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Guest Post: Colleges Without Make-Up

bulletin board.KBlue 2014
Bulletin Board in Porter Dorm, Beloit College

About the author: I’m Kerina, a high school senior interning at Creative Marbles. I’ve lived to tell the tale of having completed the college application process.

After all the acceptances rolled in, I was faced with the daunting task of having to choose only one college. I can now happily say that I am committed to attending Beloit College, (my deposit has been received, my housing agreement and placement questionnaire have both been emailed in, and I have registered for a FYI seminar). They had given me the best merit and financial aid, but I didn’t know as much about Beloit than I did about the other schools. I had glossy promotional brochures and pamphlets in a stack the size of the California State Capitol Building, and absolutely no idea how to sort through it all. When I finally dove into the stack, the information seemed too neat and airbrushed for any of it to be meaningful. Thus, began my hunt for straightforward, unbiased information from as many sources as possible.

Google Maps was the first place I consulted for objective information. Look up a college and use the “Search Nearby” function to look up anything that interests you. As a practicing Jew with no idea what to expect in the form of a Jewish community in Wisconsin, I looked up “synagogue”. I was happy to find Congregation B’Nai Abraham, only three miles away from the college, and a few other synagogues that are a bit farther away. I was born and raised in California, so of course, I checked for Mexican food and found La Casa Grande, less than a mile away. My favorite way to relax in my free time is by going to see a movie, so I checked for nearby theaters and found Wildwood Theaters Luxury 10 Cinemas about three miles away.  I’m particularly fond of Vietnamese food and was bummed to discover that, from Beloit College, the nearest pho is 15 miles away. Considering my obsession with comics, I was relieved to find a comics store three miles away.

Next, I looked through the  “Beloit College” tag on tumblr, knowing I wanted a more alternative environment, and found a plethora of information about Beloit’s quirkiness.  According to Beloiters’ posts, the school mascot is a turtle rather than the advertised buccaneer, there was a topless spaghetti dinner held at the women’s house (only those who identify as female were allowed), the strongest department is anthropology because of on-campus dig-sites of Native American mounds (one of which gave Beloit its symbol). In addition, I also found Beloit-specific blogs to read, like http://beloitcollege.tumblr.com/, where I found even more evidence about Beloit’s uniqueness. Through this blog, I found a video of Beloit’s acapella group, “Bits & Pieces”, as well as lots of talk about snow and ice, that the school once filled a kiddie pool with ice cream during finals, and that there is a local Saturday Farmer’s Market as well as an outdoor contra dance group.The hodgepodge of clubs and events at the school assured me I had found my new home.

I’m not someone who can fit in any particular mold; I need wiggle room wherever I am, whomever I’m with. So I knew I needed a school with quirks and a few cracked edges. The variety of sources from Google maps to social media helped me find the information I was looking for, and ultimately helped me choose Beloit College.