5 Reasons Small Colleges Are Better

5 Reasons Small Colleges Are Better

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Beginning junior year of high school, students around the country start preparing for, arguably, the biggest decision they will make so far in their life. They complete their SATs and ACTs, write essays, apply for scholarships, and various other tasks in order to insure that they will have the opportunity to spend the next four years at the college of their choice.

When I began my journey in finding a college, the biggest struggle I faced in deciding where to attend was the size of the school. What I believed to be my top choice was a university that had roughly 22,000 students, and my other choice was a college of fewer than 2,000 students. After being accepted to both schools, a visit to the small college solidified my decision that life at a big university was not how I wished to spend my years in college. I fell in love with my small college located in small town Emory, Va., and getting ready to be in my third year, I could not imagine being anywhere else. Here’s why I love my small-sized Emory and Henry College and wouldn’t change it for the world.

1. You are a name, not a number.

Due to small class sizes of fewer than 30 students (a majority of the time under 20), it takes the professors, at most, two weeks to remember your name. This allows for you to truly learn the material and form a unique bond with faculty. Emory and Henry has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, which goes on to even further the relationship between students and faculty. They truly care about you as not just a student, but also as a person, and when they ask, “How are you?” they aren’t just looking for you to reply with the usual “Good. How are you?” Instead, they want to hear about how all your classes are going, what you’ve been struggling with, your personal life, and if they can help you in anyway.

One professor I have is so invested in her students and their success that she doesn’t just end her relationship with them upon graduation day, but corresponds with them and keeps track of their success and has even created a bulletin board documenting where they are and where they are currently employed. I’ve even met an alumna who graduated in 2002, and when I mentioned the previous student to the professor she didn’t even hesitate in remembering whom I was talking about. I’ve met the President of my college, and see him around campus all the time. He’s always eating with students, or talking to them, and isn’t just locked away all the time. It’s crazy how much you really matter to faculty and the campus at a small college.

2. If you miss class you need to be sick, dying, or at a funeral.

For every college student out there reading this, I know that this sounds like something truly awful. Not having the option every single day of whether or not you want to miss class. Well, that just sucks. Starting out I hated the fact that my college had an attendance policy, that for the majority of classes only allows for three unexcused absences. Upon exceeding that number professors have the right to fail you or kick you out of the class. I’ve heard a story of one student who emailed the professor they were going to be unable to attend the class because they were “sick;” the professor then proceeded to make them dinner to take to them and check on them. Needless to say the student wasn’t sick and, more than likely, wasn’t “sick” again. Although the policy isn’t ideal, it really helps to motivate you to go to class and get the education that you are paying for.

When you go away to college you are usually leaving home and your parents who enforce what you can and can’t do. Although we are all typically adults when we go to college, it’s nice still having a little bit of structure and knowing that you can’t completely do whatever you want. It also makes it so that you have to email your professor if you are going to miss class and you learn how to professionally do so, this helps to prepares you for the real world, because when you graduate and gain a real job you can’t miss work whenever you choose.

3. Everyone knows everybody.

If I don’t know somebody’s name on campus, then odds are I know their face. This doesn’t just end with the campus however, at least not at Emory and Henry. There is only one Mexican restaurant in the area, and everyone usually has the same waiter -- good ole Juan. Then there was Jill who owned the closest tanning place; sadly she sold it to someone new, but we all still miss her.

If you chose to do something a little reckless on the weekend, give it five minutes and all of campus will know about it. It’s unfortunate that everyone knows your business, but I believe the good far outweighs the bad. Last year a professor's wife died and the whole campus was notified and sent cards and food; the same goes if a student experiences a loss, if someone gets engaged everyone will congratulate them for weeks, and if it’s your birthday expect a sea of “Happy Birthdays!” from everyone on your way to class (even people whose name you don’t know).

I can leave my stuff somewhere, unattended, and come back having nothing gone. I can walk campus alone, at night, and not worry about something happening to me; for a college aged girl comfort like that is hard to find. Everyone smiles, everyone waves, and for the most part everyone cares.

4. Tradition is kind of a big deal.

I’m sure that traditions can be found at every college, but I think there is something truly special about traditions at a small college. At my college, our football players have a tradition of touching a giant rock located in the stadium before every game in honor of a longtime assistant football coach, and in recognition of all who wore blue and gold before them.

All incoming freshman take part in a community service day, called Service Plunge, which helps them see how the college has a strong community outreach and volunteering base.

