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College Visit Review: University of Missouri at Columbia

The University of Missouri at Columbia, affectionately called “Mizzou” by staff, students, alumni, and admirers, hovers along the border between the liberal North and the Deep South. In a location where an hour’s venture south could land you in a sea of Confederate flags, this college town bubble has all the telltale signs of your typical, progressive northern city. The only giveaway is the heat of the sun, and even that serves a merry, picturesque purpose, fueling a vibrant campus life and coaxing forth a wide variety of vegetation, which can be seen everywhere and deeply experienced in the nearby Ozark Mountains and Mark Twain National Forest.
Columbia is cute from a Chicagoan perspective. It really is a dictionary-definition college town – the University’s newspaper is much more popular than the city’s “Columbian” and all the shops, restaurants, cafes and clothing stores are blatantly directed at college students. Mizzou has all those weird college traditions you’ve heard about plus some: an age-old rivalry with Kansas, a bust of some guy whose nose you rub for good final exam scores, and a shamrock tile just outside the College of Engineering that guarantees future marriage to an engineer for anyone who stands on it. The campus is centered around the iconic Mizzou Columns, the only parts left standing of what was once the Academic Hall after it was ravaged by a fire in 1892.
It’s common knowledge that the University of Missouri at Columbia is a great journalism school, in part because it is the oldest school of journalism in the world at 106 years and counting, and is always neck-in-neck with Northwestern for the highest rankings.The university is also fairly easy to get into. It’s an automatic admissions process as long as you meet the basic criteria: if you’ve completed the required core curriculum and have an ACT composite score of at least 24 or an SAT critical reading and math subscore total of at least 1090, you’ve got a fair chance. If you’re not quite there, they have a list of required class rankings corresponding with scores lower than the aforementioned. The application itself is wildly easy – no essays, no letters of recommendation, just enter your basic information and send in your test scores and transcript.
The most awe-inspiring physical aspect of the campus? The massive recreational complex. I would “work out” every day if I went to Mizzou, if only to be in the recreation building. Featuring a huge aquatic center with several pools, a 42-foot rock climbing tower, complexes for just about every sport you can imagine, and more workout equipment rooms than I cared to count, it’s sophisticated, clean, looks new, and isn’t overcrowded. Tour guides really try to sell it, but they don’t need to – the complex speaks for itself.
Keep in mind that this is a giant school. 34,748 students, to be exact, and it has all the corresponding advantages and disadvantages.Those downfalls, like 300-student lecture halls, are avoidable if you can get into the Honors College. Its requirements, which are listed online, include a minimum ACT score of 29 (or 1290 on the SAT), but they are willing to arrange admission for some students who don’t quite meet those numbers. Even if they don’t have the technical requirements, it seems that any deserving student can always find some way in at Mizzou.

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