Saturday, March 23, 2019

TEXAS SMALL TOWNS AND COLLEGE TOURING

When it comes to deciding which college you will attend, it can be hard to figure out the best way to go about it. Obviously one option is just to apply everywhere you’re remotely interested in and see what comes back. But this is your journey – and you should use it as a chance to learn about yourself and what you’re looking for. Narrowing down your college list can force you to decide where you could actually see yourself living, and the best way to do this is to physically visit the school and the surrounding areas. I suggest piggy-backing on the tour with a short vacation, to explore the area, amenities, cuisine and people.

Actually going to a campus will give you a feel for what it’s like to be a student there in actuality as opposed to figuratively. Before you buy a car, you take it for a test drive, and before you commit to a college, you visit. At least, you should, and that visit should be an official one, with a guided tour. Sometimes you’ll visit a campus and know instantly that it’s not for you. Sometimes you might visit a school that you hadn’t really been considering only to fall in love with the campus, city, vibe, or all three.

In fact, my daughter and I just completed our first college visit at University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, TX. The drive from Houston was approximately 2.5 hours, but if you know me, then you'll know the farm girl in me stopped numerous times to awe at the rolling hills of green pastures, sprawling oaks, and grazing furry four-legged friends.



We were received at Mary Hardin Baylor with warmth and open arms; everyone seemed so genuine and personable. I read somewhere that UMHB has been ranked one of America's top 10 prettiest campuses, and it truly is extraordinary to look at, but it's also worth mentioning their average class size is 18 students and their student body is rich in cultural diversity - both of which are important to our family. And if you're a nursing major, the privileges available are unlike anything I've ever seen - state-of-the-art facilities with a simulation center that mimics the Baylor Scott & White Hospital setting. Everything you would see in a real hospital setting, you would see in the UMHB nursing school. I was pleasantly blown away!


We always try to take a guided tour. (Most schools also offer maps for a self-guided tour, but you miss out on the wealth of information acquired on a guided one.) Student-led tours are the ideal occasion to learn about academics and student life from the students themselves. 

The atmosphere on the UMHB campus is warm and welcoming. There appear to be many different ways to get involved on campus, but still room for incoming students to put their own touch on campus life. The average classroom size is 18 students which is mind-blowing, coming from a 6A high school whose class size exceeds 25 in most instances. Lastly, I have to mention the nursing facilities, as you see in the images above - just wow! Unlike any nursing education environment I've ever seen or experienced! What a privilege it would be to have the opportunity to study here. It almost makes me want to go back to college. 

Almost.

While the town of Belton itself is filled-to-the-brim with goodness all its own, it sits between Temple and Salado -- all three pack a punch well above their weight class when it comes to dining, shopping, outdoor activities, and most importantly, charm.

Walk through a quiet downtown filled with quaint, locally owned stores, and you can smell the mom-and-pop restaurants cooking everything from burgers and fries to specialty dishes created by executive chefs. Residents walking their dogs stop to say hello and welcome you to their little slice of heaven. Even shop owners take the time to throw up a hand and issue a friendly greeting as you walk by. Many of the residents know one another, and festivals abound as an excuse to come together. And if you look hard enough, "small town" is usually a misnomer, because you'll usually find an abundance of things to do.

Eats:

In case you’re heading to central Texas in the future, I thought I’d share the restaurants where we dined, because I know when I travel I always want to know of good places to eat.  (If we didn’t like the restaurant I don't list it.)

Bird Creek Burger, Temple, TX: The Classic Burger, Avocado Toast (pictures below)

Los Mini Tacos food truck, Temple, TX: Mini Tacos, Fajita Tacos

Lively Coffee Shop, Salado, TX: Chai Latte, BLT sandwich, Chicken Salad Sandwich



 


3 comments:

  1. You should write for travel magazines!! You captured our Centex life very well. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a compliment - thank you! And thank you for visiting my blog!

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

I am incredibly grateful for your comment! I will respond as soon as possible. XOXO, Mandi

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...