Academic reputation tops survey

By Michael Berg

The low cost and a good academic reputation led the list of reasons people chose to attend NIU, a recent survey shows.

The survey, conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, shows 54.3 percent of the freshmen surveyed in 1991 chose NIU for its good academic reputation.

Low tuition was the answer of 26.1 percent of the respondents.

“You get a good degree for a low cost,” said freshman Bob Novak, a mechanical engineering major.

“Bradley costs too much, and NIU was my second choice for a good school,” said pre-computer science major Jeff Schwartz, a freshman.

“NIU has a good education program,” said Gigi Gogliotti, a sophomore early childhood studies major. “I had to go to a state school for financial reasons.”

“I’m at NIU because they gave me money to come here,” said Robert Fugiel, a sophomore electrical engineering major.

“Wanted to live near home” was a response by 22.7 percent of those surveyed, which is almost twice the 11.8 percent average of public universities.

“It does seem like a large percentage of students here are closer to home compared to other colleges I’ve worked at,” said Kathy Hotelling, director of Counseling and Student Development.

Students close to home can “stay involved in family life more,” Hotelling said. It also “seems like students participate in Chicago-area activities,” she said. If you have a job at home, you can save on transportation costs, she said.

NIU is sometimes said to be a suitcase college, and the number of students who chose NIU because of its proximity to home indicates that students might leave a lot. Reasons for going home on weekends might include work or homesickness.

“NIU is cheap and close to home,” said Todd Persenico, a junior elementary education major.

“It’s close to home, and if there was a family emergency I could go,” said Richard Snell, junior, communication media studies major.

“We really don’t get a significant number of freshmen who are homesick,” Hotelling said. “Only 15 percent of our clients who are homesick are freshmen. The largest are juniors, at 27 percent, and seniors, at 19 percent.”

“Freshmen come here the least often, (and when they do) it’s not about being homesick,” Hotelling said. “Students come in about more pressing concerns, issues that are more longstanding that time won’t make go away.”

“I stay here and go home,” said Tony Madl, a freshman pre-business major. “I like to stay here because I feel that I’m missing out on stuff if I leave.”

“There’s no purpose to going home,” said Trell Webster, a freshman criminology major. “Up here is where everything goes on, and to be fully adjusted to college life you might as well get to know the town and its people.”

“I stay because I came to NIU to be away from the hell of being home, and if I go home I’ll be back in hell,” said Hank Dennis, sophomore, biology.

“I stay here because I don’t have a ride home,” said Fugiel.

“I go home to work and I stay here to party,” said Persenico.

The people who stay here get a much better college experience than people who go home, said Tom McCabe, a resident assistant and senior finance major. “You get more involved with other students and interact well with college life,” he said.