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College Rankings

Reader's Choice: Murray State University, Kentucky

A periodic report in which we showcase our readers’ top choices among Kiplinger’s 100 best values in public colleges and universities.

We use hard statistics to produce Kiplinger’s annual rankings for best values in public colleges and universities, and we’re proud of the results. Now, we’re giving our readers’ favorites a chance to brag a little, by letting a student fill us in on what’s fun, cool, quirky and just plain great on campus and nearby.

We kick off our reader survey of public colleges and universities, with Murray State University. Mallory Allgood (pictured left) a senior at Murray State, gives us 12 insider tips. Stay tuned for more student-written profiles of the favorites in our college reader survey in the weeks ahead.

LOCATION: Murray, Kentucky

UNDERGRADUTE ENROLLMENT: 8,354

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BEST ON-CAMPUS FEATURE:

The Quad. It is a great place to go and relax after a test or a long day of classes. It is also a great place to study. Whether you are sitting on a bench, sitting on the grass or sitting on the steps of Lovett Auditorium, you can’t go wrong there.

BEST OFF-CAMPUS FEATURE:

The coffee shop Fidalgo Bay -- a great place to get your caffeine fix! If you’re into the outdoors, Kentucky Lake offers fabulous opportunities for fishing, boating and relaxing with friends.

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WHERE SENIORS WANT TO LIVE:

The Chase, Campus Suites, Cambridge 1, 2 and 3, Williamsburg and Gettysburg, all off campus, are the most popular places. Cambridge is known for throwing huge parties, especially back-to-school parties. The Cambridge parties are so big that the police help direct the traffic to and from the party. The good thing about all these places is that they are all just minutes away from school.

MOST UNUSUAL CAMPUS TRADITION:

The Shoe Tree. When two people meet at MSU and get married, they each bring a shoe and nail it to the Shoe Tree. The shoes stay on the tree forever. That way if the couples return to MSU for a visit, they can return to the Shoe Tree and see their shoes. There are probably over 100 shoes, nailed mainly on the tree trunk. Now couples have to nail them higher because room is running out.

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BEST PLACE TO STUDY DURING FINALS WEEK:

Waterfield Library. It has a coffee shop and snack bar where you can get anything from a pastry to sushi. If it is nice weather, the Quad is the best place. Just bring a beach towel, sunglasses and maybe your iPod.

MOST CROWDED SPOT ON THE FIRST NICE DAY:

Again, the Quad. Students are walking their dogs, playing Frisbee, chatting with friends, listening to music, reading or just soaking up the sun.

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BEST PLACE TO EAT WHEN THE DINING HALL WON'T DO:

For something unique, Jasmine Thai and Sushi Bar is the best! If you are in the need for Mexican, a bean roll from the Big Apple Café will satisfy your craving. For college kids on a budget, the dollar menu at any fast-food restaurant works, too.

Where you want to be on Saturday night:

Vitello’s Restaurant. I love to go there and just hang out with friends and catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while. They have a great outdoor patio with a perfect view of the campus.

WHAT WE WON'T LEARN ON THE CAMPUS TOUR:

Where the best places to hang out on the weekends are.

CLASS THAT GETS STUDENTS TALKING:

Any Senior Seminar class. Taking that class means you are almost finished with college.

BEST WEEKEND FOR FRIENDS TO VISIT:

Homecoming! It includes a parade, Tent City (where all the college clubs, residential colleges and local businesses set up to offer food, drinks and places to sit), a football game and parties.

SIX WORDS ABOUT YOUR COLLEGE THAT SAY IT ALL:

Supportive atmosphere, endless opportunities, great expectations.

Murray State University Campus