PUBLIC COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES


Reader's Choice: Texas A&M University, Texas

We use hard statistics to produce Kiplinger’s annual rankings for best values in public colleges and universities, and we’re proud of the results. Now, we’re giving our readers’ favorites a chance to brag a little, by letting a student fill us in on what’s fun, cool, quirky and just plain great on campus and nearby.

This week's pick of our reader survey of public colleges and universities, with Texas A&M University. Mark Gold (pictured left), student body president, gives us 12 insider tips. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for more student-written profiles of the favorites in our reader survey.

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LOCATION: College Station, Texas

UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT: 37,357

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BEST ON-CAMPUS FEATURE:

The Bonfire Memorial, which honors the 12 students who died in the collapse of the annual bonfire before the football game with the University of Texas. Grounded in tradition, tragedy, heroic actions and memories, the memorial personifies one of the purest forms of the Aggie Spirit, an intangible that binds together Texas A&M students. It is a beautiful memorial that generates new feelings and emotions every time you visit it.

BEST OFF-CAMPUS FEATURE:

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Technically located on campus, this federal facility is one of College Station’s best attractions. It not only depicts the life of President Bush but also draws numerous national and world leaders who come here to speak to students and others, giving us a broad and more enlightened perspective on global issues.

WHERE SENIORS WANT TO LIVE:

Off campus because on-campus housing is limited. Ideally, the surrounding houses would also be occupied by many of your friends. The chance to spend your senior year living with your best friends in a house or apartment is priceless.

UNIQUE CAMPUS TRADITION:

Aggie Muster, a solemn ceremony to honor the memories of Aggies who have died during the previous year, has a special place in my heart. The largest Muster is held on campus annually on April 21, wiith some 400 off-campus ceremonies held elsewhere in the state, throughout the nation and abroad.

BEST PLACE TO STUDY DURING FINALS WEEK:

Cushing Memorial Library -— the facility that maintains the campus archives. It is extremely quiet, the work space is more than sufficient, and the atmosphere is conducive for serious studying. For other midterm tests, social coffee shops and other on-campus library facilities are fine, but when finals come, Cushing is the place to be.

MOST CROWDED SPOT ON THE FIRST NICE DAY:

Academic Plaza. Located in the center of campus, Academic Plaza is sure to be full of Frisbee players, students lounging in hammocks, slack lining (walking on a nylon rope strung between two anchors) and studying. It is a perfect spot to simply relax and enjoy the company of so many other fellow Aggies.

BEST PLACE TO EAT WHEN THE DINING HALL WON'T DO:

When students are in need of a lunch or quick dinner for a reasonable price, there is no better place than Freebirds, which specializes in big burritos and is within walking distance of campus. If you want a slightly nicer facility, La Bodega provides the solution. Also located just outside of campus, this Baja Mexican restaurant is an ideal alternative to the dining halls.

WHERE YOU WANT TO BE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT:

With friends. Whether you are participating in or watching sporting events, going to the movies, dining at a nice restaurant, dancing at the various dance halls, going to a coffee shop, or simply relaxing in the comfort of your own home, the most important thing is whom you are with –- and almost all of us have lots of friends because Texas A&M is famous for its friendliness.

WHAT WE WON'T LEARN ON THE CAMPUS TOUR:

You can talk all you want about the heart of service at Texas A&M, but until you see more than 10,000 students volunteering in the Big Event, the nation’s largest student-led community service project, you cannot understand its magnitude. It truly captures the essence of Aggie Spirit, which sets us apart.

CLASS THAT GETS STUDENT TALKING:

Introduction to Business. Although I have never taken this class, I have heard from so many of my peers that Dr. Ben Welch is the greatest professor, and they absolutely love his class.

BEST WEEKEND FOR FRIENDS FOR FRIENDS TO VISIT:

Any football weekend. There is nothing like game day in College Station. The excitement, crowds, traditions and energy on campus are truly incredible and make for a great weekend for friends to visit.

SIX WORDS ABOUT YOUR COLLEGE THAT SAY IT ALL:

“The Aggie Spirit” can’t be explained.

TEXAS A&M CAMPUS


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