Comets orbiting Michigan campuses

Brody Conaty, Opinion Editor

    There are various colleges throughout the beautiful state of Michigan. The first few to come to mind, for most people, are the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Even though these schools get a lot of the attention, there are other small schools in Michigan that do not get the national glory that they deserve. Schools like Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Grand Valley State, and others are all great options for those who are not interested in the huge campus lifestyles of MSU and U of M. A fair amount Grand Ledge High School seniors elect to attend these schools.

   The first school highlighted will be Central Michigan University, which is a Division I university located in Mt. Pleasant. There are currently 26,968 attending Central Michigan, making it the sixth largest school in the state of Michigan. Seventeen students from the Grand Ledge 2018 senior class enrolled into Central Michigan this year. Among those seventeen Grand Ledge students is former Comet’s Tale writer, Karson Shirey. Karson is planning to study kinesiology at Central Michigan.

     “I picked CMU… because of the campus and all of the intramural sports teams and the town of Mt. Pleasant,” Shirey explained. “Also it is a perfect distance from Grand Ledge,…… four of my friends were coming, and it sounded fun to room with all of them.”

     Along with various intramural sports, Central Michigan also participates in Division I NCAA sports. They have produced various successful football teams in the last decade, along with a few successful basketball teams. Former Chippewa, Cooper Rush, who attended Lansing Catholic in high school, is now playing in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys.

     Sports, like football, are a big reason why many students choose to become a Chippewa. There is a strong athletic culture throughout Mt. Pleasant which brings a welcoming feeling for new students.

      “I am looking forward to all of the football games,” said Shirey. “I am excited to meet a lot of new people in the student section.”

     At Central Michigan, sports are also a great way to meet new people and make yourself a part of the school’s family. Some students have a hard time fitting in when they go off to college as its hard to go from living with their families your family to living with new people in a dorm. But Shirey feels differently about this.

     “I am still in the first year of dorm life, but so far it has been pretty good,” Shirey said. “Simple stuff like doing laundry, folding clothes and making… your[the]  bed are for sure harder than I thought.”

     One of the biggest things about college is growing as a person and becoming an adult. Karson is clearly experiencing the steps of growing up by living on his own at Central Michigan.

    The second college headlining in this article is Grand Valley State University. It is located in Allendale, which is roughly 15 minutes outside of Grand Rapids, and the second biggest city in the state of Michigan. GVSU tends to be one of the most popular locations for Grand Ledge students, as twenty-three members from the 2018 GLHS class decided to become a Laker. GVSU is the seventh biggest school in Michigan, population wise, slating it just behind Central Michigan.

    GVSU was ranked in the top 60 in the nation for its engineering program last year. The university was also recognized for being one of the most veteran- friendly schools in American, as it ranked 2oth in the United States in best colleges for American veterans. Both of these are reasons why Grand Valley has been rapidly growing in popularity throughout the past decade. The school has also taken strides to renovate its beautiful campus and make it eco friendly. The campus is recognized by many. Former Comet’s Tale Editor in Chief, Wesley Joubert, is in his first year at Grand Valley. Joubert is studying film at Grand Valley, which is a well known film school in the state of Michigan.

    “The campus is modernized and everything feels a lot more clean than the other places I visited.” Joubert said. The campus was clearly a big deciding factor in Joubert’s commitment to becoming a Laker. The beautiful campus is a prime reason why many GLHS students decide to enroll into Grand Valley.

    Along with the campus, Grand Valley offers many good academic programs, which is an attractive part of the school. As listed before, Grand Valley has an illustrious film program.

    “GVSU is the second best college for film in Michigan next to U of M.” said Joubert. “And since film is more about the portfolio you build, not the degree. So I decided to spend half the money on tuition.”

    Affordability is another prime reason Grand Valley is becoming more and more popular over the years. Grand Valley placed in the top 75th percentile in affordability for schools in Michigan. Its value also placed in the top percentile, proving that GVSU gives you more bang for your buck.

   There are many great reasons for becoming a Laker, including athletics. The Lakers participate in Division II NCAA sports and have produced multiple successful teams, including their most popular sport, football. The Lakers are ranked 10th in the nation to begin the 2018 season, and they have won four national championships since 2000. They went back two back two separate times in 2002 and 2003, then again in 2005 and 2006. They have proved to be one of the most dominant programs of any sport in this decade. The school also carries seven other mens varsity sports besides football, and ten other womens varsity sports.

    These are just some of the reasons why many Grand Ledge seniors are deciding to head to Allendale to become Lakers. Grand Valley not only  offers a cozy campus in a small town, but it is also close enough to Grand Rapids if you are looking to have fun in the big city. It is a great choice for all high school seniors across the state.

     Last, but not least, will be the Broncos of Western Michigan University. Western Michigan is located in Kalamazoo. Western excels in the arts programs, and WMU is not as popular of a choice as GVSU and CMU for GLHS students as only six Comets chose to become Broncos. Although, not many Grand Ledge students call it home, Western is still a sizeable college with 23,914 students. With only a few Grand Ledge students attending, WMU is a great opportunity for students to widen their horizons and meet new people. Western Michigan is also one of the most diverse schools in the nation. It received an A rating in terms of diversity according to Peyton Jorgensen, former Comet and political science major, has just begun his first year on campus at Western. He highlighted the uniqueness of the student body as something that has stuck out to him thus far.

     “This place is fit for all people,” Jorgensen said. “WMU is one of the most diverse campuses in the country and they provide you with options that you can make, allowing for them to not be a one size fits all university.”

      Western has been known for be a great fit for people of any ethnicity, gender, race, and religion. It has created a welcoming culture throughout the campus, something that Jorgensen has noticed.

      “One of the main reasons I chose western was for the culture.” he continued to say “I feel like there’s a lot of new, unique, people here in the same shoes as me which is a welcoming feeling.”

     Like Central Michigan and Grand Valley, athletics are huge contributors to the friendly culture of the schools. Western Michigan participates in DI NCAA sports, like CMU. In fact, CMU and WMU are arch rivals as they both play in the MAC (Mid American Conference). Western Michigan has been consistently one of the best athletic schools in the Mid American conference throughout the years of its existence. With 99 total MAC championships in men’s sports and 62 total MAC championships in women’s sports, the Broncos have had periods of dominance in the Division I conference. Highlighting those successes was Western Michigan’s 2016 football team who went undefeated and won the MAC. Students and alumni rallied around their Broncos that year as they made their run to the Cotton Bowl. The 2016 football team did a lot for WMU culture as it interconnected all Broncos past and present to support the team. All these reasons enforce that Western Michigan is a great place to take the next step in your life.

       There are great colleges in this state other than Michigan and Michigan State. These three schools deserve to be considered into the cream of the crop in terms of Michigan colleges, and even Midwest colleges. The class of 2019 should take serious consideration in making this their next step in life.


Illustration by Jonathan Callison/The Comets’ Tale