Name: Kaylee Liley
Hometown: Berryville, AR
Currently Resides: Tyler, TX
All Degrees Received: Associate of Arts in General Studies with a Specialization in Honors, Missouri State University-West Plains; currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Missouri State University-Springfield
“I chose Missouri State University-West Plains because it was the perfect school for me to transition to.”
Kaylee Liley was like many high school graduates when she arrived at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) two years ago. She was excited, but nervous, about the new adventure. It didn’t take long, though, for her new environment to feel like home.
“The close-knit community of West Plains makes you feel easily at home as soon as the semester starts,” she said. “I had many leadership opportunities available as soon as I started, so that also helped me become comfortable with the campus immediately.”
Kaylee quickly became involved in the Student Government Association (SGA), joined the Student Ambassadors group in the admissions office, and found a job on campus through the Corps of Opportunity Program, the latter of which provides scholarships and campus jobs for eligible students.
“I had so many opportunities to make a difference on campus, and it was so easy to become involved,” she said. “Between being a Student Ambassador, SGA cabinet member and honors student, I always had the chance to share my knowledge, time and efforts with those around me who needed help.”
The China Experience
One of Kaylee’s most unique experiences at MSU-WP was participating in the China Semester Study Abroad Program. Through an application process, students are chosen to attend classes and serve as interns for a semester at the university’s branch campus at Liaoning Normal University in Dalian, China.
“I learned more about the world than I ever could have staying in a classroom in Missouri,” she said. “This has helped me raise my awareness to global issues, along with gaining new life perspectives. I know without this internship I would not be as confident in myself as I am now, and I would not be as curious and eager to continuously learn new things.”
An affordable option
MSU-WP’s affordability also helped Kaylee take advantage of opportunities like the China Semester Study Abroad Program.
“One of my goals has been to get a quality education without taking out loans or going into debt. The West Plains campus has been great because I was able to take all of my general education courses at an affordable rate,” she said. “Transferring to a four-year school has been easy and also very affordable because some of my West Plains scholarships transfer with me to Springfield.”
“My experience at MSU-WP was extremely beneficial to my life.”
Attending MSU-WP has been life changing for Kaylee, academically and personally. “I made great connections in the area and learned numerous different things. I felt like I was able to truly make a difference within the campus, and it was great that almost all the faculty and staff knew me or at the very least recognized me. I felt very heard when I had issues or needed help from someone. The faculty and staff are very knowledgeable and can usually help you with any campus issues you are having, even if it’s not in their field of expertise,” she said.
“MSU-WP gave me the ability to continuously grow. It was my first steppingstone into the real world, and my time there allowed me to take control of my own life and figure out how I wanted to continue my future,” she explained. “When I started college, I was nervous because I didn’t know what I was capable of, but now my confidence in myself and what I can achieve is higher than ever.”
MSU-WP offers so much more to its students than just classes, Kaylee stressed. “From going to athletic events, joining student organizations, volunteering, finding a campus job, or tutoring other students, there really is something for everyone.
“Do your best to get the most out of your college experience because, when you look back at your time, you don’t want to realize you missed the opportunity to connect with likeminded people and thoroughly enjoy your time.”