Choosing K

The story of how I ended up at Kalamazoo College is not incredibly inspiring, I’m afraid. Unlike most of my friends, I didn’t apply to a plethora of universities in my senior year of high school; in fact, I only ended up seriously considering a grand total of three, including K. I thought that limiting my options would make deciding which college to attend that much simpler, but the process, which included multiple admissions deferments and careful consideration of scholarships and financial aid, was a lot more complicated than I first anticipated. I agonized about making the right choice for weeks.

My parents, however, seemed to know that K was the right place for me even before I did. They eagerly signed the entire family up for one of the many “Visit the Zoo” programs and intended to get the most out of the experience. We went on a thorough tour of campus, visiting nearly every major building as well as a few of the first-year dormitories. We sat in on a number of alumni panels and informational events to learn all that we could about life at K. We ate at a faculty lunch and talked with professors in fields I was interested in, who, despite their impressive and intimidating titles and qualifications, were more than happy to answer any of my questions about academics and at K. Throughout all of this, my parents were growing more and more certain that I was destined to be a Hornet. But I still wasn’t sure.

Ultimately, it was seeing the K community “in action,” however, that finally convinced me to seal the deal. I sat in on a Women, Gender, and Sexuality course and was blown away by the subject matter within the first five minutes; the concepts discussed by the class were complex, important, and fascinating, not at all diminished by censorship or lack of student interest, as had been my experience in high school. Though I didn’t speak much, I didn’t really have to – nearly every student in the room not only eagerly engaged with the professor and with one another, but with me. Though I had worried a group of college kids wouldn’t want anything to do with a high schooler like me, they made a point to approach me and ask questions or offer advice and guidance – total strangers wanted to tell me how much they loved the school they went to and help me to succeed, should I choose to go there, too.

I left that classroom convinced not to wait any longer; I knew I wanted to choose K. I told my parents and together we filled out the forms, and I received a little button that let the world how “I deposited at K.”

Each and every day since then, even despite some ups and downs, I have been happy that I did.

– Addie Dancer ’20


Why K?

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