Why Fitchburg? Count the reasons

By Robert Vater

As dorms open and classes begin this week, seeing all of the new faces on campus brings up a question: Why did we choose Fitchburg State in the first place?

Patrick McCarthy may have some of the answers. A recent graduate of

Sports teams help draw students to Fitchburg State. (staff photo by Denise Griffin)

Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School in Wakefield, he is one of hundreds of new students coming to Fitchburg State for the fall 2010 semester.

“The campus seemed really nice,” McCarthy said. “It was also the perfect distance from home; it was far enough that I could live on campus, but close enough that I could still come home every now and then.”

But McCarthy’s real reasons for coming to Fitchburg State had more to do with his career goals. Having attended the drafting and design program at his high school, he came across Fitchburg State through his school’s career center. Every year, Northeast Metro Tech takes students on a tour of Fitchburg State’s industrial-technology and nursing departments, two of the university’s biggest majors. McCarthy, after meeting with his career counselor, came on just such a field trip and realized that he was quite interested in the construction-management concentration in the industrial-technology major.

“The only thing that I am really worried about is trying to pay for all of this,” McCarthy said.

His financial concerns were another factor in choosing Fitchburg State, which costs roughly $15,000 per year for an in-state resident. Compare this to a private college such as Boston University, which costs about $49,000 per year for similar programs. McCarthy and other students can at least be assured of less debt after college when attending Fitchburg State. The fact, according to Fitchburg State’s admissions department, that 80 percent of FSU students share a total of over $18 million in financial aid may also be a reason students choose Fitchburg.

“I also liked that the school offered track and cross country as sports,” said McCarthy, who ran for his high school teams. In fact, Fitchburg State is home to a variety of Division 3 sports teams, including football, soccer, baseball, and ice hockey.

And, as other students have also noted, Fitchburg State is a good choice for those who don’t want to get lost in the crowd.

Each year, according to admissions, 4,200 high school seniors apply to FSU and only 2,500 are accepted.

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