I remember when I was sitting in my family room with applications and college mail scattered all around me feeling overwhelmed. I had a way to many important decisions to make at the age of eighteen. Questions creeped into my mind about whether I wanted to go to college, or whether I was good enough to go. If you are sitting there just like I did, and those questions are coming to mind, let me answer a few of them starting with the first one. Yes, you should go to college, and you are good enough to go.
The college decision is daunting, but also an exciting process. Each school has it’s pros and cons, and everyone is trying to influence you one way or another. For me it came down to two colleges. One was a large, public university, and the other was Dordt College a small, private college. It was a very difficult decision, and there were a lot of factors involved, tuition cost for example.
However, the biggest debate I had about the two was whether I am going to stick with the small, private school life like I have been doing my entire life, or branch out and explore the large, public university life. If I am going to be honest, I was making the latter much more appealing in my head at the time.
So, how did I chose Dordt College, the small, Christian college in Northwest Iowa?
The biggest deciding factor for me was my campus visit. When I visited Dordt, I had a range of experiences in my short couple of days on campus, but what it told me is that this campus has a genuine, loving community. They care for each other, and they challenge each other. People were willing to talk with me, listen to my concerns, and answer any of my questions about college. Overall, my visit was the best college visit that I went on, and seeing how people interacted with each on campus was a huge plus for Dordt.
Ultimately I chose Dordt. Obviously. However, was it the correct decision? Should I have gone to the other school? Honestly, I had my doubts freshman year, but two and a half years later, I can say without hesitation that I definitely made the correct decision. I have experienced so many great things that I only could have appreciated if I went to a small, Christian college.
By going to a small, Christian school the professors get to know you one as a student and a person. They know your name, they know what you are involved in, and they genuinely care for you. The campus is a community. I know many people talk about Dordt as a community, but there is a reason for that. I love the fact that I can walk from one side of campus to another in a hour. Not because it is that far, it should only take like five minutes, but because I keep stopping and conversing with people. There are so many opportunities to grow spiritually as well. Between the bible studies, praise and worship times, and the random theological discussion you weren’t planning on having with your roommate when you went to bed that night.
College is a time of growth, and figuring out your place in the world, so whether you choose Dordt or not, my suggestion to those of you questioning whether to go to a small or big school. Take it from someone who was in that exact situation not to long ago, a small school might result in a bigger reward.