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If you are considering attending college and really love historical sites, Northwest Louisiana State University may be worth a look. The school is located in the city of Natchitoches, which is pronounced "nack-a-tich," Louisiana. The area sees measurable snow only once every five-to-ten years. The school was built on land that once saw the French fur trade and sprouted plantations. It gained additional fame as the site of the 1973 air crash that killed Jim Croce. The four-year public university began in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School. It was the first school in Louisiana to offer degrees in nursing, and that program is still popular at the school. The most pursued major at the school however, is general studies. Until recently, students enrolled in general studies could specialize in aviation and follow a career as a professional pilot. Another thing that makes the university unique is its participation in the JOVE program. This is a competitive scholarship for students majoring in biology, chemistry, math or physics. It awards an annual stipend to participants and allows them to do independent research in their fields. The program, which is partially supported by NASA, also gives the students an opportunity to get an internship with prominent corporations or organizations.

Northwestern Louisiana State University Accreditation Details

The school is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Many of the individual programs offered at the school are accredited by professional organizations as well. The education leadership courses, for example, are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation. Engineering programs are accredited by ABET and AACSB accredits the business programs. That is important because of the predominance of inter-disciplinary majors at the university. Accrediting organizations associated with the major will vary according to the concentrations selected by the student.

Northwestern Louisiana State University Admission Requirements

First year students applying to the school must complete the admission form available online. This must be submitted with the required documents and the $20 admission fee to the school by the deadlines which vary according to category of admission. Incoming students should also enclose their official high school transcripts and official SAT or ACT results. Each new undergraduate student must have a recommendation from his high school principal. Male students should provide a copy of their Select Service registration and all students will need copies of their Social Security card and proof of required immunizations. The school does make provision for "high-potential" high school students to be admitted under the Early Admission Program. Students are eligible if they have successfully completed six semesters of high school coursework. They are admitted as full-time college students and, after earning 24 more credit hours, are awarded a high school diploma. Graduate students must complete the admission application and send it and required documents to the school. Those documents include their official GRE scores and transcripts of previous college coursework as well as two letters of recommendation and proof of immunization.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition at Northwestern Louisiana State University is calculated by the number of credit hours carried. An undergraduate with twelve credit hours would pay $3,738 in tuition per semester; out-of-state students would pay $4,230 for the same course load and semester. In addition, the meal plan can cost $1,620 per semester and the housing charge could be $3,024 or more depending upon which options you choose. General fees are a minimum of $200 a semester and can be more if you bring a car to campus or take courses that require special accommodations. Out-of-State students who enter the school with high grades may be allowed to waive the non-resident charges. To cover the cost of higher education, Louisiana students may qualify for state grants and scholarships through the TOPS program. Applying for these and other financial assistance programs begins with completing a FAFSA form. This is a free government form that computes the amount your family is expected to contribute toward your education according to their combined income. That amount is subtracted from the cost of education at the school you have chosen and that figure is your financial need. Using that figure, FAFSA qualifies you for certain governmental aid such as the Pell Grant, which is available only to undergraduates. Those who have extreme hardship or financial need may qualify for a Perkins Grant or government-subsidized federal loans. After receiving the results of your FAFSA you should begin to apply for scholarships and other grants. Universities award their own scholarships according to the amounts of endowments made by alumni and other interested parties. They also often have lists of trusted entities that award grants or give low-cost loans to students. Financial institutions offer loans to students, or their parents, that carry little or no interest if paid back by a specified time. At the other end of the spectrum are general loans and credit cards, but most students would do well to avoid these higher-interest loans if possible. Credit card advances can cost up to 30 percent in interest.

Building a Future through Designer Degrees

Northwestern Louisiana State University has many degree options and recently underwent a revision of their offerings. Regrettably, some of the most innovative have been discontinued, but there are still many exciting career directions from which to choose. One of these is the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies. This degree is the most sought at the university and justifiably so; it is very flexible. You must satisfy the university liberal arts core requisites, of course. Beyond that, the 120 hour program is up to you. You are required to take a certain number of courses in several areas, but the courses you take are at your discretion. You must select a minor for this program. In addition, you need six credit hours in a foreign language and three hours in computer studies. After meeting the requirements, however, you can choose courses from virtually any discipline to build your own program. You can slant your degree toward business or toward social services, for example. Another degree path available through Northwestern Louisiana State is the Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies. This degree requires study in the history and culture of native groups. It includes anthropology and native ethnology. You must choose courses from several "blocks" like the English block, which contains writing and communication skills, and the history block. The degree builds upon these courses to take the degree in divergent directions. As with any bachelor degree, you must fulfill the requisites for the basic degree, which contains 120 credit hours. One of the exciting courses offered in this major concerns the ramifications of native sovereignty. That one issue affects health, social and criminal justice for native populations and opens up possibilities for working with American Indians in social services and criminal justice careers, among others. That is one of the unique opportunities offered at Northwest Louisiana State University: the chance to dream and build your own future by designing your degree.

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