Through my work in the Alma College Admissions office, I interact with a lot of parents who are sending their students off to college for the first time. Some of them are very confident in the decision to send their student off on their own. They are excited for them to go, get out of the house and have new experiences. Some are, understandably, a little more nervous about this big transition!
I was a combination of the two. My oldest son, Jacob, started at Alma College four years ago and graduated this spring with the Class of 2023 (Congratulations, Jacob!). My youngest son, Andrew, started classes at Alma in 2021 and is now entering his junior year. Their experiences have filled me with all sorts of emotions; from pride, to nervousness, to absolute exhilaration at seeing them realize their passions, make strides toward fulfilling their goals and walk across the stage at commencement.
I am very pleased that my sons chose to attend Alma. I think it’s a wonderful college that truly prepares its students for the next chapter in life, whether that is graduate school, the work force, service to the community and so much more. After all I wouldn’t work here if I didn’t believe in the work that is being done on our campus. But what’s more important, to me, is that they think it’s a wonderful college. I couldn’t be more proud — or grateful — that Andrew and Jacob have had good experiences at Alma. Here are three factors that have played into those experiences.
At Alma, we tout our student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1 and we tell prospective students they will receive 1-on-1 attention from esteemed academics in their field. But I didn’t truly understand what that meant in practice until I saw how that played out for my sons. The connections they made with their professors will last long beyond the classroom, which is incredible to me. I will be forever grateful to our faculty, who were always willing to meet Jacob, Andrew and any other student outside of class to help plan for their time at Alma and beyond. They truly care. You are more than a number to them.
Opportunities to get involved
Alma has about 1,300 undergraduate students and more than 80 student organizations to get involved in, so just about every student has something constructive going on outside of class! My sons became involved in Fraternity and Sorority Life, which I will admit I was a little leery about at first, on account of my preconceived notions about what that would be like. But when they told me about the philanthropic work, leadership opportunities and other great experiences that FSL organizations offer at Alma — and how they wanted to turn around the stigma of fraternities — they convinced me this was the right thing to do. They feel they have made a difference and I agree with them.
Living on campus
At Alma, all students are expected to live in college-owned or approved housing, through its intentional experiential housing model. I was not nervous about my sons leaving home, because I was confident in their abilities and the ability of Alma College to keep them safe and provide an environment of beneficial growth. I encouraged them to live on campus and get the most out of meeting new people and getting involved with activities provided through residence life. I think Residence life is something special at Alma. My sons didn’t just learn from faculty or staff, they learned from their fellow students. They made connections they would not have made otherwise, and these connections will last a lifetime.
If you would like to learn more about what Alma College can do for your family, visit alma.edu/admissions. And if you are a supporter who has specific questions or concerns about sending your children to school here, I’m always available — and believe me when I say that there are many other parents just like me who are very happy to have made this decision.
— Cristy Omans works as assistant director of campus engagement and events at Alma College. She has served in various roles at Alma since 2018 and is very proud to be a Scot.