BYU and BYU-Idaho are both private universities owned by the LDS church, yet each have separate reputations.
Many students attribute the differences to the admissions requirements of each school.
A series of letters sent to Scroll expressed students’ opinions on the BYU versus BYU-Idaho debate.
“I think the reason for the misconception that BYU is smarter than BYU-Idaho has to do with the fact that it is harder to get into BYU, so they do pick those who are a little higher in academic achievement and are much more picky in their [admission] criteria,” said Emily Murrell, a junior studying psychology, who submitted in a letter to Scroll.
BYU places half of its admission requirements on academic factors, or more than half, when seminary attendance is included according to the BYU website.
BYU-I places 60 percent of admission requirements on nonacademic factors and 40 percent on academic factors according to the BYU-Idaho website.
When compared to BYU-I, fewer students admitted to BYU have experience in performing arts, have received their Eagle Scout award or have more than 200 hours of service experience, according to the BYU website.
Of students accepted to BYU-I, 63 percent of men are eagle scouts, 70 percent have experience in sports and 72 percent have experience in performing arts.
“One of the first things you notice [at BYU] is the size,” said Brandon Hansen, a BYU sophomore studying music dance theatre. “The devotionals are wonderful, and the classes are great. Everything just has a lot of people.”
BYU accepted 7,101 new students this year, which became part of the current school enrollment of 34,130 students. BYU-I now consists of 16,773 students.
“I think the biggest difference between the schools is that the spirit here is different from BYU,” Murrell said. “I think BYU is more in the world and [focuses] on academics a lot more than raising a disciple-scholar, like BYU-I [does]. An academic focus is great, but I think it’s more important to have balanced education, which is what you get here at BYU-I, I believe.”
There are also other differences between the schools, such as sports.
“I definitely believe that BYU has more school spirit than BYU-I, and a large part of that comes from having a football team. It creates a union of people rooting for the same thing,” said Murrell. “BYU-I does not have that because we want to stay away from the worldly things like it. I know the ultimate thing in life will not be about what school you go to, but I think it could be a proud part of your personal history, and I think people who go here should be proud of themselves.”