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Thread: College

  1. #1
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    College

    I'm a mountain biker in Maine and am finishing my third year of highschool and starting to look at colleges more seriously. I was curious what colleges have good cycling/mountain biking clubs which do serious devision 1 and 2 series racing.
    I found this list a few minutes ago when i was looking online, but all of these schools seem really small and biking is their main focus.

    http://bicycling.about.com/od/profes...te_cycling.htm

    I want to go to a middle sized college and not focus completely on biking but have a dedicated club where I can travel and race.
    Thanks for any advice

  2. #2
    DynoDon
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    I know U of M (Michigan) has a good team.

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    west point--team army cycling

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    what are you going to be studying in school? major?
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    Lehigh University

    You seriously might want to check out Lehigh University with a nearly 1,000 acre mostly-wooded campus on South Mountain in Bethlehem, PA. A huge number of trails nearby known for a lot of rocks/logs and the school's close to both New York and Philadelphia. Lehigh has a decent-sized undergrad/grad population with a decent variety of majors/programs. Only downside is that its pretty pricey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    what are you going to be studying in school? major?
    Psssh, why bring education into the process of choosing schools, you talking crazy talk.

    EDIT: That being said, I'm going to throw Colorado State University into the hat. Great riding town.
    Last edited by DanD; 01-29-2011 at 07:13 PM.

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    University of Nevada, Reno. They've got a cycling club there, not sure about any actual racing. They're my top choice for next year, the location being just one good thing. It's nice because the campus is on the opposite side of town from all the downtown casino crap. And there are mining trails all over the mountains there. Not sure if it's entirely legal, but whatever. Did I mention it doesn't snow as much on that side of the Sierras, but Sugarbowl is half an hour away from campus?

    Yea. I like that school a bit too much. Good thing I've already been accepted!
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

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    How I wish I could go to a real college. I go to community college because I am a cheap **** and don't want to pay tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. I also work. what ever you do never ever do what I do. Ever!!!!!

    Rant over.

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    Scholarships!

    Scholarships, scholarships, and more scholarships! I got a $15k/year scholarship to a small lib/arts school in the Northwest. Of course, total costs are originally around $48k/year. I also got a $1500/year scholarship from UNR for good grades/test scores. And then there are all sorts of scholarships from third parties.

    To the OP: keep your grades up. I'm a bit more the exception rather than the rule, as I've got good grades and all sorts of extracurriculars, but you'll start getting emails and letters from schools if your grades are good enough. And then the scholarship offers will come in once you've applied. Take the SAT a few times, as well as the ACT. And there are probably thousands of scholarships available online; just Google "scholarships" and check that they're legitimate sites before you fill anything out.

    And the FAFSA! (free application for federal student aid). Yea, it's loans, but student loans often have lower interest rates, and school now and money later is better than some money now, no school now, and some money and some school later.
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by erik1245
    University of Nevada, Reno. It's nice because the campus is on the opposite side of town from all the downtown casino crap.
    Not sure where you got your info from, but the University of Nevada is about 3 blocks from downtown.

    On the other hand, yes riding areas are readily available all around the area. Keystone Canyon is accessible from the top of the UNR campus.

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    I just got home today from a campus visit. Reno is a pretty small town, in my opinion. The campus is far enough removed and nice enough to feel like you aren't in downtown Reno, and there aren't a whole lot of reasons you would leave campus, except for living if you aren't living on campus. And then you probably wouldn't have a room in Circus Circus for the school year.
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

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    True, downtown is on the other side of the freeway. The only reason to cross is to get cheap food.

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    Check out WVU, really great small town with great people, awesome outdoor recreation nearby, and just about any major you would want to pursue. Plus, you can cruise to Pittsburgh in less than 2 hours and catch a pens game on a weeknight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanD
    Psssh, why bring education into the process of choosing schools, you talking crazy talk.

    EDIT: That being said, I'm going to throw Colorado State University into the hat. Great riding town.

