Freshman survey sounds shady

There was shocking news in Friday’s Northern Star. Not only was it revealed that 54 percent of NIU freshmen chose this school because of its academic reputation, but that only 23 percent came here because it was close to home.

Come on.

Kathy Hotelling, director of Counseling and Student Development, said 23 percent is quite a bit and said it “does seem like a large percentage.”

Apparently, the statewide percentage in the same category for public schools is only 12 percent. That seems believable—none of the other schools are near the suburbs.

However, NIU is pocketed between the suburbs and Chicago and Rockford—the two largest cities in Illinois. A brief glance through the student phone book reveals most of us are from nearby.

Another strange number from the survey is that only 26 percent of freshmen chose NIU because of low tuition. Something is amiss here, too.

A quick check around the newsroom reveals that cheap tuition and proximity to home are the top reasons for coming to NIU. “Good academic reputation” wasn’t mentioned.

Most often, people who mention good academics as a lure to NIU will single out departments: “Oh, the business school is good. The art school is good.”

NIU is a good school, but it’s also good and close to home, and the survey doesn’t reflect that well.