Non-LDS students drawn to school standards


    By Adrienne Andros

    Latter-day Saints from all over the world dream of coming to BYU to study, mainly because of the LDS atmosphere.

    But there is still one percent of BYU students who are not LDS.

    Why do students still choose to study at this religious university?

    Many students who are not LDS say they are here because of the quality of education they are getting for a reasonable price.

    Kiran Altaf, 22, a sophomore from Norway, majoring in industrial design, who is Muslim, said the school she was attending previously did not have the major she wanted. So she checked out all the schools that had it and BYU was one of them.

    “I know that BYU is a really good school,” Altaf said. “I know I”m getting a good education.”

    Altaf said the price of BYU was also a consideration. It was much cheaper than the other schools.

    There are several students who have come to BYU because of the honor code, said Paul Warner, BYU Chaplin and the Director of the Student Athlete Center.

    Warner said they like being in an environment that lacks some of the pressures found at other schools.

    Norma Estela, 24, a senior from Mexico City, majoring in business, who is Catholic, said she came here not only to be closer to her family in California, but because she wanted to be at a school where the values and standards were high.

    “I feel at home,” Estela said. Estela came from ITESM-CEM, a university in Mexico with similar standards to BYU.

    Estela said she feels the honor code is necessary.

    “We can be really influenced by the mass media,” Estela said. “BYU tells you exactly how things should be.”

    But there are some drawbacks to not being LDS in a predominantly LDS community.

    Altaf”s culture is such that she had a nose ring when she came to BYU, but because of the honor code she had to remove it.

    “I still get mad when I think about that,” she said.

    Altaf said the students at BYU only know about how they live. They know little about other cultures, she said.

    “People don”t know me here,” she said.

    Warner said that many students who aren”t LDS get frustrated with the missionary pressure they receive from the LDS students.

    “I know of one girl who received seven Books of Mormon in the first month she was here,” Warner said.

    Altaf said that she feels pressure to be like a Latter-day Saint, even though she isn”t one.

    But both Altaf and Estela agree that it is easy to be at BYU because their standards are very similar to those of Latter-day Saints. They think that the rules are necessary and are happy to abide by them.

    Warner said that some other reasons for students to come to BYU are scholarships and sports.

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