BY Tuma Haji
The decision of which college to attend is a choice that thousands of students and parents each year must weigh. Key factors such as financial aid, scholarships and the difference between out of state versus in state tuition can strongly influence whether a prospective student will choose to go to a school.
Drake admitted 758 entering first year students in 2017 from 33 states and 12 countries. The university also admitted 89 transfer students that same year from 13 states and 7 countries. A family’s financial status, FAFSA awards, prospective students area of intended study, and geographic location are all factors that student‘s and their family may consider before enrolling.
Tai Chi, a second-year exchange student from Japan, heard about Drake University through a friend’s father who was an alum. His interest in the private university was also furthered by the regular emails Drake sent inviting Chi to enroll. International students can also enroll in a work study program to help pay off tuition.
Niche rates Drake University as the third 2018 Top Private University in Iowa. Drake University also offers financial aid to over 98 percent of its’ undergraduate applicants and has a 13:1 student/faculty ratio overall and a 12:1 ratio for undergraduate courses.
“Since I am an international student, there is no way or really, a limited chance, that I can get a scholarship from a public university,” Chi explained. “Drake is the cheapest option for me and their class size is small with a few huge lecture hall classes.”
Sarah Eunice Steffen, an exchange student from Malaysia, chose Drake because it was the most convenient transfer for credits. “I did the American Degree back home, which is kinda like the American version of community college. The biggest plus is that Drake has one of the best actuarial programs.”
Sophomore Crew Scholar Eugene Hardison says the Crew Scholar program makes it possible for him and other African American students to attend Drake University. The program describes itself as a group that “supports the recruitment and retention of a diverse undergraduate student body and helps ensure a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.”
“I’m only at Drake because of the Crew Scholar Program,” Hardison said.
Senior Brianne Nicole Messer also listed the small student to teacher ratio as a determining factor in her choice to enroll at Drake.
“I wanted to be a pharmacist and looked for good schools. I came here because I knew it has a good pharmacy school and it was closer to home. It was small and I knew it would give me a better student teacher ratio so I could work more closely with my professors,” Messer said.
Private universities like Drake usually have a more concentrated and smaller student population because they are generally more exclusive than public universities. However, private universities tend to be more geographically diverse because private universities do not assess tuition based off of in-state residency, according to College Raptor.
“Drake offers a safe campus and close relationships with the students, professors and staff,” said Messer. “There’s so many things you can become a part of (such as clubs and organizations). It’s a very close and personal school.”