I recently spent half a day in Sherman, Texas, visiting Austin College. I was very impressed with the campus, the students, the administration, and the faculty. What’s not to like about it? Very little. The students are academically serious. The faculty does an outstanding job of preparing students, and everyone in Texas knows that if you want to be a pre-med with near certainty of admission to medical school, go to Austin College. The science programs are excellent.
The campus is not huge. It’s also not the most picturesque place to attend college, but the the campus is attractive, architecturally coherent, and the landscaping is very nice. But what is most attractive about the place is the curriculum, the academic programs, and the faculty. But the faculty members I met were dedicated, intelligent, involved in their discipline, and devoted to their students. It’s no wonder that Loren Pope included Austin Colleges among his 40 Colleges That Change Lives. This campus is one of the best teaching colleges money can buy. Too bad it is in Sherman, Texas. Or, as others might say, it’s a good thing it’s in Sherman, otherwise more people would want to go there. As it is, the students who are on campus really want to be there. So perhaps we should think of Austin College as a “destination school.”
The one complaint I heard consistently from students was that the dorms were a bit old and crowded. A couple of students mentioned that the science facilities needed more and better equipment in some areas, but that this lack had not been detrimental to their studies. (Many, in fact, told us of research they had completed with professors and then presented at national conferences in their disciplines).
If my kids, nieces, or nephews expressed an interest in Austin College, I’d nurture that interest. It’s a warm, welcoming place that would undoubtedly foster intellectual, social, and emotional growth. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
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