How did I end up here?

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Illustration by: Ashley Fairbourne


Utah Valley University has grown as a respectable college over the past 10 years. And with the number of attending rising more and more every year, it is no surprise. But with other big colleges surrounding UVU, like BYU and U of U, why does UVU attract so many different students? Is it the diversity? The low cost tuition?  The Starbucks in the library?

Andrew DeNos of Riverside, California, is a transfer student from BYU, newly accepted here at UVU as a senior. DeNos has no regrets about the switch. “BYU was a different world there,” says DeNos. “I was excited when I got in and I thought things were going to be great. But I learned pretty quickly how much on my own I was when I got there.”

After attending BYU for two years, he decided to make the switch to UVU. “I was tired of it. The professors seemed as though they didn’t care about you and the counselors were a joke. Everyone was in competition with each other and no one was friendly,” says DeNos.

After his first day of school here at UVU, DeNos was bombarded with how much of a different atmosphere it was here compared to BYU. DeNos was surprised at the student-professor relations and was comforted by his new counselor, Gae Robinson, who was actually helpful and kind to him. “I couldn’t believe it. I should have done this a long time ago.”

DeNos is one of many students who have transferred to UVU from big time schools where they felt as though they weren’t getting the education experience or the help they needed. Although many students at UVU applied here first, 21% of the UVU population first applied for BYU and 13% first applied to U of U.

Camille Witham of Lehi, Utah, first started as a UVU student then applied to BYU and got accepted. She says her college experience changed very quickly after the transfer. “I was happy I got into BYU. I’m very lucky to go there. But I miss UVU a lot,” says Witham. “I miss the comfortable settings of UVU and the diversity. Plus, I feel like none of my fellow students want to help me out.”

What other things attract more and more students to UVU? In a recent poll, 46% of students decided to make their way here to UVU because of the location being close to home. And 50% of students feel that they made the right choice coming to UVU.  Many also say that they like the diversity that UVU offers and the comfort that they find here.

UVU is also popular for many foreign students who travel from as far as Saudi Arabia and France. One of these foreign students is UVU junior, Anourack Nettavongs of France. His experience at UVU has been nothing less than spectacular. “I love going here,” says Nettavongs. “Coming from France to America to attend UVU has been a blessing in my life. I wouldn’t change it for anything! It was weird at first how open everyone was and it was a little bit of an adjustment, but I love it here.”

But many other students don’t feel the same way about UVU. One student who wanted to remain anonymous says, “I’m only here because I didn’t get into BYU. I am sometimes embarrassed at the fact I go here and my parents would be much happier if I went to BYU where the Mormon culture is more enhanced.”

There are many unique stories of how students and faculty ended up here at UVU ranging from traveling halfway around the world to not being one’s first choice. We all ended up here at UVU with the same ambition to make something of ourselves and to succeed in this time paradox called life. So with the awkward hallway stares and looks we give each other every day, just know that we are all Wolverines and we all have the same goal: to do well and succeed.