Pros: Inexpensive tuition, variety of programs offered, small class size.
Cons: Reputation as a party school.
As an alumna of East Carolina University (ECU), I must say that I would highly recommend ECU to anyone looking for a quality education at a reasonable price. ECU has made great strides over the past decade in terms of academics, admissions criteria, and its overall reputation as a serious school. It may still be known as Easy U to some, but it is no longer just the party school it once was.
Reputation as A Party School and How It Is Changing:
ECU has long been known as a major party school This is due in part to its ranking in a major magazine as one of the top ten party schools in the nation. That was back in the 1980s when Greenville was still a very small rural town with very little to do other than party. There is still much partying to be found on ECUs campus and off, but Greenville and the surrounding areas have grown. There are many other activities and associations to be found for those who are not party animals. Such activities and organizations include honor societies such as Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi, and Christian organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ.
Along with its party school reputation, ECU once had a reputation as a school to which anyone who was breathing could be admitted. It did not even require an SAT score of 1000 to be admitted, and one could easily get in with a C average. It was an average school for the average student. That is rapidly changing. Today the minimum SAT score required for a student coming out of high school is well over 1000, and there is much more consideration given to grades and extracurricular activities. ECU is attracting more top students through its offering of scholarships and honors programs.
Not Too Big and Not Too Small:
I attended East Carolina as a transfer student from a very small, private, all girls college. A major factor in choosing a college to transfer to was the size of its student body. I did not want to remain at a school that was so small it was suffocating, as was my other school, but I did not want anything too large, either. I loved UNC Chapel Hill and NC State, but they were such large schools! I felt I would have a hard time with the transition to either one. Upon my visits to both UNC and State, I felt as though I was drowning in a sea of people. I felt uncomfortable and lost! That was not the case at ECU. I am not certain what the enrollment was ten years ago when I attended, but today it is around 18,000 students. That is not small, but it is not overwhelmingly large, either.
Most of my classes at ECU were relatively small, especially within my major. I believe my largest class may have contained around 150 people. That may seem large until you compare it with classes at larger universities, which sometimes contain over 300 students! My smallest class was a painting studio in which I was one of only ten students! Your general education classes such as Math, English, and Psychology may be larger. Once you have selected a major, however, class sizes are usually fairly small. You get a lot of individualized attention at ECU!
Quality and Selection of Programs Offered:
You will find a wide variety of programs offered at ECU. There are undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees offered. Programs include nursing, art, education, biology, industrial technology, music, and dance, to name a few off the top of my head. The list of programs offered is quite lengthy. ECU also has one of the top ranked medical schools in the nation for rural medicine.
As far as my personal experience goes, I majored in art education at ECU and I have never regretted it. ECU School of Art is one of the top art schools on the East Coast. I must admit that I wanted to attend Carolina because of its prestige, but it didnt have as much to offer me as an art major. ECU offered a wider variety of art programs. My professors were top notch, and most of them were accomplished artists. One of my painting professors was even a visiting professor and artist from Yale!
Most of my classes were taught by tenured professors, not graduate students. I am not knocking grad students, but I appreciate being taught by a well seasoned professional. Many of my friends at larger universities complained that many of their classes were taught by grad students. They felt as though they were being slighted. This was not the case for me at ECU!
After attending a very costly private school the last thing I wanted to do was make my parents pay through the nose for the rest of my education. ECU was relatively inexpensive in comparison to other state schools, and still is. There are many students from out of state at ECU, due to the low cost of tuition. Many become North Carolina residents after a year in order to get in state tuition. I am not sure exactly what the tuition was when I attended, but it was a bargain. Currently, tuition is only $3454.00 per semester for residents, and $13,668 for non-residents. That includes all student fees, and use of the state-of-the-art recreation center.
During my time at ECU I attended many a football game. ECU fans like me are a very loyal bunch. We may not have the greatest football team, but we are still loyal to ECU and know how to have fun. There are more than a couple tailgating fields near the stadium, and student tickets are readily available for most games. There is rarely any trouble with the crowd like riots, and attending the games is a blast!
Worth A Look:
I encourage anyone considering East Carolina University to overlook the stereotypes and take a closer look. ECU has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and I feel that you will be pleasantly surprised. If I had listened to everyone else, I would have missed out.