Clearly Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City through my eyes

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Oklahoma City University

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I’ll admit I’m a bit biased when it comes to the next Oklahoma City college on my list. Oklahoma City University, or OCU, is my alma mater.  I felt so at home at OCU that I stayed for two MLA degrees after I finished my undergrad work, and I don’t regret a minute of it, despite the fact that my student loans are more than half my home mortgage.  OCU is a great university, but it’s also a private one, and you’ll pay out the nose for it.

Let’s get the shock out of the way first.  If you’re attending OCU full time, you’re going to be paying over $11,000 a semester in tuition.  That doesn’t include fees (another $2,000) and room and board ($1,500 for the cheapest room and $1,700 for the cheapest meal plan).  All total, an education from OCU will cost more than a couple of new cars or a small home.

But the good news is that many OCU students receive financial aid.  The last figure I saw was something like 75% or more of the total student population had some form of financial assistance.  The university has a good number of endowed scholarships, plus many students get federal or institutional work/study money.  Many students qualify for student loans as well.  OCU is pretty good about helping students find some extra money here and there.  Each individual department has a little bit of money they can give to students if there’s a true emergency, although these departmental scholarships are usually pretty small.

Speaking of small, that’s my number one reason why I loved OCU.  It’s small—most of the campus fits within one city block.  The total student population (undergrad, grad, and law students) is under 3,500.  Class sizes are capped at 30, but most upper level classes have around 15.  I had several classes with only eight other students.  This means the professors actually know who you are.  Most of them enjoy chatting with students and don’t mind taking a few minutes out of their busy days to discuss almost anything, not just class work. 

OCU is internationally known for its dance school, which is ranked as one of the best in the nation.  The business school, too, ranks very highly.  The music school recently moved into a huge, state of the art music center that features all Steinway pianos, one of the best brands of piano ever made.  These three programs are perhaps OCU’s biggest selling point, but their other programs are nothing to look down on.  There are few areas that OCU doesn’t excel in.  One of these, in my opinion, is the business end of things.

The university’s motto is “where you’re a name, not a number.”  While that’s true in the classroom, it doesn’t always feel like the registrar and financial aid offices follow that saying.  Likewise, sometimes the administration makes policies that aren’t popular with the students or the faculty, such as raising tuition often.  However, you’ll find the same thing on just about every campus out there. 

All in all, I loved the time I spent at OCU and recommend the university to anyone who can afford it.  The cost of OCU is its main downside.  If you’re looking for a great dance, business, or music program, you won’t find a better college.  If you’re looking for a school for other programs, OCU is still a great choice, although sometimes these programs are overshadowed by those other three programs.  Still, with its small class sizes and personal attention, if you’re looking for a university that’s more like a home, OCU fits that bill.

Tags: Only in OKC       

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