BY CHRISTINE ASCHER, University of Southern California junior and Uloop writer
When you’re choosing a college, a lot of factors probably play into your decision: the school’s reputation, the classes offered and the professors in your major, to name a few. The majority of your decision will probably be based on the academic credentials of each college you’re considering.
However, given the ever-increasing competitiveness of universities to attract more and more applicants, many schools now offer extra perks to be enjoyed by all their students. So while the educational aspects of a university and its fit for you remain the most significant when you’re making your college decision, you can also keep in mind some of the fun “extras” offered by the school.
Here are some of the coolest in the country:
1. Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan: An on-campus ski resort
Taking advantage of the cold winter weather, Michigan Technological University sets itself apart with its on-campus ski resort, Mont Ripley, which is accessible and free for all students. Instead of hitting the campus gym, you’ll be able to get your exercise outside on the slopes. The resort includes 24 different trails and a tubing park, providing you with many weekends of entertainment.
It’s also conveniently located near great restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Michigan Tech’s website boasts the resort’s location in the “snowiest town in the Midwest,” allowing you to ski on fresh snow for much of the year. If you’re an experienced skier, Mont Ripley is perfect for you, as it’s “famous for [its] challenging terrain.”
When the pressures of school become too much, just head out for a day of free skiing and you’ll be left feeling fully refreshed.
2. University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri: One of the best rec centers in the country
When you think of a campus gym, you probably picture a cramped room cluttered with old weights and out-of-date machines. However, at the University of Missouri, you can enjoy one of the best campus recreational centers in the country. It features an “indoor beach” complete with a waterfall and a lazy river, as well as a full-service spa.
According to the website Best College Reviews, which ranked the University of Missouri fourth on its list of “The 25 Most Amazing Campus Student Recreation Centers,” Missouri’s recreation facilities “resemble a high-end gym more than a traditional campus rec center.”
Even if you don’t normally enjoy working out, Missouri’s recreation center will give you a reason to go to the gym.
3. High Point University in High Point, North Carolina: A private steakhouse and a free ice cream truck
If you see yourself quickly tiring of dining-hall food — something that happens to almost all of us — High Point University in North Carolina has a great option for you: a private steakhouse for students. It’s a first-class restaurant, called 1924 PRIME, and, best of all, you don’t have to pay for the meal out of your own pocket. You can use your meal-plan’s “dining dollars” instead.
Students are allowed one five-course meal each week, which would normally amount to about $50. According to the restaurant’s website, 1924 PRIME serves “as a learning lab, exposing students to proper social and dining etiquette and promoting many of the values that High Point University seeks to model: Service, Generosity, and Fellowship.”
The campus also offers such perks as free ice cream from a campus ice-cream truck, a free movie theater, and an arcade.
4. Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey: Free laptops for all students
If you’re stressing out about the extra cost of technology when you start college, then Seton Hall has a great perk for you: All incoming freshmen are given free laptops through the university’s Mobile Computing Program. First-year students receive laptops already set up with all the necessary student software. Then, after two years, they receive new, updated laptops designed to carry them through graduation and beyond.
As stated on the Seton Hall University website, “that second laptop is the one you will take with you when you graduate from Seton Hall, providing you with a laptop for that first job after college or for use in graduate school.”
As a Seton Hall student, you’ll never have to worry about keeping up with technology.
5. New York University, New York, New York: Free museum admission
If you’re a fan of museums, NYU is the perfect university for you. Not only will you be located in the heart of a city featuring some of the best museums in the world, but the university will even provide you with free admission to many of them. According to NYU’s independent student newspaper, Washington Square News, these include the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Frick Collection.
As an NYU student, you can take advantage of visiting free museums anytime you want — which means you’ll never be bored on the weekends.
From uloop.com, Online Marketplace for College Life
International students seeking a medical degree in the United States face serious difficulties.
First, there is often a language barrier. Students from non-English speaking countries could have a hard time understanding their work or communicating with professors.
Also, a medical education is very costly. First, students must complete an undergraduate degree. Then, most medical schools require at least four years of study. After medical school, students do at least three more years of training in their specific medical fields. They do receive some pay for this work.
In addition, many medical programs at public universities in the U.S. do not accept international students. And private universities have fewer openings, creating a great deal of competition.
However, receiving a medical education in the U.S. is not impossible. Fatima Ismail is proof. The 32-year-old from Dubai says she knew she wanted to be a doctor at a very early age.
“I was always fascinated by the brain and how it functions. And I love working with children. There is a huge population of children with developmental disabilities that are not taken care of very well in Middle East in general and my home country, in particular.”
So, Ismail completed medical school in her home country. Then, she applied to a residency program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Ismail spent time as an exchange student at Johns Hopkins during her time in medical school.
She says many of her fellow students applied to more than 10 or even 20 different programs.
“It’s a very competitive process. Being an international medical school graduate, you … have less chances to be accepted because the priority would be for the U.S. graduates. Having said that, it’s not impossible. All that you need to do is, basically, early planning …”
Planning is highly important for foreign students seeking admission to U.S. medical schools. Paul White is the director for medical school admissions at Johns Hopkins. He says some schools do accept students with undergraduate degrees from their home countries. But most, he says, require U.S. study.
“So we say we want to see at least one year of additional coursework in any area in the U.S. just so we can see the kinds of courses they are capable of taking and how well they may perform in those courses. And there’s no question that if they do well in the U.S., and they do well on the medical college’s admissions test, then they’ll be eligible for admission.”
India native Karum Arora is in his fourth year of medical school at Johns Hopkins. He studies eye diseases. He also completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins, as well as a two-year research program in his field.
Arora says the professors he knew in his earlier studies helped him gain acceptance to the medical school.
“I can’t even express in words how great my mentors were during those two years. And they were at Hopkins as well, and they both supported me when I applied for med school, guided me through medical school, worked on projects … and are supporting me now as I apply for residency as well.”
School administrators suggest international students should apply to residency programs in the U.S. after completing medical school at home. Or they should begin their American medical education at the undergraduate level. But, officials say, even candidates with the strongest history of study will face fierce competition.
Reported by LINDA RINGE. Adapted by Pete Musto.