The life of out-of-state students

With more than 19,000 students currently enrolled, Oakland University boasts a vastly diverse community.

According to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, Michigan residents make up 92.64 percent of the student body at Oakland. That means the total number of fall 2017 enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students from Michigan was 17,910.

Among the 19,333 current students, only 561 of them are from out-of-state. Overall, students from out-of-state make up only 2.9 percent of the student population.

California, Illinois and Ohio each had more than 50 students come to OU. California was the most dominant, with more than 100 students attending OU. Most of these are graduate students.

Florida, Indiana and New York have slightly more than 20 students each. The rest of the 43 states had anywhere from one to 20 students each.

Washington was among one of those states.  One of the most defining athletes to compete for the university’s swim team came from Washington over 20 years ago.

Doug Allen, who resides in Oakland Township and is the owner of Allen Entertainment, originally came to Oakland in 1990 and was a 19-time All American swimmer and a four-time national champion.

“When I graduated from high school, I didn’t have any college prospects at the time,” he said. “It wasn’t until a year later that colleges started to recruit me and one of them was Oakland University.”

While going on recruiting trips to other colleges, Allen came to Oakland for a visit. He immediately felt at home and liked what the campus and the surrounding area had to offer.

“The swimming program, people were nice, people that I could relate to and feel comfortable around, and the lifestyle too; Rochester was more like home, more like where I grew up in Belleview, Wash.,” he said. “It felt like a hometown kind of thing. That really persuaded me to come to Oakland.”

But enrollment numbers for out-of-state students were considerably lower a decade ago than those of this past year.

There were only a total of 134 out of state students that enrolled in Oakland in fall 2008. They made up 0.75 percent of the total student population. That means today there is a 318 percent increase of students coming to Oakland from out-of-state in just 10 years.

As Oakland keeps acquiring more recognition nationwide, it may continue to improve and grow and attract a wider range of students from across the nation.

Allen remains a highly enthusiastic alumnus who engages in alumni relations yearly on campus on behalf of his own entertainment business. Coming from the other side of the country to a Midwestern town was a challenging decision, but the right one for Allen.

“You have to be very proactive in making friends for any college student going to college out of state,” he said. “You have to be very proactive in getting out there and introducing yourself, so you can have a social life outside of school.”