From L to R International Admissions Coordinator for Truman State University Rachel Davis, MP Dr. Harsha de Silva and Padmasena Dissanayake of Scholarships for USA (Pvt.) Ltd. - Pic by Samantha Perera
Simply describing itself as nationally ranked, affordable and personal immediately puts into perspective what benefits can be attained from pursuing one's higher education at Truman State University. The public liberal arts and sciences university located in Kirksville, Missouri is ranked as the number one state university in the Midwest and is the only public institution in the state that is officially designated to have highly selective admissions standards.
Named after the only President born in the State, Harry Truman, the university boasts a history dating back to 1867, the year in which it was founded. Today it offers a wide range of subjects for students to pursue with 43 undergraduate degrees and nine graduate programmes and currently has around 6,000 students attending it.
Truman State has had a fairly active relationship with Sri Lanka for some time and sent down their international admissions coordinator Rachel Davis for a second visit to the country a couple of weeks ago in order to create awareness about the university amongst Sri Lankan students looking to study abroad.
Working with Guidance Counselors and Foreign University Placement Advisers, Scholarships for USA (Pvt) Ltd, although this was Rachel's second visit to the country, it was her first in connection with Scholarships for USA. Of the 300 international students at Truman from over 40 different countries are around 20 Sri Lankan students.
Interestingly enough, Truman State's first Sri Lankan student who came to them in the year 1984 was none other than the well known politician and economist Dr. Harsha de Silva who spoke of the great times he had at Truman and shared many amusing anecdotes about his time there.
"I have fond memories of the snow covered campus and chair aided skating on the ice sheet on a frozen nearby lake in the winter, and of course of the routine Wednesday quarter draws; many small plastic cups of beer for twenty five cents each!" he described while nostalgically looking back on his four years spent in the Midwest.
He went on to explain that Truman provided him with the platform to prove himself and competing with some of the best young people in the world in turn helped him realise his own strengths all of which culminated in what he expressed as four fantastic years at the university.
Truman is a medium sized university and located in the town of Kirksville where the cost of living is very low, the people very friendly and overall a very safe environment, a reassuring thought for any parent looking to send their child overseas for higher studies.
Offering both on and off campus housing, there are also many jobs available for students who can work up to 20 hours a week on the campus itself. Offering very reasonable rates at $12,600 per year for tuition fees, the university also offers scholarships to international students which can range between $1000 and $6000 on tuition fees bringing costs down even further. Room and board rates can vary depending on the accommodation chosen, but is still affordable and international students are offered assistance from the international student office anytime they require help.
The university also boasts a very active student body in which the driven students take a great interest in, creating new societies if one does not already exist, the diversity allowing any student to fit into campus life almost immediately.
Students at Truman tend to be very successful and the university strives to provide the students with as much hands on experience as possible while in college itself, offering internships at institutions across the country and even encouraging undergraduate research in order to make it a focus at an undergraduate level in order to prepare the students well ahead. Study abroad programmes help broaden the student's horizons and help them experience different cultures and give them a better understanding of global issues. All these added incentives coupled with the quality education provided at Truman and the reasonable rates makes pursuing higher education at the university an enticing prospect.
Rachel expressed her pleasure at working with Priyanthi and Padmasena Dissanayake of Scholarships for USA, who with their experience in sending Sri Lankan students to affordable and reputed campuses in the USA have made working with other educational institutions in Sri Lanka much easier and more approachable.
"Truman I think is well suited for a Sri Lankan student because it offers the best of both worlds - a private school education at a public school price, a combination that attracts many students. We also offer a wide variety of courses in many diverse streams which allows students to choose what exactly suits their needs," the admissions coordinator explained.