I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “Why did you choose K?” If that were the case, my tuition would be paid in full. However, since it’s not, let me share this story with you all free of charge. Like most Michigan high school students, my eyes were set, and almost always had been, on the University of Michigan. It wasn’t until the summer going into senior year a classmate of mine told me that she thought K would be a good fit for me. I didn’t know much about the school except for the famous tennis winning streak and that I played on the tennis courts my freshman year of high school for the state tennis tournament. Since I didn’t know much about the college, I waited until one of the admissions’ officers visited my school and presented some basic information about the college. After the visit, I was surprised that there was a pretty prestigious and well-known school so close to the town I grew up in and decided to look into more. A few weeks later, I came to campus for a tour and instantly could picture myself on campus. I can’t quite put into words the feeling and to this day, all I can say is that being on K’s campus just felt right. It wasn’t how I felt when I visited U of M’s campus and thought I could make it work. I could genuinely picture myself walking down the brick road to class. After the visit it was only a matter of applying and being accepted, which is exactly what happened!
Actually deciding on K was pretty easy for me. Even though it seemed so close to home (because we all want to get as far away from home as possible when we’re going off to college), it felt like a world away. I felt like I would have space to be independent and try new experiences while meeting new people but still am able to run home if I needed anything. However, a big deciding factor for me was the size of K. Coming from a smaller high school of about 600 students, I was used to smaller class sizes and having strong connections with my teachers throughout high school and I knew that I would have a similar experience at K. An important thing about the class sizes at K is that because they’re smaller than most colleges and universities, you have nowhere to hide. You have to show up to class and be prepared to contribute to every discussion or else your absence and silence will be noticed and will definitely impact your grade. There’s no “Maybe I’ll go to class next week,” but instead there’s, “If you miss six classes, you’ll fail.”
Kalamazoo College is the place to push yourself. Nothing here is a breeze and I think that’s one of the things I enjoy most about it. You have to put in the work and make an effort to learn. So if you’re looking for a college or are stuck deciding between K and another bigger university, remember that you there’s nothing to do here but grow, learn, and get more in your four years.
-Karina Pantoja ’20