The “university experience”
by Kelly Kolton ’05
From the moment I picked up a crayon, I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer. I was always drawing diagrams and making poster boards for group projects in junior high. In high school, I took a few art and graphic design classes and really found my calling. My high school graphic design teacher became my mentor and helped me realize this was something I wanted to pursue. The next logical step was to find a college that would help further my career as well as my education. I wanted much more than just a degree from an art school. Instead, I looked for a place where I could enjoy the university experience – living in the dorms, spending nights studying, working on projects, getting real-world experience, and earning a well-rounded degree.
Location, location, location
Bradley University gives me all I want from a university. Located in Peoria, Illinois, and about two hours from Chicago, Bradley is just a few minutes from downtown Peoria, where I love to go to concerts, art exhibits, and comedy clubs. Right across from campus are many excellent restaurants, like One World Eats and Drinks, a coffeehouse and restaurant with specialty coffee drinks and gourmet dishes. Other restaurants, offering everything from sandwiches to Indian cuisine, are all within walking distance.
Bradley has 75 acres of beautiful campus, with 41 buildings. The main building, Bradley Hall, is undergoing major renovations. The project will update technology resources and add more classroom space, while keeping the external beauty and rich history of the building. Most general education classes are taught here, so every student will have a class in Bradley Hall, making it the most well-known building on campus.
The Caterpillar Global Communications Center is a modern building with many high-tech features, including audio and video studios, state-of-the-art computer labs, wireless Internet, and an Internet2 video conferencing room. In my graphic design class, we worked with students from another university, two states away, using only video conferencing, phone calls, and Internet communication.
Resources you can use
The Smith Career Center is a great resource for students. The staff hosts all kinds of career fairs and networking events. They’ll review your resume, help you find a job, and provide good information on employers through their online resources. I used their Web site to find an internship in graphic design at a local newspaper last summer. I was impressed by the individual attention I received there; in fact, my career advisor knows me by name! They must be doing something right, because the average placement rate for Bradley graduates for the past five years has been 94 percent.
Bradley and beyond
The individual attention you receive at Bradley really makes this university unique from others. Most of my professors are willing to write recommendation letters, refer me for jobs or internships, or go out to lunch and chat. Professors will sometimes even give out their home phone numbers. With 5,000 undergraduates, the average class size is 23 students, which allows for much more interaction and personalized attention.
Classes aren’t always on campus. In March, I studied in Eastern Europe through a Fulbright grant. This year, I will take a design class in London, through Bradley’s Study Abroad program. My friends have traveled as far as China for other classes.
The opportunities at Bradley are endless. I started a club my sophomore year and work at the school newspaper, the Bradley Scout. I’m also doing graphic design work for the University‘s quarterly magazine, which goes out to more than 50,000 Bradley graduates around the world.
There are great opportunities for every student, with more than 100 academic programs in five colleges and more than 200 student organizations. These extra-curricular activities are perfect for fun, learning, and friendships. I highly recommend getting involved with an organization that deals with your interests.
Bradley University has given me many opportunities to learn, grow, and further my career. It’s been a great “university experience!”
Bradley Hilltopics’ student
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