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Why I Left a Large Research University for Grove City College

10403683_10207831400606002_5843808818986563671_nSince a young age, I have dreamed of obtaining my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and pursuing a career in research. Therefore, when I began looking at colleges, I focused my attention on colleges that had large research programs and offered an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and ended up choosing a school that specialized in biomedical research. I thought I had chosen the perfect school, a school that would jump-start me to my career aspirations.

Two years later, I found myself at Grove City College, a school I initially had written off my list of potential schools because it offered neither the major I wanted nor an explicit emphasis on research. Although I never envisioned I would one day be a Grover, it has been the best choice I have made. Why?

1. Small class sizes.

At the first institution I attended, I was thrown into classes with hundreds of students which made interactions with the professor very impersonal. A few of my classes didn’t even have enough seats for everyone, so the professors encouraged us to just “skip class and read the textbook.” At GCC, nearly all of my classes are under 50 students. If I raise my hand, the professor immediately calls me out by name and answers my question. I am treated as a person in class, not a number.

2. Opportunities for student research.

Research at my first institution was everything I had wanted it not to be. I was the lab rat, doing the chores of graduate students. I did not have the opportunity to actually perform research, as I was too busy cleaning the microscope or proofreading emails. At Grove City College, I was involved in a research project with an electrical engineer in which we created a 3D-printed hearing aid. The research project allowed me to travel to two conferences, as well as win the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Undergraduate Research Competition.

3. A strong, well-rounded education. 

I love being an engineer, and if I could, I would stay in the lab all day culturing and analyzing cells. But as an engineer, that is not all I am required to do. I must be able to communicate my ideas effectively and efficiently. I must be able to carry intellectual conversations about topics other than Bernoulli’s equation or shear stress theories. Grove City College, by emphasizing a liberal arts education, has enhanced my knowledge in all disciplines, not just engineering.

4. The option to compete in sports.

I love being active. Throughout my life, I have always been involved in multiple sports. When I went away to a D1 university, I no longer had the opportunity to participate in varsity athletics. I felt a void – I missed being a member of a team, I missed the competition. At Grove City College, since it is a D3 school, I was able return to varsity athletics and it has become one of my most valuable college experiences.

5. A Christian environment.

Going to college and learning how to live on your own is hard. Suddenly, we must make decisions for ourselves, we face new challenges and we are given unique opportunities. The atmosphere at Grove City College, more so than my previous institution, has helped me grow as a Christian. I am constantly provided with the support I need to help me face tough situations and make hard decisions from faculty, staff and fellow students. I can honestly say the study body as a whole at Grove City College is the nicest group of people I have been encountered.

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