Michigan State University versus the University of Connecticut: two top state schools squaring off in the semifinals of this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament. Before they head to the Final Four in Detroit, let's take a look at student life on their campuses in East Lansing, Mich., and Storrs, Conn., with four facts about each university.
Michigan State University
1. In 1855, Michigan State became the nation's first agricultural college. Its College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is the oldest of the Spartans' colleges for undergraduate students.
2. Michigan State has offered as many as 180 study-abroad programs in 57 different countries, according to the Insider's Guide to the Colleges.
3. Sure, MSU has more than 35,000 students, but you can still get a personal touch. State's politics and public affairs school, named James Madison College, gets praise for its smaller class sizes and the accessibility of its faculty.
4. With its competitive Big Ten sports teams and the enthusiasm of its fans, Michigan State has acquired a reputation as a party school. But students who prefer to focus on grades do have dorm options for alcohol free, a "quiet floor," or an "honors floor," according to The Best 361 Colleges: The Smart Student's Guide to Colleges.
University of Connecticut
1. Who knew there was a "jungle" in Connecticut? That's the nickname for one cluster of freshman dorms on the Huskies' campus.
2. One of the campus's more popular courses is Children's Literature, with a reading list that includes Alice in Wonderland and Where the Wild Things Are.
3. It's not just the Husky basketball teams that are growing in prominence. UConn recently has received two state grants of $1 billon each (in '96 and '02). That money has meant that nearly every building and academic program is getting some sort of upgrade.
4. UConn's fall 2008 entering class included 131 valedictorians and salutatorians.