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Why Go to Cornell College? One Woman's Response

As I explained in a previous post, I recently asked a group of friends about their experiences in selecting a college or university.

This story comes from a woman who attended Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, in the early 1990s. She is now a manager of educational programs at a university in Denver, Colorado, and is pursuing a Master’s degree in social work.

“Honestly, I think I went to college right out of high school because it was expected of me. I wish I’d taken a year off! I looked for a small school with a liberal arts focus, and frankly I fell in love with the campus when I visited. I also looked for small class sizes and good access to professors. The “block-plan” system at Cornell was appealing as well because of its depth and sense of immersion in a subject. I wouldn’t say that I did tons of research when I looked at schools, but I did have help from my high school counselor and my parents. (Somehow, I think things are more competitive today than when I went, however.)

I would encourage students to find a place where they can focus on what they really want to learn, as well as an environment that supports how they learn. I appreciated the small classes, but I know some students want that “big school” feel. I liked the community-like feel of my campus as well. In my experience, I believe I landed in the right spot even though hindsight might suggest I could have done things a bit differently.”

So here’s a question or two for current students who are panicking about their applications during their senior. Will you be a person who, twenty years from now, looks back and wishes you had taken a year off before college? Are you going to college because it is expected of you? Or are you clear on your goals and the means to attain them?

Mark Montgomery
Montgomery Educational Consulting

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