- High School: Okemos High School
- Transfer Student: Y
MSU is an excellent teaching university, which is trying to reinvent itself as a half-assed research university. I feel because of this, the actual educational value of what's being taught is begining to suffer for undergrads, but will be improving for grad students in the future. I like the interesting people I meet, and since it's such a big campus, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of them. The campus itself is one of the most beautiful I've seen, so if you like wildlife and natural settings, you'll love it for that. The reputation for students really depends on what department you're in (if you're in a good one, a MSU degree is respectable). East Lansing is a really good hangout as well, and borders campus so it isn't too bad of a trek. The administration as a whole has the same faults of any other, being uncommunicative, bloated, and autocratic, but there are certainly universities where this is far worse. For the most part, MSU is an average state college that excels mostly in the departments where the best degrees are to be had.
Academics at MSU are okay from my perspective. They're slowly getting worse as more and more uncooperative research professors are being hired, but for the moment they're not too bad. I personally am amicable towards most professors, even ones that make the class a smidge harder so that students will gain a better understanding of the topic, as long as they're passionate about teaching. A good 90% of my profs have been this way, so I really have no complaints about them. I'm not unreasonably bright in any way, but with hard work I've been able to 4.0 every class I've had so far. Getting good grades isn't a matter of how crazy smart you are in most cases, but how hard you're willing to work to comprehend the subject. There is the occasional prof who does require insane latent talent above the level of the class (hot shot research profs), but if you avoid them, you should be fine. If you want to go to grad school, there is an increasing number of these *** research profs being hired. It's relatively simple to kiss enough***with them to get a lab position for your CV(college style resume), and if you're really good at brown nosing, the young ones might even hang out with you. Don't expect this to be pleasant, it's almost more trouble than it's worth. The only really competitive students are the ***wad pre-meds who ac***ulate in the life sciences, and everybody will usually be helpful outside of the core pre-med classes. The best departments to get a degree in here are: veterinary sciences, agricultural sciences, fisheries and wildlife, packaging (best in the nation), and I think astrophysics has been getting some awards. Okay departments include: psychology, business, law, and the other hard sciences. For most social sciences and creative stuff you're really better off going to a specialty school. If you can get into a more prestigious college for the okay departments, it's worth it to go there if you're really passionate about the subject. I think the best time to take classes is in the summer, where a majority of the teachers are grad students. Most of the grad students who teach are passionate about the subject, willing to go farther out of their way to help and explain things, and better at relating the subject matter at the undergraduate level of understanding. Expect to learn boatloads more (and have a slightly higher load of learning) from any class taught by a grad student. If you're smart and visit review sites for the profs, you will almost never get stuck with a bad one. For university requirements, they do offer quite a large variety of your bull*** social science and arts and letters requirements, and quite a few are interesting and enjoyable at the 200 level. If you're coming here as some rabid pre-med pre-grad student with a narrow field of interest, you probably won't like it. If you come to MSU wanting to become a smarter person who can engage people in intelligent conversation on all topics, and develop a inquisitive bright mind in your area of interest, the academic program here is right for you.
MSU's student body outside the walking frat boy stereotypes, is actually diverse and quite friendly. I've met people from a bunch of different countries (we have lots of international students), and just about every background you could imagine. Everyone is pretty laid back about what they're doing, and I've noticed that the smarter people in courses don't mind starting study groups and helping out those who might get behind. Most students are pretty liberal with their attitudes, being out of their absentee parent's house for the first time. We have a few crazy right wing nutjobs on campus, and they mainly collect in the YAF and CCC, leaving the rest of us alone except for the obnoxious fliers they put up all over campus. I've heard that we're getting more literalist fundies in the life sciences, but from what I understand they don't usually survive past the first year here, and rarely past the second. Most of the people I've met are from in state, thought that doesn't mean we don't get out of staters too. I'd also have to say that while a majority of the people I meet aren't as driven academically, quite a few have neat interests and are just looking for a way to reconcile those with a degree.
The Best Things
Awesome variety of people, tons of cool stuff to do
The Worst Things
Students who are just getting a degree to get one, and Research Profs