LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - We all know about the big area colleges - UK, U of L and IU. 

Well, there are several other local schools that thousands of students select. 

In this week's "College Tours", we take you to Western Kentucky University.

Two hours and about 100 miles down I-65 ... sandwiched between the country and not far from a couple cities ... just past downtown Bowling Green and up a huge hill ... is Western Kentucky University.

It's where around 20,000 from here in the Bluegrass, around the country, and world ... have started the first chapter of their professional lives. 

That chapter includes a lot of hands on, top-tier programs.

"You're never really just stuck in a classroom," junior Karen Webb said. "You've got options outside of it."

If you want to be the next Candyce Clifft or Jude Redfield, WKU is a good place to start.

Jude actually is an alumnus. On camera, off camera, meteorology .. .this campus excels at bringing rising stars to the TV business.

"On Monday, I may be learning how to direct a show," Webb said. "But on Tuesday you might be doing instant replay for sporting events and the next day you're producing."

Interested in the world of engineering and, more specifically, drones? So are students here. 

WKU students made quadrotors that played a huge part in allowing geologists and civil engineers to assess the damage at the Corvette Museum after that huge sinkhole destroyed several sweet rides.

Then there's the major the university was pretty much built for.

Teachers here student-teach and come up with groundbreaking ways to help the next generation learn.

When you have top of the line programs, there's always going to be a bottom line.

In-state students pay about $16,000 when you consider room, board, books and food. 

Out-of-state students pays around $30,000. Sound like too much for you out-of-staters? Well don't write the school off until you hear about the Tuition Incentive Program.

"Which enables out-of-state students from certain counties in other states to have a significantly reduced tuition costs," said Jace Lux, director of recruitment and admissions.

It almost cuts that out-of-state cost in half and applies to students in Floyd, Clark, Jefferson, Harrison and Scott Counties in Indiana. 

On to the fun stuff - the mascot is Big Red, the Hilltopper.

The student union just reopened this past fall after a two-year renovation, and it's nice. 

And now to those hang outs that make college towns what they are ... like the "Smokey Pig." 

The shoulder sandwich is unreal. And there's even tater salad on the menu. This place is the real deal. 

It all makes Western that unforgettable experience that students from here and abroad will remember and tell their kids about for years to come.

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