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Student Story: Apoorva Sarmal – How I Selected My University

As my class 12th Board Examinations approached me, the much hyped about college talk started coming up almost everywhere, be it birthdays, events, or parties. I had known for a long time that I wasn’t going to pursue my education in Delhi because I did not yet understand what I really wanted to study. My parents wanted me to crack the Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE) examinations and study at IIT Delhi, but that’s not what I had in mind. I wanted to be able to choose my own path. That is how I decided to pursue my undergraduate career abroad. My name is Apoorva and I just summarized my most stressful year into the paragraph above. It is easier to look back now, but at that point in time, making this decision was the most difficult thing that I had done.
The idea of studying abroad, though glamorous and exciting, didn’t quite convince me till it introduced with itself the varied dimensions of a Liberal Arts Education. My past year at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (UWSP) has truly explained to me how a Liberal Arts education is dynamic and a clear winner. The continual assistance offered by the Student Academic and Advising Center at UWSP helped me understand the system better and find out  what courses will best complete my degree requirements, while keeping in mind the courses that intrigued me the most. Meeting with peers who had similar interests as mine over a cup of coffee led to hours of conversation which helped all of us gain some insight and directions to this pathway that I took in finally selecting my course of study.
Now here’s some food for thought about UWSP, it is located in a small town in Central Wisconsin amidst mountains, waterfalls and forest reserves. It is a place where people believe in living simply and learning about other cultures. The best part about UWSP is that the university is completely immersed in the community and vice versa which gives both the people of the city and the students of the university a safe, engaging and happy place to live in. My parents were particularly concerned about the safety of the place I’d be spending my next four years. During their one week visit, when they saw the UWSP Protective Services all around campus, the Courtesy Cabs dropping students who didn’t own vehicles off at all hours, and Stevens Point City Police monitoring the area, they were more than content with the safety measures at UWSP. Needless to say, UWSP is a happy place to be!
The moment I told my friends and family I was thinking about studying abroad, their reactions screamed “financially unrealistic” and “expensive”. When I told them there are universities that grant funds to eligible students and reward the work of the students, they suggested that the quality of my education would be compensated. In my first year at UWSP, I have come to realize that none of that is true. I am availing a world-class education, living in a safe and secure environment, while making connections with students from more than 80 countries around the world. More than that, because UWSP is a considerably smaller school, professors are able to look into each student’s profile and are keen on how their class is doing.
Basically, what I am trying to imply is that all this happened, because I knew what I wanted from my university. I wanted a range of options in terms of the courses offered, wished for a happy and engaging community, and needed scholarships to financially assist me. Some students also ask me if I ever visit the bigger cities, or do I only stay in Stevens Point? Here’s the best part about living in a smaller town, you can go have fun and tour around the more populated areas, but you get to come back to the warmth and loving care of home at the end of the day, which is exactly what I needed. A place far, far away from home, that could actually become my second home someday – which it eventually did.
So what are you waiting for? Get a head start on your research! Contact me or the IKC, we’re here to help :)

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