This article was originally written for FirstGenerationStudent.com, now a part of ImFirst.org.
Two Top Options
Deciding on a college was a difficult choice for me because both of the schools I was considering, Wabash College and Taylor University, had what I was looking for and were offering competitive scholarships. I applied to these schools by the fall of my senior year, in order to hear back by December about my acceptance.
Both Taylor and Wabash had certain aspects I was looking for in an institution: they are small with great academic standing; and, both are in Indiana, my home state. I was not sure that I wanted to go to a small school, but after visiting both campuses (Taylor has about 2,000 students, while Wabash has a student population of 900), I realized that the students were more closely in tune with what was going on at the college, such as athletic events and student performances, than students were at larger schools—an aspect that I really liked.
I wanted an in-state school not only for financial reasons, but so that if I needed to go back home I could do so quickly. Taylor is about 45 minutes away from home while Wabash is closer to two hours away, but both are close enough.
Finding the Better Fit
My parents were open to whatever choice I made, and encouraged me to think carefully before I made my decision. I thought about it for a while, and it was not until a month or so before high school was over that I knew I wanted to go to Wabash. I had been in communication with both schools, visiting the campuses and speaking with my counselors, and I realized that both places would be a great fit. It really came down to doing what I felt was the better fit for me.
I had no idea what major I wanted to study, but I knew I was interested in law, an area that Wabash is well-known for. Also, I learned about a competitive teaching program called Teach for America, which offers students a two-year teaching opportunity in an inner-city school. My interest in law relates to my interest in education and in being a part of the changes that are occurring nationally in academia. The fact that several Wabash students have been accepted for this competitive program made it all the more attractive for me to attend this school. And, as with both schools, I felt comfortable on Wabash’s campus and felt that I would be able to fit right in and become involved.
Happy With My Choice
At Wabash I have had great opportunities to get involved. As a class representative I am active in allocating funds and planning events through the student senate, and last summer I had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and work with one of my professors, doing research in the Library of Congress. I also worked in Wabash’s Admissions Office over the summer and gained some valuable experience while making money.
These are all opportunities that are not common for students at larger institutions and I feel that the unique size and resources at Wabash has made them possible. Looking back, I am definitely happy that I restricted myself to a college in Indiana, as I have been able to come home as often as I need to; and, I am glad that I chose a small institution like Wabash!