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BYU NSO – Not Your Typical Pep Rally

Alana, our third daughter, began her freshman year at Brigham Young University last week. This year we have four kids in college — all at our alma mater. In addition to our newbie, Jessica just started graduate school, Belinda is a junior, and our new and wonderful son-in-law, Chuck, is a senior.

For three days before school started, Alana, Sam, and I attended various New Student Orientation festivities. One of these was a pep rally of sorts. Cheering and chanting and whooping it up about their upcoming college experience, the freshman also got a taste of what makes BYU different from most universities in the world — as well as a peek at why it’s the winning Stone Cold Sober university 14 years running.

Amidst the revelry they saw a lively musical theater presentation called “That’s Against the Honor Code,” showing how true blue cougars never cheat, steal, lie, or make out after midnight. And then, in all seriousness, they learned the eight key principles that represent BYU.

  • Honor
  • Modesty
  • Respect
  • Obedience
  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Purity
Those aren’t the kinds of things most college freshman look forward to. Sometimes it’s really great to be a peculiar people.
Go cougars!
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • ChanJo September 8, 2011, 11:47 pm

    I really hope my kids can get into one of the BYUs. It’s not that other schools aren’t good, it’s just that the emphasis on good values is so important at that age.

  • Michelle September 9, 2011, 2:31 am


  • MonMon September 9, 2011, 9:48 am

    I would love to see almost any other college in the world have an assembly about “purity”! haha

  • Alison Moore Smith September 9, 2011, 10:45 am

    🙂 This was one of those “this is what the gospel is for” moments. Not some huge thing, but watching these kids model their behavior after good principles — real life application — just warmed my heart. 🙂
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  • Katie September 9, 2011, 8:31 pm

    My nephew just started this semester as a Freshman and he was telling his mom that his roommates were “tunneling.” At any other school this would probably be something pretty perverse…however, at BYU this means you go sing hymns in the tunnels (that pass through the campus). Sure, it is a little nerdy but as a parent, I am thinking it is comforting.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 9, 2011, 11:52 pm

    Every BYU student has to tunnel at least once! It’s great fun.

    For those of you familiar with campus, it’s usually in the tunnel between the Richards Building and the Smith Field House, but there’s an outdoor tunnel that goes from Helaman Halls to the Tanner Building, too.
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  • Tracy Keeney September 13, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Being a Junior in high school, James has started getting “recruitment” materials from colleges, and stuff from BYU came the other day.
    The odd thing, is that for several years I thought we’d try to keep the kids more local for college– first to save on the cost ( avoid boarding/rent and out-of-state tuition costs), but also because somewhere around 1990-ish, Elder Ballard went to South Carolina for a regional conference I attended, and with my own ears, heard him encouraging parents to send their students to their own local schools and “stop sending them out to BYU”. Those weren’t his exact words– but it was something VERY close to that– he said it in a joking way– but in one of those “I’m saying this in a cutesy way so as not to offend” kind of ways. He talked about the effects of nearly every college student in world wanting to go to Utah to go to BYU– that local colleges NEED the influence of LDS students, that students from other states who go to BYU often end up marrying someone from Utah, and end up STAYING in Utah- – and that the broader mission field was losing too many members to Utah- and he talked about the loss that creates — the loss of worthy priesthood holders, the loss of strong, faithful women making a difference in the schools and communities.
    I always thought it would WONDERFUL to have my kids go to BYU for the very reasons you mention Alison– I’d love for them to go to school in that environment, and have teachers who can teach just about any subject with a gospel perspective– but after Elder Ballard’s talk I figured we’d keep the kids local.
    So I find it interesting that BYU is sending out promotional materials to out of state students. In fact– we also got an invitation from BYU Admissions to a CES seminar/workshop sort of thing, featuring people from BYU, BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii, LDS Business College and Institutes of Religion to get information, get questions answered, learn about the admissions process, etc.
    I wonder if they’ve pulled back on the “stop sending your kids to Utah” thing?

  • Alison Moore Smith September 13, 2011, 4:05 pm

    I actually think you’re conflating two things, not sure though. Either way, I think it is, as you point out, kind of a misstatement of their intentions.

