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

Why I Chose K

Record scratch. Freeze frame. Yup, it’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up
in this situation. No, seriously, as a prospective college student, you are probably experiencing
one of two things: either you have known since birth exactly what college you are going to
attend, or more likely, you are feeling slightly confused about which school you are going to end
up at. Don’t worry, almost every other college student that has come before you has felt this
way at one time or another, including me.

During my senior year of high school, I applied to around ten different schools, most of
them a lot farther away from my home than Kalamazoo College. I was considering large
universities like the University of Michigan and smaller art schools like the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago and Savannah College of Art and Design. My college search was quite
literally all over the map: ranging from the West Coast to the East Coast and to several places in
between. There were pros and cons to each school, but as it got closer to that quickly
approaching May 1st date when you have to put a deposit down, I realized maybe my best
option was closer to home than I had originally thought.

My aunt, a K College alum, had always told me that I would love a lot of things about K:
the small class sizes, the relationships you form with your classmates and professors, the open
curriculum, the social justice lens, and the beautiful campus. When I attended a Visit the Zoo
event, sat in on an art history class, met professors, and toured campus and then when I came
to watch my aunt present her Psychology Senior Individualized Project, I was beginning to
understand what she meant. My visit to the Zoo equipped me with all of the official knowledge
about K College, like how accessible study abroad opportunities are, how lecture and
discussion-based classes operate, and what it’s like to have a six week winter break and move
through the year in quarters.

Watching my aunt give her SIP presentation, I was able to actually see all of that stuff
you hear about during tours and admissions programming in action. The support of the
professors to the seniors presenting, and of their classmates who came to learn about their
research, was obvious and the wide breadth of topics covered in a single department of projects
was incredible. Through this, I could envision what the culmination of all my own future hard
work could look like at Kalamazoo College.

That experience, coupled with a generous scholarship package, sealed the deal and I
decided that same day that K College was the place for me. Although I was originally skeptical
about the small size and proximity to where I grew up, both have worked to my advantage
because the student body size has made it easier for me to make friends and connections, and
I’ve been able to take my laundry home when I run out of money on my laundry card. So if you
are in the midst of the confusion of college decisions, take a minute to come walk around
campus, or if you can’t make it here in person, check out our social media, @kzooadmission on
Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and Kalamazoo College’s page on Facebook to see what it’s
all about.

-Emiliana Renuart ’20