Sophomore shares advice for homeschoolers on the college search

Laurel Evans, a sophomore Yoder and Webb Scholar who was homeschooled, talks about deciding on EMU and making it home in The Homeschooler’s Guide to Colleges this fall.

The Bible, religion, and theology major is a community advisor and has been involved in several music ensembles on campus — all part of taking her own advice to get involved and stretch herself in new ways.

One top draw for Evans was the intercultural program: She is hoping to study in the Oregon Extension program next fall and go to South Africa in spring 2023.

What were you looking for in a college and what attracted you to EMU?

I was looking for a college that would help me grow into the kind of person I want to be. I wanted to find a college that had solid academic programs and made good efforts toward sustainability, but more importantly I wanted to find a college that had a community that would challenge me to become better. 

When I visited EMU, I loved that the whole campus calls everyone by their first names and that the professors really care about each of their students and want to hear their ideas. I also really love that an intercultural experience is a graduation requirement here. Most of the other colleges I looked at had some kind of study abroad program, but EMU’s requirement helped me realize that this was a college that saw education the same way I did.

How did you find EMU?

My mom actually found EMU! We were talking about how important sustainability in colleges was to me, and she pointed out EMU on a list of the most sustainable colleges in the US and said “Why not check out this one?” I liked what I saw, and ended up applying, although I was a little confused by the Mennonite bit at first! Now that I’ve been here for a while, I really appreciate Mennonites’ theology and commitment to faith, peace, and justice. EMU didn’t become my first choice until after I visited for the first time.

What have you enjoyed most about your classes?

I love how my professors take my ideas seriously and are willing to have long conversations outside of class. I appreciate that my professors don’t just teach doctrine and history, but really encourage us to consider our own worldviews seriously and to read extensively.

Northlawn Residence Hall staff: top from left, Community Advisors Mizz Nyagwegwe, Amanda Gilbert, Laurel Evans, Christian Knight, and front, from left Residence Director Tim Jones Jr., Community Advisor Essance Wolfe, Residence Director Katie Corbit, and Community Advisor Ani Beitzel. (Photo by Rachel Holderman/EMU)

What do you enjoy doing outside of class time?

I’m working as a community advisor in the residence halls this year, which has helped me feel more confident as a leader and get to know more people. I’m also in the choir as well as taking piano lessons (all with much more enjoyment than skill). During my free time, I can generally be found in one of the campus hammock chairs reading or out exploring the area!

What advice would you give to other homeschooled students in their college search?

My advice would be to make the most of what makes you different. Colleges that want to prepare students to make a real difference in the world generally get excited about students who are unusual in some way. While I was applying to colleges, when a college wasn’t excited about my more unusual education it was generally a good sign that it wouldn’t offer the kind of education I wanted. EMU was full of people who were excited to welcome me here!

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