The college search is one that consumes much of a student’s senior year of high school. For current Knox students reading TKS, the outcome of that search is clear.
But how was such a decision reached? Did they know the first time they set foot on campus, or did they take a bit more convincing? How did Knox’s current population hear of a tiny liberal arts college in the middle of the United States — friends, relatives, guidance counselors, countless mailings or even pure chance? Once they discovered it, what made them fall in love enough to send in that $200 deposit? TKS asked current students for their stories: what made them say, “I am Knox”?
And, finally, once here: do they still think they made the right choice?
Sophomore Emily Park knew exactly what she wanted when looking at colleges: a small liberal arts school outside of California with a strong English department. For Park, the Midwest location was not a deterrent, but an attraction.
“I really liked traveling — I thought living in a new place was really cool,” she said.
Park applied and was accepted to Knox before ever setting foot on the campus. Visiting for Admitted Student’s Day, however, the enthusiasm of the other students sealed her decision.
“My tour guide … just kept calling me: ‘Emily, look at this! Emily, look at that!’” Park said, recounting the eagerness with which her student hosts helped her connect with the campus.
Overall, Park remained happy with her decision to remain at Knox.
Knox caught the attention of junior David Gentry when they sent him what he described as “real information, as opposed to just form letters.”
“The campus just kind of felt like a good fit for me,” Gentry said.
Gentry recounted his first visit to Knox. Although he stopped by on a Sunday when fewer people were around, he said he still felt welcome on the campus.
“There were still people outside, willing to help the 40-something-year-old guy and his son figure out where they were going,” he said. “Everyone seemed really interested in getting to know people.”
Although Gentry hadn’t heard of Knox prior to his visit, once he enrolled, he kept running into people who said they’d heard of Knox.
“I’ve enjoyed pretty much my entire experience here,” Gentry said.
“It’s a really good place to go to school,” she said.
Knox was close to home geographically for freshman Pilar Abitang, but the campus still offered an appreciated change.
“I come from Chicago, so there’s a lot of cities around,” she said. “When I came to Knox … there’s just this big sky and it’s a little frightening, but it’s exciting and beautiful at the same time.”
Abitang had her college choices narrowed down to two and was having a hard time deciding between them, but it was the personal connections she made that led her to finally settle on Knox.
“[My admissions counselor] kept calling … and said, you should make a choice, and it should be Knox,” Abitang said. “The other school didn’t do that.”
While still in her first year, Abitang is already satisfied she made the right choice.
“I like smaller schools,” she said.
Junior Gretta Reed started her college search by looking solely at eco-league schools — colleges focusing solely on environmental studies. However, she soon decided to expand her exploration.
“I realized I wanted to do other stuff like languages,” Reed said.
Reed’s family suggested she look at small liberal arts colleges. She found Knox in Lauren Pope’s book, “Colleges That Change Lives,” only to discover that her great aunt and uncle and a second cousin had graduated from Knox.
“I had this whole history with Knox that I didn’t know about,” she said.
When Reed visited the college, she had the opportunity to sit in on a choir rehearsal. For Reed, meeting the people involved made her certain of her decision.
“It’s hard to gauge the student population … but I went to a choir rehearsal and was like, ‘I found my people,’” Reed said.
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