SUNY Brockport (visited 3/9/20)
Students who want a medium-sized school (just over 7,000 undergrads), located in a nice town not far from a major city (Rochester), with lots of school spirit (including high quality athletics), and great academic options at an amazing price-point (including for out-of-state students) will like this school and need to put this on their radar.
“You hit the nail on the head with the size,” said the rep when I mentioned that this seemed like a manageable campus. “You aren’t schlepping across a huge campus, but there’s always something to do and people to see. There are lots of opportunities to network with faculty, to go abroad, to do an internship. Students can do hands-on work in the first year. It’s a nice community. There’s no sense of being in a silo; people are into a lot of things.” Campus is split by some railroad tracks (“They hardly ever come through. I think I heard them about 3 times in my 4 years here,” said the tour guide): one side feels more traditional/historic with brick buildings; the other has more open spaces, modern feeling buildings, and athletic facilities. Covered walkways connect a lot on this side of campus, and there’s an attractive Alumni Walk runs up by the Liberal Arts building.
I loved our tour guide! It’s so refreshing to get one who isn’t scripted and can carry on authentic conversations with people on the tour. I was on a small tour with only 2 other families, and we had great conversations with the guide. I walked away feeling like I knew a lot about the school – and that I’d feel good about pointing students in this direction (which is exactly what schools are trying to do with these tours – but not enough of them hit the mark the way Brockport did.)
There’s a big sense of social justice at Brockport. “Students are active. They’ll protest peacefully if there’s something they don’t agree with. They profile things in the magazine, write editorials in the paper, bring groups together to share ideas which are then shared with staff,” said one of the reps. “There are a lot of focused clubs, and even those that aren’t specific, it’s still at their core. We’d like to open up our international student population to bring more people into the community.” Diversity is generally good: the LGBTQ community is visible, active, and accepted. There’s an active Hillel on campus. Financial aid and HEOP programs are strong which increases socio-economic diversity. “Things are welcoming and personalized here. I’d love to get the message out on that more.”
The rep at lunch said, “This is place where you can find your niche, and then find someone doing it better than you who can mentor you and push you.” The average class size is 23; I asked my tour guide about his classes: the largest had 60 and smallest was 20. He took a grad class with 3 other people. His favorite classes were Abnormal Psych (“the professor shared a lot of first hand experience stories”) and his Cross-Cultural Psych class which he took during a Study-Abroad in Austria.
I’m really impressed with the sciences here. Even students who aren’t in a major are doing real things in their core requirements. The tour guide said, “I took a science class where they took bacteria swabs in the gym. Some things you can’t unsee.” Among some of the cool options for majors include Water Resources, Meteorology (there’s also a Broadcast Meteorology minor!), a Bio/PharmD combined degree, Medical Technology, Kinesiology, EnviSci/Ecology joint BS/MS, and Chemistry with ACS Certification.
The nursing major is an “Intent program,” said the rep. Students come in having declared their intent to major in that. A strong B average and a 1060 SAT usually gets them into the Intent major. “There is some drop because they realize it’s not what they want or they can’t handle the sciences. We’ll work with them to find if they have something else they want that speaks to their interests if it’s the science or working with people.” Students work on pre-reqs and then apply in Sophomore year; usually there are about 40 spots, but this can change year to year. A 3.5 minimum GPA keeps them competitive.
Other academic programs that reps or the tour guide brought up were:
- Psych – “It’s diversified,” said the tour guide. “Students can do a lot.” They can also do a BS/MA combined
- “Business programs are strong with options,” said one rep. They offer things like Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and International Business.
- They offer a BFA in Dance (also a BS/BA option) and in Art-Studio (this BA/BS option includes Graphic Design). Theater and Arts for Children are BA/BS degrees. There’s also an Arts Management concentration and minors in Music Business, Music, Musical Theater, Graphic Design, and Art History.
- They offer some really great minors not usually found at a school this size: Social Research Methods, Disability Studies, Aging Studies, Military Science (ROTC), Adapted PhysEd, Museum Studies & Public History, Alcohol & Substance Abuse Studies,
I asked the rep at lunch what he most wanted to brag about: “Study abroad. We have the most extensive program in the SUNY system. There are over 100 programs in 33 countries, and if students don’t like those, we can funnel them through other SUNY programs, too.”
There’s a two-year residency requirement, and about half of the campus residents live in LLCs. They just built a hotel-style residence hall “which is great!” said the tour guide. There’s a freshman quad which has a sand volleyball court in between the dorms; they often hold a Battle of the Buildings. There’s some Greek life but “not a big deal.” Off-campus housing is easy to find. “It’s cheap, and the school has a list of reputable landlords.” The food is very good; one of the reps came to lunch with us after the tour so we got to check it out. In the dining hall we went to, it felt a bit like a high school food line, but the food itself was amazing! They’re ranked 3rd in the SUNY system for food quality (I need to find out who beat them out!). It did get busy at lunch, but they moved people through the line quickly and there was enough seating.
Although athletics are DIII, they’re “DI in quality. We’re the national wresting and gymnastics champions.” Club sports often compete against DI teams. Students tend to come out and support the teams. Students looking for other things to do can head into Rochester, located 25 minutes away (where they can see professional baseball, soccer, and hockey teams as well as hit restaurants, museums, etc). The Rochester Airport is only 15 miles away, so it’s easy to get to and from campus.