Posts Tagged ‘UND’
I guarantee you that if you asked each current student at SIU “Why did you choose to continue your education here?”, no two answers would be the same. For some its the beautiful campus; for others its to carry on a family tradition. For me however, it was because of the fantastic aviation program Southern has to offer.
Like most, I started putting together a college plan at the beginning of my junior year of high school (I remember then thinking “college is light years away. Boy was I wrong). Since I knew what I wanted to attend college for, I had an easier time than my classmates choosing. It didn’t take long for me to narrow down my top four choices. I’ve listed them below with an explanation of why I didn’t choose them (and why I chose SIU). In no particular order…
1) Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, CO) – Up until the beginning of my senior year this was actually my first choice of school. I have an aunt who is active in the Air Force which kind of inspired me to try to go this route. The application process was a nightmare (although I did almost complete it). In case you aren’t familiar with it, I’ll sum it up as best I can. It started with an online application which required 3 separate essays and your junior year transcript. After that, you had to interview with you area’s liaison officer. If you passed the interview, you then had to go for 2 medical examinations; one with a government physician and one with an optometrist. After passing those came the difficult part, receiving a congressional nomination. Each academy student must be nominated by their senator (either one) or the US representative. The catch, however, is that each person get around 5 nominations. I was lucky enough to have received one from both Representative Donald Manzullo and Senator Roland Burris. The only thing I had left before deciding on SIU was a physical endurance exam. I chose not to pursuit the Air Force because I didn’t want to chance getting a pilot slot.
2) University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) – I initially heard about UND at an airshow. They were advertising their school being the cheapest flight school in the nation (wasn’t even close to being true for out-of-state students). The more I looked into attending, the less I found it suited me. UND is in a relatively remote area and too far away from home for me (11 hours vs. 6 hours).
3) Embry-Riddle University (Prescott, AZ) - The school most pilots consider quintessential definitely was not the right fit for me. After talking to some pilots that frequented my work, I learned that many know of Embry-Riddle as a “pilot factory” and warned me away from attending there. After looking at the cost of attendance, I didn’t need any warning. Not to mention Arizona weather is not for me,at all.
4) Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL) – I first learned of SIU through their aviation career days. The aviation department teams up with either American Airlines or United Airlines who fly prospective students down from O’hare airport for the day to tour the airport, the campus, and listen to presentations by pilots and SIU faculty. The cool part (well all of it is cool actually) is that the crew of the aircraft is composed of all SIU alumni donating their time! Even better was the cost of the entire day: free! Anyways, after attending a couple of career days, I got to know some of the students and faculty members associated with the aviation program. The more and more I visited, the more it seemed right for me. I loved that flight instruction was very personable (something I was accustomed to) and the cost was relatively low. Everything about SIU just felt comfortable to me. There has not been one day since deciding to come here earlier this year that I doubt I made the wrong decision. Also, SIU’s flight team, the Flying Salukis, are currently National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) National Champions. That in itself says something about the program!