If it’s a Wednesday you can bet all your worth that there is fried chicken for lunch at Hometown, Fried Chicken Wednesday is truly a special thing. Every semester when finals roles around there is a late night breakfast that professors and faculty help serve to students to help them get through the long night of studying.

Greek life has the time honored tradition that involves girls, who have received bids from a sorority, walking out the doors of freshmen dormitory MaWa and then running towards the sorority whom they have chosen to accept the bid to. It’s really something crazy to watch and lots of tackling is involved. Life at a small college involves lots of traditions and students and members of the campus love them.

5. Alumni are amazing.

Pride in the college is tremendous since everyone loves the school, and they come back all the time and it’s great. Out of everything that alumni come back for, the thing that they get the most excited for is homecoming. Already the date for homecoming for 2016 has been set and marked on everyone’s calendars. Some people take off work on Friday and come down that day so that they are on campus early enough Saturday to take part in all festivities. Sororities, fraternities, and various other groups, for the most part, provide breakfast and a time for socializing before the game.

Tailgating set up begins almost immediately as the sun rises and there is a ridiculous amount of food. It’s an all-day event and many people don’t even make it to the game or -- if they do -- don’t pay attention because they are having their time of their lives catching up with old friends, teammates, sisters and brothers, and professors. Involvement from alumni does not stop there; a majority of college donations come from alumni, a lot of students who choose to attend the college hear about it from alumni, they provide students with connections, and the list can go on and on about all the things they do for their alma mater. Alumni are fantastic and homecoming is just one example of the display of support they give to the college and love that they have for everyone at Emory and Henry.

In the end the choice of where you go has to do with where you feel is home and I just happened to find that home at a small college. For the rest of my life I may have to explain to people where exactly my little college is, but I’ll also walk away from my four years having formed bonds with faculty, students, community members, and alumni, and I will walk away knowing with all my heart that I’ve at least made one decision right in my life. I found a second family that I will always have and a second home I can always return to.

Cover Image Credit: Emory & Henry College Facebook

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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5 Things I Don't Know How To Do But Should've Learned Years Ago, As Told By The Kardashians

In my opinion, there should be college classes completely based on mastering these topics.

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There are many things that I don't know how to do yet. These, however, are things that I am now realizing are things I maybe should have learned a long time ago. Things that if I knew anything about them, it would improve my life exponentially. Hopefully some of you feel the same and we can learn together.

1. How to cook chicken

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Seems easy, but this is deceivingly difficult. No one tells you what type of chicken to get, and there are so many options. Like, do you get chicken breast or chicken cutlet or chicken tenders? Which way is the best way to cook it? Pan fry, bake, deep fry, poach, steam, etc! And how do you make it not taste like paper? What, like, spices do you put on it? In my last year of college I have made it my duty to learn how to make every type of chicken.

2. How to work a dishwasher

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So, I know how to put the plates and silverware in, obviously. And I always clean them off before because I never trust the dishwasher soap to get everything off. How would it? And where exactly does the little dishwasher soap go? No one tells you where the leetle hole is that the soap bar goes. There's like three different holes in the door thing, and how are you supposed to know which one the soap goes in? Just guess and hope for the best? That's what I do.

3. How to pay your taxes??? Literally how

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No matter who I ask, young or old, no one understands anything about taxes. I have been working since I was 17 and year after year when I ask my parents for help filing my taxes, they agree begrudgingly while squinting at the paper pointing at the little boxes with a "I think it's that one." I have never and will never understand anything to do with taxes, period. I will leave this to the professionals.

4. How to do anything with insurance, ever

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Once again, wtf? Do the companies make these things impossible to understand on purpose? Like, all I want is to get my birth control from CVS and be done. Is that so hard? Why do I have to switch it to Walgreens (to whom I am NOT brand loyal, to, by the way) and then check if they cover my insurance? And WTF is a copay? And there's something that you pay before you get a copay? All I'm gonna say is that my mom tried to explain it to me once and it went in one ear and out the other.

5. How to arrange a cheese board

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This is something that I feel shows you have truly made it at an adult. You have people over to your house and just throw together a lovely charcuterie board for your guests like its nothing. But what do you buy for it? Cheese, obviously. Meats? What types of cheese and meat? Grapes? Nuts? And how do you arrange it to look all pretty? Mark my words: when I can make a yummy and visually appealing cheese board, I've made it.

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