Whether you’re a current student or a junior or senior in high school, you’ve probably heard that Bowling Green State University is a good place to study education. Maybe you heard through a friend of a friend or you’ve seen our statistics.
If you’re considering a major in education, you might be wondering what this rumor is all about and whether the College of Education and Human Development here really lives up to its reputation. If you’re a student here and you’re considering a major in education — or, even better, if you’re considering a major in education and you’re wondering if BGSU might be the school for you — I have a little insight.
“You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an education major,” my mom joked once about this university. The joke’s a little morbid for those of us who are cat-lovers, but you get the idea. We’re everywhere! There’s a reason for that. With around 5,000 students and a large, dedicated faculty, the College of Education and Human Development is a pretty popular destination at BGSU, and it currently boasts the most teacher education graduates of any college in Ohio.
The college has more than 50 programs to choose from, so if math education isn’t your thing (mine, neither), you certainly have other options. Of course, these are just statistics. In your hectic, slightly frustrating college search, you’re probably looking for more than just numbers. You might be wondering what an education student at BGSU experiences. What are the professors like, and where do education students take most of their classes? What will the university do to help you prepare for the job market? I have a few of these answers, and I can recommend a couple, good resources if you would like to learn more.
I’m in my fourth semester as an education student. I am a Mild to Moderate Intervention Specialist major. When I got here, I knew I wanted to teach, but I had a feeling that I wanted to change my major. I applied and was admitted to the AYA (Adolescence to Young Adult Education) program, which is an excellent degree program with several options for students interested in teaching the upper grades, but I had done my research, and another program interested me a little more.
Early in the semester, I asked my academic advisor if it would be possible to declare a major in special education. Of course, it was. A lot of students change their original majors, often as freshmen and sometimes even as sophomores or juniors. Other students enter the university “undecided’ and wait to declare a major until they’ve had the chance to explore their options. There is no harm in weighing your options.
If you would like to study education, but you haven’t decided on a major, try knocking out your BG Perspective courses during your first year. You can also dabble in different education courses that will count toward a variety of programs like “Introduction to Education”( EDHD 2010). “Introduction to Students with Exceptionalities” is another good one to take as a freshman. These courses are required for most education majors here, and they offer great opportunities for undecided students to explore their options.
I have taken about 10 education classes now, which have ranged from small, thought-provoking honors classes to large, interactive technology classes. Every class has been rewarding and unique. Many have required field experiences, which have given me the chance to shadow teachers in several, different settings. I have been a reading mentor in Lake Elementary, which is about 30 minutes north of here, and a class helper at the Wood Lane School, which is a short walk from the local Meijer. I’ve even completed a field experience at a Bowling Green elementary school, which was conveniently close to campus and awesomely fun.
In my opinion, service-learning is one of the strongest components of education programs here. Field experiences provide valuable opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of teaching and touch the lives of students in local schools. I think field experiences also set the stage for teaching internships, or “student-teaching”, which come later. All education majors who are seeking licensure will ultimately complete a teaching internship, usually during their final semester, which will include a full-time placement in a local school.
Some of the other great components of education programs here are the trained faculty, project-based classes and diverse courses. In my experience in my program, I’ve done some interesting projects. For a class on literature for early childhood, for example, I designed a teaching unit on plant life for second graders. In another class, I took the affirmative side in a debate on the use of standardized tests in special education. This one was tough, but eye-opening, because I was assigned a position that really challenged my personal beliefs about standardized testing! Other memorable projects have included designing an e-book for students with physical disabilities, leading a “staff meeting” in a classroom full of hypothetical teachers, among other great hands-on experiences.
I have learned a lot in three, short semesters, and I am pretty stoked for the next two years. If you want to learn more about the education programs at Bowling Green State University, here are some suggestions:
- If you’re a high school student, schedule a classroom visit! You can find a calendar of available classroom visits online, on our Admissions website. This is a nice way to learn about what to expect in the College of Education and Human Development.
- If you’re a current student here, look up organizations for education students and drop in on a meeting. Students in my major can participate in the Bowling Green Student Council for Exceptional Children, for example. Other organizations are tailored to students interested in Early Childhood Education, math education, middle childhood education and so on. Go to a few meetings and talk to students in the major you’re considering. They’ll probably be excited to talk to you about their own experiences in their program.
- Make a call to the college office and set up an appointment to speak with an advisor. I’ve done this several times. I called them pretty regularly with questions during my college search, as a matter of fact, and the friendly staff members were always willing to help.
- Use the Internet! Go on ratemyprofessors.com and spy on some of the professors who teach in the College of Education and Human Development. I do this every semester, when it’s time to select classes. Try researching particular professions, too. Educate yourself on the ins and outs of careers in teaching. Search something like “day in the life of a teacher.” You’ll turn up endless results.
On a final note, I would encourage you to check out the College of Education and Human Development on the BGSU website! You can find current, detailed checklists for each major, information about program requirements, and other useful tips and facts. Good luck in your college search.