Why 4 Students, Graduates Chose Their Colleges

Why I picked Southern Methodist University (Dallas)

Greg Guggenmos, ’18

Southern Methodist University provides students incredible opportunities to apply what they’re learning. I was accepted to the Dedman College Scholars honors program, and I’ve gotten great mentoring and support.

After I became interested in the criminal justice system from a history class, my honors mentor helped me secure a two-week, all-expenses-paid fellowship to New York to research how accused nonviolent offenders become stuck in pretrial detention when they can’t make bail. That experience led me to start a community bail fund in Dallas providing small grants to low-level defendants.

[Read: Find a Career Mentor in College.]

SMU also encourages students to see the world with wonderful travel courses. I did archival research on the Supreme Court at the Library of Congress in Washington. I took an arts course in New York and history courses in Rome and Paris. SMU has shown me exciting new directions to steer my career. I plan to earn my master’s in applied statistics and data analytics and work in the nonprofit sector.

Why I picked Scripps College (Claremont, California)
Madeline Sy, ’18

Scripps College has given me rich, diverse learning experiences and access to a wide network of peers, as the college is part of a five-school undergraduate consortium. Every student must complete a senior thesis, and Scripps provides funding to tap resources outside the college. For my thesis on Sylvia Plath’s poetry, I received funding to travel to the Plath archives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Seeing actual drafts of Plath’s poems inspired me to tackle a topic little explored by previous Plath scholars: motherhood.

Opportunities at Scripps are often hands-on, a quality also reflected in campus organizations. I learned finance — something I value as an English major — as a part of the Student Investment Fund, and last year we distributed over $15,000 in stock earnings to campus clubs. Through the consortium, I also learned how to ride with the coed Claremont Equestrian Team. Scripps gives me the best of both worlds: the supportiveness of a small women’s college and the resources of a midsized university.

[Read: Weigh the Pros, Cons of Attending a Women’s College in the 21st Century.]

Why I picked Lafayette College (Easton, Pennsylvania)

Ali Ehsan, ’20

Coming from Bangladesh, I wanted to find an entrepreneurial and intellectually stimulating environment, and Lafayette College offered just that — along with generous financial aid. In high school, I started two businesses, and with the help of my college economics professor, I developed a new investment model for the education sector.

Lafayette paid for me to present my research at the global Social Business Academia Conference in Paris. My trip was also sponsored by the school’s Dyer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which teaches critical skills like design thinking, product/idea prototyping and marketing — paradise for people like me who talk, eat and sleep entrepreneurship.

I am also currently a board member of the Lafayette College International Students Association, which organizes events to celebrate the heritage of international students. I made my first American friend through an ISA event, an experience that was reflective of Lafayette’s welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

Why I picked Butler University (Indianapolis)

Riley Schmidt, ’18

Butler has a warm, intimate environment. Most students are friendly and involved in campus groups, like Butler University Dance Marathon, College Mentors for Kids and intramural volleyball, which I joined. Professors are really supportive, too — fortunately, as it took me three years to settle on my major.

[Read: 8 College Majors With Great Job Prospects.]

Sophomore year I wanted to switch from a premed track to a new major that would steer me towards physical therapy. I was worried, though, that the course changes might prevent my taking advantage of Butler’s robust study abroad program. But my professors helped me plot out a new schedule that enabled me to spend a wonderful semester in Sydney.

Ironically, I got sick near the end and was hospitalized. That experience made me realize I wanted to be a nurse. My understanding professors and prehealth adviser again worked with me to change my major. Thanks to Butler, I’m now headed to nursing school and planning to become a nurse practitioner.

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Why 4 Students, Graduates Chose Their Colleges originally appeared on usnews.com



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