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Was Buffalo State your second choice?

By Jacob Tierney
On March 8, 2012


This is probably more stereotype than fact, but it seems that for many Buffalo State is a second
choice, an easy option or a last resort.
Most of my friends had initially planned to go to other schools, but life got in the way and they
wound up here. Buff State was my own backup plan; I applied to a couple more prestigious private
journalism schools before realizing I could not afford any of them. Not wanting to be saddled with a
mountain of debt before I even started my career, I looked for the only accredited public journalism
program in the state.
It's not hard to see why the school might be viewed as a fallback plan instead of an exciting first
choice. It's cheap and the admissions requirements are low, two factors which don't exactly
shout "designer degree." For Buffalo natives, starting college at Erie Community College and ending
at Buffalo State is the expected path for many, while the best and brightest look to attend college
Even locally the college is often overshadowed by that other, much larger, SUNY school, the
University at Buffalo. I have joked that Buff State is UB's underachieving cousin, and although I say
this laughingly, I know there are others who hold this opinion with much more sincerity.
The degrees to which this stereotype is true or false are the subject of an entirely different article. I
honestly don't have much in the way of stats to back this image up one way or another. All I have is
my own experience.
Here's what I've found. It may not be Syracuse, Harvard or big brother UB, but Buffalo State has
prepared me for life after college. I learned what I came here to learn, and now that I am a mere two
months away from graduating I'm happy I chose Buff State.
It may not have that Ivy-League shine, but a Buffalo State education is usually exactly what you
want it to be, no more and no less. I've learned a lot during my time here. I made an effort to go out
and get involved on campus, I chose classes that I thought would challenge me and I actually put in
an effort.
I've still had a few classes that feel less like college and more like "High School: The Sequel," but for
the most part the faculty has been both helpful and demanding. It's missing a few of the perks that
bigger schools like to show off, but those nifty extras come with a hefty price tag.
If you want to slack your way through Buff State, doing the absolute minimum to land a degree, you
probably can, and more power to you. I've seen students in upper-level courses who seem to know
less than some freshmen.
But I've also met highly intelligent, driven students who fully intend to use the experiences they've
had here to launch themselves into successful careers. The college has its fair share of success
stories. Some of Buff State's programs have gained national recognition.
In the end, Buffalo State provides students with exactly what they're looking for. It is an accessible
and affordable choice with the potential to deliver much more than its price tag will attest. It's a
college that understands and accomplishes its purpose, and that deserves some commendation.
Jacob Tierney can be reached by email at

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