    I had already been thinking about colorado a bit but its such a big school and my education is a little important. Speaking of scholarships and grades my GPA is like a 98.something and I've done really well in school, thats why I'm thinking a little more prestigious school should be chosen... Of course parties will be attended wherever i go...
    but tell me more about colorado's team and the school in general. I assume you're talking about Boulder?

    I'm undecided in a major right now, I've had interest in mechanical engineering but now am becoming more interested in arts... dont know yet.
    Thanks for all the advice

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    there are a lot of schools with cycling teams. I know for a fact that most state schools in the midwest and some private schools in the midwest have cycling teams. I also know that in a lot of cases, if your school lacks one, you can form one. I helped form one at the school I attended (Wittenberg University), but I personally didn't race (I did more work with social rides, trail work, and advocacy). I worked with a guy who was in charge of all the racing stuff.

    He raced against people from Ohio University (big cycling program there), Indiana University, Ohio State, University of Wisconsin, U of Michigan, and a couple of the schools in that list the OP posted. I know that were I go now also has a cycling team (Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas), also, but I do not know who they race against and I don't know any of the current guys on the team because none of them mtb.

    I'd say get a list of schools that interest you more for other things, and use the cycling program to help narrow the list.

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    thanks a bunch. i kind of assume that most colleges do but I also know that they are mostly focused on roadbiking and most university web pages don't even include cycling at all. and this is definitely an extra selective element, this is by no means my complete focus. Im definitely happy to read about how many schools offer the sport and now have an even bigger list to check out.
    I also had the somewhat unrealistic idea that I might be able to get scholarship money for being the highschool mtb state champion but that probably won't happen unless its a more dedicated school...

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    Quote Originally Posted by robcran
    I had already been thinking about colorado a bit but its such a big school and my education is a little important.
    I don't really understand what you mean by this. Big schools attract lots of top notch students, have tons of resources/majors and often have some of the best faculty/staff because they have the bankrolls to hire among the best of professors.

    I was just reading two textbooks for a class I'm in now. All of which are written by professors, all which teach at huge schools (The books I'm reading this second were written by profs at Texas A&M and Ok State and U of M). I know being published does not make you a great prof, but the point is, big schools attract a lot of talent. Big schools also usually have many many majors, and when you narrow down what you want to study and enter your program of study the school will become considerably smaller to you.

    Some GREAT schools are Private and small, or just small. Some GREAT schools are also rather large.

    As far as the original question goes, I wouldn't put riding on the top of my list when considering schools. I know that this is just one factor for you, but as has been posted above, if there isn't a campus riding organization already, you can start one! Since riding is important to you, maybe considering the closest singletrack to campus will be fine, but I think that most schools you find will have some sort of singletrack relatively close by.

    Choosing a school is important, but since you're a good student I think you'll have good choices. Make sure to do campus tours when you can to get a feel of the place. One thing I learned when I came to college is, schools are something that you get to know over time. It's difficult to get a real feel of a place in a brief visit. They do help you determine whether something just doesnt fit at all.

    One more point about big schools. Since you seem to be an good student, if you do look at a bigger school you should look into honors societies, etc. Many schools have a small pool of students who take special classes and have special opportunities because they're especially talented/ had good grades and test scores.

    Good Luck, and enjoy this process!
    Originally Posted by Bmateo1:
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  19. #19
    Truly Doneski
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    If I were you I would go to The University of Georgia. If you're an especially talented student you can apply to be a Foundation Fellow. I guarantee that the University will change your life, and Athens is a lovely place with it's fair share of singletrack.
    Originally Posted by Bmateo1:
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    I didn't mean to say you can't get a good education from a big school, I was just responding to the joke in relation to uc boulder. I think maybe going to a more prestigious and personal school would be better in terms of having less distractions, like partying (which university of colorado is known for) and having smaller classes and closer relations with professors. I don't really know yet I still have some time to check schools out. Thanks for all the advice though.
    And where do you go? I'd prefer if people talked a little more about personal experience rather than what they've heard from other people..

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    I can understand that. I don't personally know anything about Colorado so I wasn't aware of the reputation that they have. I wouldn't always take reputation at face value though, many schools that are known to be "Party Schools" are also quite successful academically. Like you're saying, you don't want to hear anecdotes people have heard from others, and it's always great to just check out a school yourself.

