Saturday, May 01, 2010

College Report

I was so grateful for the responses I received on the post College Questions.  It was great to hear so many perspectives on the huge question of what to encourage your child to do after high school.  If you didn't see Sherry's comment towards the end, it was very helpful as we think about what to do with Bantam19 next; she seemed to join the Lord in nudging me to think harder about college for him too.  Thanks again, everyone!

After our visit to Wheaton College, Blondechick and I drove to the cornfields of Indiana to check out Taylor University.  Back when I applied to Wheaton, it was sort of a joke that the kids who were at Taylor were all the Wheaton wanna-bes—and I did know kids who weren’t accepted and went to Taylor.  Secretly I guessed that it was a school filled with really nice kids, and time has confirmed that suspicion.  Taylor’s reputation now is that its academics are on a par with Wheaton, but its real strength is its community.

A perfect way to compare the two schools is to look at chapel.  At Wheaton, chapel is required (3X/wk); seats are assigned and attendance is taken.  The usual lineup includes a hymn, some announcements, and a speaker.  In my day, and I gather that things haven’t changed much, the main motivation to go to chapel was not to miss a good speaker.  You didn’t go to chapel to actively worship—you went to WCF on Sunday nights for that.   If the speaker was boring, you felt like chapel was a waste of time.

At Taylor, chapel is required, 3X/week, but seats are not assigned.  You sit with the people you live with, and that’s the accountability.  There is student-led worship at the beginning, at least three songs, and all around us we saw student entering in to full-hearted worship.  Some raised hands, many didn’t, but all were clearly there to worship, and after the speaker (it was a panel discussion, not as inspiring as usual, we were told), many stayed after for two more songs. 

Blondechick, who is far more relational than academic, felt much more comfortable at Taylor than at Wheaton.  As I guessed she would.  She was a little appalled at the middle-of-nowhere feeling—the nearest Targest is 1.5 hours away, but there is a Walmart within 20 minutes—but she told me she liked it so well, she was willing to look for the positives, like saving money.  Also, the sense of community on a Friday night has got to be stronger, and don’t limited options breed creativity?

She also figured out that she probably doesn’t want to major in Psychology, as she was thinking.  She’d like to be a therapist and work with teenagers, but she doesn’t want to have to go on to grad school.  When she asked the Wheaton psych prof about that, he hedged and told her about all the jobs she could go into with a psych degree, and when she asked him point-blank if she could be a therapist with just a BA, he said it was all a matter of supervision and certainly she could do groups.  The Taylor prof answered the same question with an honest “no, you won’t be able to do one-on-one therapy with teens without a master’s degree.”  So now she’s thinking about Communications.

We are now going to look at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL.  If she doesn’t get accepted at Taylor—and she may not have the ACT scores to get in; she’s always tested lower than her abilities or grades whenever she takes a standardized test—she should be able to get in there.  In fact, it appears likely that Bantam19 could get accepted there too, on probation, and I think their financial aid package may be attractive.  If Blondechick does well there, she might be able to transfer to Taylor after a year or so, or maybe it will be a good fit for her to stay.  We’ll see next week—I’m taking them both.

I'll take other recommendations, too! Our main priority, really, is a student body (and a faculty) that will encourage our kids to grow spiritually, and we want them to get a quality education as well.  Secondarily, I think it needs to be a school that's within a day's driving distance.  Any suggestions, corrections, comments?


Paul M. said...

I just bumped into your blog and saw your college entry. I am a graduate of Gordon College in MA and think really highly of it. I even worked as an admissions counselor for a bit of time. Gordon is academically solid (comparable to Wheaton but not as Type A) and has a great Christian community of mature Christians. The location near Boston is great too, for grad school connections and for fun on the weekends. I saw that you are involved in an Anglican church plant; Christ the Reedemer is a new Anglican church made up a many Gordon and Gordon-Conwell students and professors. It might be a bit of a stretch distance-wise but I am sure that your daughter would feel welcomed and at home at Gordon. Feel free to email with any questions.

Anonymous said...

Praying for all the decisions that must be made.

On the psychology's actually possible that both professors were right. Here in my state, there are lots of opportunities to use just a BA in psyc, but in other places, the rules are much more strict.

She/You can go online and look at the rules for whatever state she imagines living in after graduation.

Also...I dont know if this will be an encouragement to her or not...if she decides to do grad school later, its not necessarily required that she has a BA in psyc. The seminary I attend has about 80% counseling students, and I would say that vast majority of them have something other than psyc as their undergrad degree. Plus, grad school for cousneling can be done in 2 years, and you're seeing clients (as an intern) in your second it's not too terribly long.

Jen in Seattle

MomCO3 said...

My husband's family is full of Taylor grads, and they all were very happy there. Blessings,

MomCO3 said...

Oh, PS-- don't forget Houghton (the third member of the Wheaton-Taylor-Houghton trinity of Wesleyan liberal arts colleges), which is in upstate New York and has a wonderful community as well. My husband and 2 of his siblings went there and loved it.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Thanks, everyone, for all the input--it's really helpful!

Jen--your point is exactly what we thought, that if she really, really wants to do therapy later on, she doesn't have to have majored in psych to go on to grad school. She's not intrinsically interested in psych, and she's not at all sure that being a therapist is what she really wants to do. Communications may be a better fit with her present interests and gifts, and there are lots of ways she could go with it. We'll see when we check it out further!

Re: Houghton and Gordon, we know both are fine schools...but we are running out of time here before students go home for the summer, and it doesn't look like another road trip is going to fit into our schedule. Honestly, I'm not sure Papa Rooster and I can fit multiple road trips of that distance into our schedules on a regular basis, either! (if she were to go to school somewhere that far away) So unless they offer something she decides she absolutely must have that she can't get at a good school closer to home, I think we'll be sticking with Midwestern colleges. But we'll keep Houghton and Gordon on the radar, anyway! (Visiting Gordon would be a great excuse to see our friends the Bergners!)

Anonymous said...

Lee University, Tennessee

Anonymous said...

Yes...good. Actually, I think some of the more interesting therapists have a background in something else. One of my friends has a BA in exercise science, and a MA in counseling - she works with people on eating issues. Another has a BA in ballet (which I didnt even know you could get) and she works with all kinds of dancers and performers on their issues. Another friend has a great pasison of dog-sledding, and she has groups come to her ranch and trains them on dog-sledding - while using the experience to get to their issues of trust, etc.

And, yes, the field of communications would leave many many paths open.

What an exciting time of life for your girl!

Jen in Seattle

Amy B- TU Admissions said...

Thanks for coming to visit Taylor! Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you in this process.

And...just wanted you to know that there is a Target only 25 minutes from campus in Muncie, IN- right next to the mall.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeanne--

Nancy Bergner here with another plug for Gordon College. Tried to leave a note on your earlier post but I guess it got lost. Do come and check out what the campus offers. You all can stay with us and make it a New England vacation. Paul M mentioned Christ the Redeemer in Danvers; there is also our little Anglican Chapel just a mile or so from the Gordon Campus. We're up to 65-70 folks on a Sunday morning, including a college contingent. Much love to you and yours,