Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

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Discovering the “Midstate Experience”


By Sara Browning

For over a century, Midstate College has served as a vital link between students’ educational pursuits and success in achieving their dreams.

A dynamic setting for individuals of all ethnicities, races, and backgrounds to pursue higher education, Midstate College offers one-on-one student-faculty interaction, modern technology, and challenging curriculum. Midstate assists graduates in securing immediate employment, career advancement, or entrance into graduate school while receiving the personal attention required for effective learning.

The “Midstate Experience” differs widely from the typical college students’ life encounter at other institutions. With a comprehensive understanding of business knowledge, career skills, and technological advances, Midstate College is the best solution for people wishing to advance in their career or further their education.

“The individualized attention our students receive from faculty is unparalleled by other institutions,” says Meredith N. Bunch, President and CEO of Midstate College. “The support we give our students at every level contributes to a comfortable learning environment that meets our students’ needs.”

Midstate College students come from the local community, from throughout Illinois and beyond. Individuals who come to Midstate encompass a conglomeration of transfer students, foreign students, and adult learners. Whether students are pursuing immediate employment, career advancement, or graduate school placement, Midstate College combines quality classroom instruction, one-on-one student-faculty interaction, and advanced technology to prepare students for success following graduation.

Says Meredith: “Our students are often surprised by how learning at Midstate College is such a positive and enjoyable experience.”

A Proud History of Service
Although officially established in 1888, the roots of Midstate College date back to 1857 when a commercial school was built in Peoria followed by a similar school built in 1865. Two years later, the schools combined, and in 1888, G.W. Brown purchased the facility and named it Brown’s Business College of Commerce. In 1960, the building was purchased by A.R. Beard, Don Beard, and Arline H. Bunch. In 1970, it was officially named Midstate College.

Preparing for Tomorrow
Today, Midstate College is an accredited four-year institution. The private, for-profit college offers a wide array of degrees to get students ready for their chosen career. A full-time student may choose to complete a Bachelor Degree Program (4 years), an Associate Degree Program (2 years), or a Diploma Program (1 year or less).

Class sizes range from approximately 8 to 12 students. “I’m the girl who went here and stayed forever,” says Amber Schappaugh, Interim Director of Allied Health Services Management Programs. “Having the small class sizes really enables me to have a special connection with students you just don’t find anywhere else.”

“Small classes help with retention and give students access to so much more,” adds Ashley Spain, Executive Director of Marketing and Enrollment. “If you speak with Amber for ten minutes you’ll know she possesses invaluable real-world experience. Sharing this experience in a classroom setting would be nearly impossible with a class size of 50 to 100 students.”

Leah Grebner, Director of the Health Information Technology Program, states the small student-to-teacher ratio gives instructors the opportunity to develop relationships with their students. “Our students become like family members to us. If a student misses a class and does not contact us first, we often give them a call to make sure everything is okay. Students are able to become well acquainted with faculty and program directors, which makes it more comfortable for them to speak with us if they need assistance or help with networking activities.”

Accessing the Latest Technology
Quality curriculum provides up-to-date information for students while modern methods and technology allow students access to online learning via virtual classrooms. Midstate College offers eLearning, a unique method of learning that allows students to take classes at their own convenience from their own home or other location. Students can pursue their academic studies on their own personal schedules.

“All of our programs have an eLearning component,” says Ashley. “The majority of programs we offer here are online if students want that option. During our summer term, we’re offering what we call a flex class where students can choose on the day of the class whether they want to take that class online or on campus. This is a great help for students who have children, families, or fulltime jobs and may not know exactly what their schedule will be until the last minute.”

Midstate College strives to provide an online learning experience equivalent to the experience a student would have in the classroom, requiring students to produce quality work and maintain a high level of interaction between instructors and peers. “Online instructors have a visible and active presence every day in the eLearning
classroom,” says Leah.

In addition to eLearning, classroom curriculum provides students with opportunities to access the current technology in their field. “The Health Information Technology Program recently adopted a new electronic health record software that gives students hands-on experience to prepare them for the workplace,” says Leah. “We also use 3M encoder software in our advanced coding course, as that is used by many local health care institutions.”

Says Amber: “We keep our finger on the pulse of what is relevant in today’s market.”

Midstate College offers students a simulated medical office set up with medical records enabling students to practice locating them. According to Amber: “We have clinical classrooms set up like a regular doctor’s office so that students receive hands-on experience working in a medical environment with their peers.”

Developing Workplace Skills
The technology and curriculum at Midstate College have been helping students establish a stellar record with employers for over 125 years. According to Amber: “We teach the real world in our classrooms, and students finish their coursework with an externship. We have between fifty and sixty physicians we deal with that work with our students in an actual medical office. We send our students to these offices very well trained, equipped, and ready to go. Externships are an excellent time where students are offered an experience they cannot get in the simulated situation.”

“The Health Information Technology Program,” Leah explains, “requires a 160-hour professional practice experience in the final term, which provides contact with workplace activities and working professionals. Networking is strongly encouraged through membership and attending meetings with professional organizations, such as the Central Illinois Health Information Management Association.”

Students oftentimes receive immediate employment from their externships. Says Ashley: “Area employers know they have the best employees when they hire students from Midstate.”

Students who graduate from Midstate College secure employment with local businesses, including OSF Saint Francis; Proctor Hospital; Enercon Engineering, Inc.; Bard Optical; Advanced Technology Services; Ameren Illinois; Associated Bank; Heartland Financial; and Caterpillar, to name a few.

The Midstate Advantage
At Midstate College, students have the edge. Midstate creates a family environment unmatched by other institutions that helps students perform at their best. The College holds summer potlucks and picnics. Even Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have been known to make an appearance.

“It’s a huge part of what makes us different,” says Ashley, adding: “Students feeling at home on campus… knowing that they fit in… feeling valued and important. It’s a major decision-maker for students when choosing a college.”

“We’ll see our adult students ‘mother’ the younger students,” adds Amber. “They’re constantly encouraging one another. It’s like they’re saying: ‘We’re all in this together.’”
The family element is a significant part of what makes working at Midstate College rewarding. “Everyday I have the opportunity to help different types of students overcome various challenges or celebrate important successes,” says Ashley. “It’s such a blessing to be a part of their lives!”

For more information on Midstate College, visit or call 309-692-4092.
Midstate College is located at 411 West Northmoor Road, Peoria, IL 61614.