    Going to small schools is very good in many ways. It's a rare student who doesn't benefit with a more personal, one on one style relationship with a professor. It's also really nice to have access to everyone at your school, teachers, administrators etc. If you ever have a problem at a small school, it's often easier to gain access to whoever you need to fix the issue. There is no way you'll ever get to know everyone at a bigger school the way you will at a smaller one.

    I go to The University of Georgia, which is why I made the comment above. I was being a bit prideful/tongue in cheek, you probably aren't looking at big schools in the south! I do absolutely love Georgia though, and it's a very academically rigorous school. I would really encourage anyone to look at Georgia, there's something for everyone in Athens.

    As far as class size goes, I think most big schools will surprise you. My experience at Georgia (36,000 students) has been that some of the Freshman and Sophomore classes will be really large (over 80 students), but many of them are a regular size and once you get into your coursework, your classes will all be around the size of a large public high school class (around 20-30 students). Lots of times, Freshman and Sophomore students would benefit the most from having a little more attention though, so having some really large classes early on isn't ideal for some.

    My point in my post about large schools is just that, since they're so large, they really have something to offer most students. If you are the sort that likes to feel very plugged into a smaller community though, a smaller school would probably be the right fit.

    Either way, ride on, and congrats on your status as a top notch H.S. MTB Racer.
    Originally Posted by Bmateo1:
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  22. #22
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    there's plenty of partying at the smaller, more prestigious liberal arts colleges, too. Don't get me wrong. It's a big part of any campus, even (and sometimes especially) on the ones that supposedly "prohibit" such behavior.

    But what seems to happen at the smaller, more prestigious schools, is that there seems to be a higher proportion of folks who are better able to balance their social life with their education.

    I can certainly make comparisons between smaller (~2,000 students) and larger (~15,000 students) campuses with regards to access to profs and administrators. If you're a higher level student, you have better access. As a lower level student, it's very hard at a bigger school since you tend to be just another number. Even at a small school that can happen in lower level classes unless you distinguish yourself in some way.

    To be honest, I'd return to a small school to study anytime. I hate the BS at the bigger school I attend now. The individuals I know in my department are good to me, but the administration doesn't care at all and that can be a big problem at times.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by robcran
    thanks a bunch. i kind of assume that most colleges do but I also know that they are mostly focused on roadbiking and most university web pages don't even include cycling at all. and this is definitely an extra selective element, this is by no means my complete focus. Im definitely happy to read about how many schools offer the sport and now have an even bigger list to check out.
    I also had the somewhat unrealistic idea that I might be able to get scholarship money for being the highschool mtb state champion but that probably won't happen unless its a more dedicated school...
    At most schools, I am going out on a limb here, but MTB is probably a club sport and schools can't give out money for club sports, you actually have to pay to be on them. this is how volleyball is at some major schools and Im guessing cycling is the same way. I could be wrong though.

  24. #24
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    Here's a good way to see what colleges have good racing programs:

    http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=5574

    In my experience, most medium-large colleges and universities will have cycling teams, and many of them will have MTB as a sub-team.

    My Advice?

    Pick a college based primarily upon educational factors, not recreation factors. You will soon realize that there is much more to college than a single sport or club, and where you go to school may very well affect the rest of your life. Most people who play collegiate sports, for example, never turn pro in whatever sport they play. They're left with the education they received in school and the experiences they had on their campuses, which are far more important than picking a campus with a good MTB team.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by robcran
    I didn't mean to say you can't get a good education from a big school, I was just responding to the joke in relation to uc boulder. I think maybe going to a more prestigious and personal school would be better in terms of having less distractions, like partying (which university of colorado is known for) and having smaller classes and closer relations with professors. I don't really know yet I still have some time to check schools out. Thanks for all the advice though.
    And where do you go? I'd prefer if people talked a little more about personal experience rather than what they've heard from other people..
    just so you know, cu [boulder] and csu [ft collins] as suggested by the poster above, are two different schools. i have no idea about their cycling teams but excellent biking can be had in each area.

    as you were...

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