As an educational consultant, I suffer from a condition I refer to as “itchy feet.” Much like the pioneers who continued to forge west in search of more opportunities, I’m constantly on the move to visit college campuses. I can’t help it. If I’m at home with no campus visits on my calendar for any span of time greater than a few weeks, I actually begin to suffer withdrawal.
Thus, when my calendar suddenly opened up with meetings this week and I could sneak away to get another visit in, I seized the opportunity and made an appointment at Otterbein University to see campus and tour their equestrian facilities. (They were also kind enough to order a sunny day for it – what hospitality!)
Located in Westerville, Ohio (just outside Columbus), a great college town that was recently named “America’s Best Suburb,” the university is the educational home of around 3,000 students. A liberal arts college in the truest sense, students begin their Otterbein careers with a first-year seminar that begins to help them fulfill their general studies requirements. (Very lucky students might even wind up in the seminar taught by university president Kathy Krendl!) In addition, some courses at Otterbein are designed to be paired so that students can take a class on the scientific side of recycling one semester, then follow it up the next semester with the partner class that examines recycling from an economic viewpoint.
In fact, the arts and the sciences are so closely linked at Otterbein and students who have an affection for both ends of the spectrum don’t have to choose one over the other. (Our tour guide – a double major in equine and art – was a self-professed “science geek” in high school who loved Otterbein for the very fact that she could explore both as a student.) Musical theatre is one of their top majors (with only 16 students admitted to the program annually), but likewise, students who wish to study coral reefs or perhaps exotic birds (like the budgies who live on the first floor of the science complex) can find outlets for their interests as well.
Equine students who explore Otterbein will find a very new equine facility (built just five years ago) located just a few miles off campus that houses approximately 35 school horses and has room for 52 in total, which allows for student boarding, as well as affording some stalls to the faculty and staff. Notably, several of Otterbein’s instructors are still active competitors so they very much live what they teach.
Eventers should note that the university has a wonderful selection of cross country fences for practice and Olympic eventer Bruce Mandeville is on the equine faculty. Otterbein is also a rare university that is home to an eventing team in addition to their IHSA and IDA dressage teams.
Are you the type of student who would excel at a school like Otterbein? Contact me and we’ll find out!