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Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge

the basics
Location
University Station
Baton Rouge LA 70803
Undergrad Enrollment
23,400
Type
Public
Setting
Urban
In-State Tuition
$ 5,000
Out-of-State Tuition
$ 14,000
Room & Board
$ 4,400
5 reasons it’s cool
  • In an effort to reverse its reputation as a football-’n’-beer school, the university has invested in infrastructure like blazingly fast Internet connectivity and a massive library.
  • But not to worry: LSU still cancels classes for Mardi Gras!
  • Campus, formerly a plantation, is the very picture of southern charm.
  • STRIPES: a freshman camp where you can learn all of the LSU traditions, songs, and superstitions.
  • A surprisingly diverse liberal arts curriculum means a course for just about every interest.

A smart Louisiana Purchase

Pigskin or Sheepskin?

By reputation, classes at LSU are little more than a way to kill time between football games. But recently, administrators have taken measures to win credibility as a flagship institution by shifting research into overdrive. Results have been mixed. On the one hand, the research push has generated much-needed revenue for the school, which has seen its share of the state tax kitty grow smaller and smaller. On the other hand, some say the emphasis on research has taken away from the emphasis on teaching. In addition, many students are more concerned with the Big Game than with the Great Tradition. Biology, chemistry, and physics are some of LSU’s strongest and most popular majors, especially for those on the med-school track, but enough bookworms arrive at LSU to make English and French curricular powerhouses. Those who are not so easily discouraged by large classes and taciturn profs can enjoy a rich gumbo of learning, enrichment, and fun.

Driving Old Dixie Down

In its earlier inception as a military academy known as “The Ole War Skule,” LSU’s superintendent was none other than William Tecumseh Sherman. A man reviled by southerners to this day, General Sherman held his position at LSU until 1861, when the outbreak of war forced the school’s closure. The Union general informally known as Cump went on to launch Sherman’s March, which turned the tide of the Civil War. The school reopened after Confederate Louisiana rejoined the Union in 1865, but, needless to say, General Sherman never sought to resume his superintendent’s duties.

Get ’Em, Tiger

Football is king at LSU, and the raucous stadium, known infamously as Death Valley, is the king’s throne (one particularly thunderous game actually registered on the campus Richter scale). Students’ passion for le grande fête is inflamed by LSU’s proximity to New Orleans, just eighty miles down Interstate 10. Every year, Tigers can be found in full force among the ranks of Mardi Gras revelers. Student life does have a serious side, which tends to be channeled into religious, as opposed to political, expressions. Not many campus political organizations exist, and tension often simmers between the largely conservative and native-Louisianan student body and the left-leaning faculty and students hailing from lands north of the Mason-Dixon. African Americans represent about 10 percent of the population, with Asians and Latinos each claiming roughly 3 percent.

High Times in the Deep South

Formerly a plantation overlooking the Mississippi River, LSU boasts one of the loveliest campuses in the nation. Azaleas, magnolias, and oaks line the grounds between the lakes and Italian Renaissance–style buildings dotting the campus. The campus borders an economically depressed area of Baton Rouge, but the campus is generally safe. The neighborhood adjacent to LSU is home to some fantastic restaurants: Mike Anderson’s Seafood and The Chimes are particular favorites of Tigers fans, along with popular haunts such as Canes and Louie’s. Devotion to the football team infects all of Baton Rouge, so on game day, expect to find few businesses open. The campus itself has residence halls that are populated by only around 20 percent of undergrads; the rest seek digs off campus. Sorority members enjoy the stately graces of the antebellum mansions that serve as their chapter houses. Baton Rouge’s central location is within easy distance of party mecca New Orleans and the beaches of the Gulf Coast.