The Campus Experience — From Those Living It
It’s not long, but this short time can mean everything to college students hoping to discover and solidify their place in the world.
Choosing where to spend this formative period is of the utmost importance — and it’s rarely an easy decision to make.
Drake’s admission staff hosts personal visits, online chats, campus tours and myriad other events to answer the many questions from prospective students. But sometimes these students want to hear about college life from someone actually living it — a student going to classes every day, eating campus food and looking for things to do on the weekend.
A growing number of students are finding this information through less formal channels, including blogs that allow for direct communication between those currently in college and those still on the lookout for the right fit. Drake blogs first appeared on the admission website nearly six years ago. Since then, hundreds of thousands of visitors from more than 100 countries have checked in to see what a day in the life of typical Drake student entails.
“When I was looking at schools, the largest factor wasn’t just the level of quality of education but also the type of people with whom I would be making friends,” recalls James “Quint” Hall, a junior marketing and international business double major at Drake.
Having once benefitted from this information, Hall is now on the other side of the computer, blogging about his experiences at Drake — along with students from each of Drake’s colleges and schools.
“What is great about the blogs we have is they showcase our diversity and our personalities,” says Hall. “As a prospective student, finding a person on campus you can relate to is huge.”
Ian Weller, a junior international relations major, began reading the Drake student blogs when he was still in high school in Waunakee, WI. He found a connection with Drake student blogger Adam Kaduce, BN’09, with whom he communicated frequently and asked questions about Drake’s programs and day-to-day life on campus.
“Blogs are great ways to get a pulse on the campus,” says Weller. “It was good to know there were things to do, as well as learning about stuff the average student goes through.”
Thanks in part to this connection, Weller ultimately decided to come to Drake. Kaduce continues to blog — now as a student at Drake Law School. Weller also blogs about his experiences and shares his thoughts with students just beginning the journey into college life.
“I have had a fair amount of questions from people interested in Drake,” says Weller. “One student contacted me, and then a year later I found out she was in my dorm as a first-year student.”
By relating their experiences and opportunities at Drake, student bloggers open a world that prospective students normally would not be able to access until much later in their academic careers.
Dorothy Chrzaszcz, a third-year pharmacy student from Mount Prospect, IL, has blogged through pharmacy rotations and internships. She’s shared experiences that have ranged from frustrating to humorous.
“I have had many interactions with prospective students,” Chrzaszcz says. “Some students had questions about my particular major, some wanted to know more about Drake University and some just wanted to comment about a blog that I posted. At least five of these contacts ended up visiting and three ended up attending Drake.”
Members of the Drake football team are blogging about their preparation for the upcoming trip to Tanzania to play in the first-ever American-style football game on the African continent. And Weller, while studying abroad this semester, was an eyewitness to the revolution that took place on the streets of Egypt. He shared this experience through words and photos until Internet access was cut off and he was safely removed from the country.
“I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to blog,” says Weller. “I am excited to share [my experiences] with others and to have a record of what I’ve been through.”
Student blogs posted on Drake’s website are not official University communications and reflect the thoughts and opinions of the students only. Students are compensated for their time, but postings are not pre-approved or edited by University staff except in instances in which a legal issue may be involved.