West Virginia State University Tour

Today I went with my mother on an individual tour to West Virginia State University. West Virginia State University, not to be confused with West Virginia University (WVU), is a public land-grant university in Institute, West Virginia. It is the largest higher learning institution in the Charleston metropolitan area, and is one of the 19 institutes granting masters degrees in West Virginia. In doing research for this article, I also found that despite being designated a HCBU (Historically Black College and University), today African-Americans only make up 8% of the student body. In fact, the only other HBCU that truly puts the 'Historical' in 'HBCU' is Bluefield State University, also having 8%, also in West Virginia. Oh, West Virginia, you silly goose.

Apologies for that side tangent there. Anyhow, the main reason I am planning on enrolling at WVSU is because, A) it is quite close to where I plan to live as a young adult, assuming I choose to not live in the dorms, and B) it is quite affordable for a university, and financial aid plus scholarships will make it even more so. I have yet to receive my report card for the end of this year but since I maintained all A's, my GPA would be well above the requirements for both the WV Promise Scholarship ($5,200) and the university's own Yellow Jacket Scholarship ($5,000), which would be enough to pay entirely for tuition ($8,308) and then some. So pretty much, it's exactly what I want out of a university.

The Tour

After almost being late because of road construction, we had some initial difficulties figuring out both where to park and where to go. The email I received said to go to parking spot B, so surely that is where we ought to park, right? Nope, that's staff parking. We actually had to park across the road. We still got it wrong since we ended up parking in a staff spot, since we didn't know the spots were color-coded for visitor, student, and faculty/staff. Anyhow, when we went to the Ferrell Hall we were a bit lost on where we were meant to go from the entrance. Eventually we stumbled into the Student Admissions center, which thankfully was where we were meant to go. I feel the directions we were sent could have been a little clearer, especially since the admissions center is a decent walk into the building. Anyhow, after we reached the intended spot, it was smooth sailing from there.

Before the tour began, one of the admissions center fellas went over some general info about admissions, scholarships, and WVSU. After that, we were set off with our tour guide to walk around the campus. It was actually a pretty simple tour, the tour guide went over some basics about university life and what all the buildings were for. To my mother's dismay we did not get to go see inside any dorms. This is unfortunate since the big reason she wanted to tag along was so she could see inside a real college dorm. We did get to see inside a classroom, though. Since you usually see those big lecture halls in films and TV and such, I expected it to look more like that, but in reality it just looked like any ordinary classroom you might see in high school. They did have the more traditional lecture halls, but from how she talked about them it seemed like they were just for if a class had too many students than they were supposed to, and otherwise were just used as a sort of mini auditorium.

Alright, another thing I have to note is that there was this little house called the East Hall. See, our tour guide made sure to make special note of this, because it is actually on the west side of the campus. I expected this to be because the campus got bigger over time and they decided to just keep the name for historical reasons. Well, in reality, it truly was originally on the east side of the campus. But they put in this swanky modern house where the principal or whatever lived, and they decided to just up and move the East Hall to the opposite side of the campus to get it out of the way. My mom had to ask for clarification to make sure the tour guide didn't misspeak. By the way, that modern house totally clashes with the architecture of the rest of the campus. Oh, and a little bit after that, the tour guide asked if I knew the difference between a college and a university. Apparently, I was the first person to have a tour with her that actually knew the right answer. I'd like to hope she just hasn't done that many tours.

I was shocked by how much of the campus was just open field. The tour guide even mentioned that most people don't usually walk through the back side of the campus, since it only really hosts the sports buildings, so the fraternities use it to host barbeques. The good news with that is that I wouldn't have to walk very much for all my classes. Not to sound lazy, but one of the things I noticed whilst I toured Marshall as part of a school trip was that it was big, and all the different buildings were spaced out. This did help make it feel a bit more lively, with all the college kids walking around to their classes, but I feel it would get a bit tiring after awhile especially if you had classes on opposite sides of the campus. Of course, Marshall did have an incredibly beautiful campus so it wouldn't be all that bad. That isn't to say that WVSU is a bad campus but obviously it isn't competing with Marshall when it comes to design and architectural beauty.

The prettiest structure there was probably the clock tower, which seems to be the big landmark at their campus. The tour guide said that there's supposed to be a time capsule on the top of it, set to be opened sometime during 2090. She joked that, "you might still be alive by then". Maybe if I'm lucky. Assuming we're still "West Virginia" and not "Radioactive Containment Zone STAY OUT", of course.

At the end of the tour we went back to the admissions center, where the fella from before came back to answer some general questions I had. We ended up being done with the tour well before the end of the allotted hour, so if you are going to visit WVSU don't worry about not having enough time to see everything. All in all, it definitely helped me get a better picture of what it'd be like if I enrolled there. Since the only other college I've been to is Marshall, it helped ground my expectations in reality a bit more. Marshall would be really nice to attend, but from a pragmatic point of view it's just not worth the cost and travel. I might end up going there if I plan to get a masters degree, though. I'll say this though, one thing that WVSU and Marshall had in common is that they both had Starbucks on campus. It must be mandatory to have one in every college and university.

Posted June 1 2023 10:56PM