This archived article was written by: Michael Overson
Numerous studies have shown that the College of Eastern Utah is the most cost effective choice when it comes to obtaining a college education in Utah. It boggles my mind that, until looking for a college to attend did I even hear about CEU. Growing up in Utah one would think that all of the state schools should be on my list to attend.
Not so for this writer, not only did I not know where Price was, but also that CEU existed. How did this happen? It is not that opportunities to find out were lacking, every other state school bombarded me with fliers and invitations for campus visits.
Come on, who attended high school and passed up an excused absence just for spending 20 minutes talking about different colleges? Why is it then that no mention had been made to me by the guidance counselors? Yes, they do not do their jobs well, but even they can pass out a flier. What recruitment does this school do? Is the majority done in Carbon and Emery counties?
These questions have yet to be answered, so my quest to find out began. After asking a few people around campus my interest was suddenly peaked when the fact that seven people from Alaska not only know each other, but came here together.
Jesika Henderson told me, “The main reasons for my attendance are my friends from home in Wasilla, Ala., and a need for a change in scenery. The difference between the mountains is huge, compared to the Rockies in Alaska, these here are babies.”
Ashley Babcock said, “I heard the dance department was good so I decided to come check it out. After that, I talked to my friends and convinced a few of them to come as well.”
The majority of the athletes who play for our school were recruited but a few came here not from recruiting but rather word of mouth. Jennifer Little told me, “I was sitting in an airport after not playing ball for 5 years when a close friend working at the airport. He told me about his connections with BYU and CEU. I’d already been to BYU so I decided to give CEU a try. I came down, talked to Coach [Dave] Paur and got offered a scholarship to play.”
Kazu Hirota said, “I went to yahoo.com and searched for the cheapest college in America. CEU was one of the cheapest so I came.”
The different programs offered at CEU should attract more people than they do. With a diesel mechanics and welding program that consistently does well in national competitions, the flood of students from around the state and country should arrive anytime. That wave will never come because not too many people know about CEU. With a few high schools around the state still having an automotive program, it should be a top priority to recruit. Until name recognition is achieved there must be a strong push for awareness. To battle the schools that already have a name for themselves focus on the fact that this college still has the lowest tuition in the state. Who can argue with the numbers on that one?
One of the major reasons for my attendance is the fact that yes there was a radio program here and it was accessible. Being a DJ for my high school put me into the right circumstances to attend, but otherwise who knows if CEU would have been my choice. Alison Evans, a tutor for the Student Support Services, told me during our interview, “My cousins came here and loved the school. So I applied for an academic scholarship which I ended up getting and came here. Not only that but I needed a change from the big city, growing up close to Weber State I didn’t want to go there. I like the fact that this is a small town, it’s a nice break from the fast paced life of Ogden.” Let us not forget about the nursing program, which always has more applicants than can be accepted, that is a draw but perhaps with more funding the program could be extended and accommodate more people.
Finally the cosmetology program is a draw too. Erin Brinton said, “I heard about the school from a friend and decided to take a campus tour. When I got here I really liked the campus and they had a cosmetology program so I applied for an academic scholarship which I got and came to school.”
This school really seems like grades 13-14 of high school. It seems as if more than half of the students knew each other when they went to Carbon High a few hundred yards away. Being a junior college it is easy to understand that getting CEU’s name out there is tough, but not impossible. If Utah Valley State College can make the transformation from a technical school, community college, state college with four-year degrees to a university in just over 10 years, then why can’t we?
The critics of this piece will be quick to point out that the population base in Utah County is significantly larger than that of Carbon and Emery county. But so what, every city starts as a town. What we need to do is focus on the strong points of the school. The technical trades that are taught here are done so in both a friendly and professional manner.
Why not visit the high school competitions and try to capitalize on the students graduating? Embrace the positive traits of this school and the rest will work itself out. Trade schools are in high demand especially since there is a shortage of skilled workers coming into the working force of America.
CEU has a relaxed atmosphere, sometimes it seems like high school all over again but now my parents cannot excuse an absence for me. With the small enrollment that we have, class size is such that student teacher interaction is possible. Isn’t it weird that the school with the lowest tuition costs also has the lowest enrollment rates?