Alina Crowley

#BirdofMouth student blogger Alina Crowley is a sophomore public relations major.

As you are searching for colleges, you hear all the time that a university is “large but feels small like a small school.” But what does that really mean?

At Illinois State that means that there are all the opportunities of a large campus, but still feels cozy and convenient. Here’s what I’ve experienced:


With Illinois State being a large university, some of your general education courses may seem kind of big, but the student-to-faculty ratio is actually low, at 18-to-1.

Most large lectures have breakout labs once a week with about 25 students to get more hands-on help and give you more one-on-one time with your teaching assistant. Plus, your class sizes will begin to shrink as you get further into your major classes. That means as the material gets a little more complex, you get more assistance from your instructor.


Planes, trains and automobiles—take your pick of transportation. Illinois State has almost every type of transportation in close range. Uptown Station is walking distance from campus and includes both an Amtrak station and a major Bloomington-Normal bus station. Bloomington even has an airport.

If you ever get the homesick blues, which won’t be often, there is always some sort of last-minute ticket you can snag.


Uptown Normal is right next to campus, and it’s one of my favorite spots in the area. Here you will find the most delicious food; whether you are craving ice cream, pizza, sweets, or just an all-around classy meal, Uptown Normal has it. Don’t let the small town feel fool you into thinking there is nothing to do here. In just a short walk or drive there is plenty to do in the Bloomington-Normal area ranging from going to the movies, seeing fun sporting events, to even paddle boarding on Lake Bloomington! Start your own bucket list of things you want to do before you graduate.

Fall on the Quad

Just about everything on campus is a 15-minute walk away, or less.


There are over 20,000 students here at Illinois State. Don’t be intimidated. Having back-to-back classes on opposite sides of the Quad is no problem with Illinois State’s compact campus. Almost anywhere you need to go won’t be more than a 15-minute walk. This is great for those days when you hit snooze on your alarm clock one too many times.

Whether you’re living in the residence halls or an apartment, you’re almost always going to be close to campus. In fact, you can kick a soccer ball from Watterson Towers to Stevenson Hall, one of our largest academic buildings and where some of your classes are likely to be.


With Illinois State being such a large university, you have the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of clubs and organizations. At Illinois State we have over 300 organizations. It really allows you to fit right in. You can join anything— from the photography club to a diversity organization to Quidditch club! Basically any kind of group you can think of, it’s here.

With so many opportunities to try new things, there is no doubt you will find where you belong in no time while also making some great friends!

#BirdofMouth student blogger Alina Crowley is a senior public relations major. Read more #BirdofMouth posts.