Location, quality of programs top reasons new students choose MWSU

Morgan Haire

A group of students takes a selfie at the homecoming bonfire, Oct. 23, 2014.
A group of students takes a selfie at the homecoming bonfire, Oct. 23, 2014. Homecoming this year is Oct. 31.

As incoming freshmen get acquainted with what will be their future home for four years, college is no longer a far off dream. It is the now.

And starting this week, about 5,061 returning students will welcome 1,213 students if all the students who attended summer orientation show up for classes, according to Cammie Dean, director of student development and orientation.

“This is much higher than the 1,067 students that attended Spirit Days last year,” Dean said in an email but still fewer than the 1,336 freshmen projected by administrators. Final enrollment numbers will not be available until after the 12th class day.

Masta Hicks, kinesiology freshman, is just one of 1,213.  The Bastrop native said he was attracted to the size of campus.

“It just felt like home,” Hicks said. “I got that small town vibe just like I do back in Bastrop.”

In addition, Hick’s said his first impression of Wichita Falls was that of a small community he could get involved in.

Xavier Conley, management information systems freshman from Pflugerville, also said he likes the campus atmosphere.

“The football coaches gave me a great opportunity and I decided to take it,” Conley said. “The school spirit was so apparent when I came for orientation. It only got me more pumped to be on the field in the fall.”

Kiley Beaver, nursing freshman, is one incoming freshmen from the local community.

“Growing up in Wichita Falls I feel like MSU was always that option in the back of my head,” Beaver said.

Tristan Shearman, freshman in geology and Wichita Falls native, said he has been dreaming about attending MSU from a young age.

“When I walked on this campus when I was 4 years old, I knew that this was the school for me,” Shearman said.

In addition to location, Beaver said the quality of the programs offered attracted her to MSU.

“When I got old enough and started looking at schools, I realized how great of a nursing program Midwestern has, and that’s how I made my final decision,” Beaver said.

The freshman have the opportunity to choose between a variety of majors. The wide range of degree programs is what attracted Matti Dix, nursing freshman, to MSU.

“I came here to learn,” Dix said. “I knew Midwestern offers multiple degree programs. I picked the one that suited me the most.”

Another aspect both local and out-of-town freshman will have in common is the available social programs on campus. Club sports, Greek life, more than 80 on-campus clubs and volunteer work are only the beginning of what freshman will find at Midwestern.

“I love to get involved in anything I can anywhere I go,” Emily Quintero, nursing freshman, said. “I’m from out-of-state, so I don’t know anyone here. The fact that I can get involved in so many campus activities just makes me believe my choice to attend MSU was the right one.”

One of the most popular attractions for students on campus is recreational sports.

Caleb Hannon, assistant director of club sports and wellness center said, “We had 1,433 students participated in a wide range of activities last year.”

Ellie Gunderson, exercise physiology  freshman, said she likes to play sports because it reminds her of her childhood.

“It’s awesome to be able to get involved in something I used to love as a kid,” Gunderson said. “I spent a lot of time doing sports when I was younger. I don’t have time to do anymore. It’s awesome to be able to get back into the game and reminisce past times. I plan on trying different REC sports in the spring, after I’ve settled in the college environment.”

Midwestern’s hometown atmosphere, variety of degree programs and wide range of social activities present freshman with the opportunities they need to make the most of their college years.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to enter the MSU community,” Kendall Chamberlain, nursing freshman, said. “I look forward to playing volleyball, meeting new friends, and making the most of the next four years here in Wichita Falls.”