A student’s College choice is usually one of the most stressful and significant first choices of his early adulthood. And while it is important to have fun in College, that can’t be the only deciding factor in the selection process. College has to be so much more than just fun. It is responsible for taking students who are just starting to be full adults and teaching them the best way to do that. College, which comes from the Latin word collegium–meaning community, society, guild–is meant to be experienced through a partnership. Through this partnership, the student is fully guided into being.
The three most important things a student should judge a college on are the College’s ability to live up to a sound mission statement, the education, and the community. In the mission statement, Colleges list what they intent on educating their students. If the mission statement matches your principles, then it will most likely be a comfortable fit for you. Getting an education will help you extent that mission statement to other areas of life by giving you the tools you need to teach through word and example the reasons you had for agreeing with those founding principles. And living in a community of positive, semi like-minded individuals will help you share your truth finding experience with others.
A College’s mission statement needs to express concern in defending every true and beautiful thing. It is in the nature of a College to form young adults into responsible and intellectual people. Through helping students understand the ways of life in their four years of learning, Colleges perform their duty in forming human beings. Colleges have a duty in teaching students of the things that matter–the things which transcend youth, social class, and money. The things which make us really human and intrinsically valuable. Therefore, when a College’s mission statement expresses a distinct goal in teaching its students how the world works, it fully becomes a College in acting with the nature of a college.
A College must have a challenging and well-ordered education. During my senior year of high school, I started taking basketball seriously. My confidence soared and I started receiving offers from schools. After receiving a scholarship offer to a school, I verbally accepted out of excitement. However, later in the school year, I realized that the school would not challenge me academically. I was already a decent AP student, graduating with honors, and I did not want to waste four years of my life by only being challenged physically, not mentally. I therefore decided that I needed to go to a school that would challenge me to be the best I could be at every moment. And only through pushing myself every day, I hoped I would get a little better each time. After recognizing this clear change in my expectations for College choice, I searched for a school which had a sound Mission statement and sure ways to achieve that. At the end of my search, I decided on going to a school where I had only the average or below average test scores. But that had an incredible faculty and community which I knew would help me in my growth.
Finally, just like College’s Latin derivative, College needs to be done together. Through community, students are able to motivate each other to be their best. Even though class and homework are important in helping students remember facts and major themes, have a strong community is a necessity in leading students to really understand things. Through discussion, students may express their ideas from their classes and explain through their own theories. In helping others understand concepts, students inevitably expand their own grasp of the subject. And through creating a positive learning environment, students help each other form the right attitudes towards their studies and learning.
A College is what students should attend and graduate as better people. They should be able to use the experiences they had in College to help explain and defend their own opinions, spreading sound ideas to the rest of the world. Many times, when students just choose a College based off of its party culture, they miss something important, something transcendent. They think that College is limited to just the four years they stay at a certain place, but don’t recognize that a College should be much more than that. Through attending a College that makes students question life to get a better understanding of life, students will inevitably carry their wisdom and new ways of approaching life with them.
Jessica De Gree
Jessica teaches English as a second language in Spain and plays basketball professionally there. She recently received her Bachelor's degree from Hillsdale College, one of the nation's top Liberal Arts schools in MI. At Hillsdale, she played basketball and studied English and Spanish. Some of her hobbies include reading, writing, painting, surfing, and playing the piano.