Small town students adapt to university life

Attending a large university like the University of Kansas can be intimidating for students. For students coming from small communities, they may encounter classes larger than their hometowns. However, if students take advantage of opportunities to make the campus seem smaller, they can find great success.

Kayla Schartz: Students across the nation are deciding where they will spend their college years. One concern for some rural high school students is how they will adapt to a university setting. Current KU sophomore MacKenzie Koester graduated in a class of 55 students from Hoisington High School. She said a fear of how you will adapt shouldn’t keep you from attending the college of your choice.

MacKenzie Koester: I don’t think that they should feel intimidated. I can see where it would be at first because it is such a large population difference, but it’s good to break out of your comfort zone. And I think we’re all able to adapt.

Schartz: While Koester said she felt she was at a disadvantage in some aspects, she has been able to overcome these issues by using the lessons she learned from her small community.

Koester: I think everything that we’re raised on and everyone we’re surrounded by has always reinforced hard work. I think that that’s something that is just instilled in us from a young age and we can always tap back into that whenever times get tough. And I’m very grateful that that’s something that my community has taught me.

Schartz: Sarah Crawford-Parker serves as director for the KU Office of First-Year Experience. She encourages students to make connections with resident assistants as well as faculty members and advisers. She said advisers can be a valuable resource for students.

Sarah Crawford-Parker: And sometimes what the academic advisor can do is really say here is a specific faculty member you should go to see and I’m going to call them for you or I’m going to reach out to them for you. You know, they can just again help to try and make some of those connections although, in the end, again students have to be proactive to some extent.

Schartz: In her time at the university, Crawford-Parker has seen students from communities of all sizes have success.

Crawford-Parker: It’s really, in some cases, not about where you’re from, but it’s what do you do when you get here.

Schartz: Reporting for Small Town, Kansas, I’m Kayla Schartz.


Small town snippets: Rural communities garner attention

Rural healthcare has not been a priority in past years and a recent study has shown that those residing in rural areas have shorter life expectancies than those living in large cities. However, a program in Arizona is working to funnel more medical professionals to rural communities.

Experts from around the country converged at the University of Kansas on Friday to discuss the future of rural communities. The preservation of natural resources was a primary topic of discussion at the symposium.

Funding from the USDA helped in the creation and completion of a variety of projects in rural Kansas in 2013. The state received more than $413 million which was used to improve water quality and help small businesses, among other projects.

[Bonus] A recent article from the Kansas City Star put the spotlight on the quality of service provided by small town businesses. Author Cindy Hoedel shared her appreciation for small town businesses that go the extra mile for their customers.