Michigan State University

To visit Michigan State University in February is a true testament to truly seeing campus. As a Californian who notices season changes when the Starbucks cups and menu changes, it was important to test the waters in one of the colder months in Michigan. Truth be told if you know how to dress well, you’ll make it. Break out your long winter coats, rubber snow boots and get ready to layer.

Michigan State University is a massive research institution boasting about 50,000 students with 17 colleges in everything from Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Kinesiology, Business to Social Sciences and the Arts. Consider it a large university with deep running spirit and an even larger alumni network. It would take me about three pages of posts to recap everything I saw on my tour at MSU. And I also believe that it’s best to get information directly on colleges’ websites where you can find the most up-to-date and comprehensive information. But I will highlight some of the things I saw and a few of my personal viewpoints after visiting for three days.

While MSU is quite large, I do believe that once you find out where you want to major in, what college you’ll reside in, you’ll find your smaller community within. While the university itself is fairly spread out with massive buildings, a student who finds his or her place in a neighborhood (dorm) and within the major or program of choice will be able to build a tighter community that will allow for some smaller, more personal experiences to happen. Here are a few programs I found to be quite impressive, but again, there are SO many so check out the website: https://msu.edu/.

College of Veterinary Medicine

MSU is one of a few universities to offer a four-year Vet Tech program in addition to the traditional veterinarian track. The advantage of four-year Vet Tech program is employ-ability. Having a Bachelor’s degree will simply put you ahead of others who do not. To get into the Vet Tech program you’ll want experience throughout high school in the field.

MSU’s Veterinarian program is quite impressive. A student completing the program does not have to complete the GRE to continue and can save some time and money to complete the whole thing. The on-campus Veterinary facility sees about 20,000 cases per year, so students are exposed to quite a bit, small and large animals.

College of Engineering

MSU has 10 majors in engineering, but quite a bit of specialized tracks for students, including a unique fire structural engineering facility. Ranked in the top 10% of engineering programs and has a 96-98% job placement rate. MSU’s campus produces its own electricity, milk and food which is quite a playground for engineering students to have access to. There’s even an engineering/business track for some entrepreneurial minded students. The Computer Science engineering has 100% job placement rate and the Mechanical Engineering has an Aerospace concentration. Students come in as Pre-Engineering, AP/IB and dual enrollment courses in high school count towards credits.

College of Education – Kinesiology

Kinesiology at MSU is an interdisciplinary study of human movement, providing students with multiple tracks including those interested in Athletic Training, Physical Therapy and Nutrition. The program is quite science heavy so students should be prepped to handle a lot of hard science courses.

Eli Broad College of Business

MSU provides a residential business community that allows for networking and mentoring opportunities. Within the community there is additional business advising, experiential learning with alumni and lunch and learns with CEOs. Within the college of business there is a smaller, Financial Markets Institute for students interested in Wall Street type careers and finance. Students can participate in the Honors College and have opportunities like managing sales and trading with a private portfolio.

Other academics programs to check out:

  • School of Criminal Justice: http://cj.msu.edu/
  • College of Agriculture & Natural Resources: http://www.canr.msu.edu/
  • National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory: Interested in Nuclear Physics? This is quite incredible, check out the work they’re doing in understanding atoms, nuclei and more here: http://www.nscl.msu.edu/

Again, there are SO many majors and smaller communities within each department, check out the website and read more! 

Social Science Scholars Program

A small cohort of about 20 students a year can participate in this program that includes general interdisciplinary courses with a lot of reading and writing. A good choice for students wanting to do research early on, want to be mentored by a faculty member and have the opportunity to submit work to be published. Students get an abroad experience and participate in seminars. This unique program would be good for high achieving students who want to be engaged socially and politically and are interested in studies such as psychology, pre-med, history and political science. 

Residential College

One of what I think is a great hidden gem at MSU. Residential colleges are a way for students to get a smaller experience, access to faculty, resources and mentors. There are three residential colleges within MSU depending on what you’re looking to major in. I won’t go into detail, check the website, but again I think any student checking out MSU should check these out.

  • Lyman Briggs College: http://lymanbriggs.msu.edu/
  • James Madison College: https://jmc.msu.edu/
  • Arts and Humanities: http://rcah.msu.edu/

Honors College

High Achieving students. Apply directly to MSU and follow steps after initial application to be considered. Qualified students receive scholarship, money towards studying abroad, research opportunities early on and access to professors and small class sizes.

MSU can be a place where you find a smaller community and take advantage of the accessible resources. You’ve got to be your own advocate here, students who feel shy about asking for help, joining new programs or have no idea what they want to study and feel lost easily, MSU may not be the best fit. It’s also a little further travel wise, so you’ve GOT to visit! When researching colleges it is SO important to consider not only academics, but social environment, academic support and financial considerations. Happy college researching!


Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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