    (1) The official “stop moving to Utah, we need to have established stakes all over the country/world” (not related to college attendance)

    (2) The official “there are lots of great places to go to school, BYU is just one, and we have institutes almost everywhere on the planet, your kids don’t have to go to BYU”

    Here’s the thing. BYU-Provo has an admission cap at somewhere around 30,000 students. It won’t take more. It’s hard for me to believe that having 15,000 guys and 15,000 girls — from all around the WORLD — mostly of typical college age, leave wards results in a huge dearth in the available adults to keep wards running. (Heck, around here they have student wards, so all the college kids leave, even if they live at home! And is your bishop college age?)

    BYU has the HIGHEST acceptance rate of any school in the country. 78% of students admitted, accept. That even beats Harvard (76%). About 10,500 students apply yearly. About 3,500 are rejected.

    The point being (and addressed specifically by Elder/President Samuelson at the convocation) that lots of kids who want to get into BYU, but can’t. There are still great options for them. 🙂 They need not despair just because they didn’t get into BYU.

    Yes, they recruit all over the country. Because they WANT the best students they can get. They don’t CARE where they are from, they want the brightest students. They don’t just want great Utah students or great Utah Valley students. (The average ACT is 28 and the average GPA is 3.8, give or take.) They just want the best they can get. Like pretty much every other school. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…How Can I Pay for College?My Profile

  • jennycherie September 13, 2011, 7:30 pm

    Tracy – I have to admit, I was kind of irritated about the CES/BYU Career night thing-y. I’m not sure if it is one for the whole area or if you all will go to a different one than us. It’s another activity in the midst of SOOO many activities that seem to be pulling our family in different directions. We are being told that that is our activity for that week. So we’ve had stake YW sports for the last four weeks (at a different time and location than the rest of the family), this week, the YM/YW are having a combined activity at the mall (at a different time and location than the rest of the family) and then it continues next week with the “Career Night” for ages 14 and up. There is not really any question of us sending any of our kids to BYU (or any where out of state) unless they get a scholarship that pays 100% of everything. Since my kids are not athletes, that is not likely.

    **sorry for the threadjack**

    I ♥ private, religious universities. 😉
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  • jennycherie September 13, 2011, 10:52 pm

    absolutely – but I will encourage them to be as frugal as possible. 😉
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  • jennycherie September 13, 2011, 10:52 pm

    crud – hit submit too soon! I hope to still be employed by a college when they go, so it will be cheapest for them to go where I teach.
    jennycherie recently posted…Fear 101My Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith September 13, 2011, 10:16 pm

    P.S. Kids can pay their own way to college. Mine do.
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  • Angie Gardner September 14, 2011, 8:27 am

    BYU is actually an extremely great value, especially if you are LDS. I was shocked to hear what tuition is at the state schools near where I live. BYU is far less expensive than any university around here, and comparable with the community colleges.

    Living expenses are, of course, a consideration. If you can live at home and save on that, fantastic.

    A lot of kids from my ward go to BYU (or one of the BYUs) and some who can’t get in move to Utah and go to UVU or somewhere else. They long to be with other LDS youth, bottom line. There are kids who stay here, but not many. As for my own kids, we still have 6 years until the first one leaves for college and who knows if we will even still live here then, but I must admit I secretly hope they will go to BYU not only because it’s my alma mater, but because it’s a great school and because I want them to have an experience being around other LDS kids. They don’t have many here.

    Go cougars!

  • Alison Moore Smith September 14, 2011, 3:31 pm

    Angie, you aren’t kidding.

    BYU is listed as 71st in the nation in the “best college” rankings. Their business and law schools are in the top 50.

    Still the tuition per semester is $2,210 for members ($4,420 for nonmembers). Southern Utah University is $2,329, University of Utah is $2,760, Utah State is $2,369. (Those are all resident prices, with 14 hours.) Utah is the only ranked school among those (124th).) It also seems some of the other schools have a “fee” schedule that is added, irrespective of class selection, which makes them even higher.

    They long to be with other LDS youth, bottom line.

    So true. It’s just amazing to be around so many other “likish minded” kids. When I sat in the Marriott Center, filled with teenagers cheering for purity and honor, it just warmed my heart.

    I really just love BYU.
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  • jennycherie September 14, 2011, 4:50 pm

    WOW – that is amazing tuition!
    jennycherie recently posted…Fear 101My Profile

  • Penelope September 22, 2011, 3:16 pm

    That is so great! I’m happy for you to have 4 kids in college and I’m glad to see that the school has such good standards- I guess that’s what happens at “The Lord’s School” huh? 🙂 Thanks for posting!
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  • Stacy September 25, 2011, 11:28 am

    I do appreciate that, nothing is better than giving good value to the child while he is growing up.
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