Choosing a College with Shared Values

Owen Prabel

Finding the best college for me was a challenge. It took months of researching and exploring all of the possibilities until I finally settled on UNCG. There were a lot of aspects I was looking for in a college, and they were all related to my personal beliefs, views and wants. These included diversity, population, crowd (the type of people), political affiliation and organizations. Having all of these match myself was very important to me in choosing a school, and UNCG has fulfilled them all so far.

Growing up, my parents never really forced any of their own views on me and my sisters. This led to us all creating our own opinions on things, which I really appreciate now after seeing how where you grow up really makes a person. Thankfully, my parents have mostly neutral views on things and are open minded, now asking us about our views and learning from us. These views that we developed on our own are mostly based around liberal stances, which is also the majority of the population here at UNCG. 

One of the ideals that we strongly advocate for is diversity. My middle school only had one person that wasn’t white in my grade. At the time I didn’t even notice, but once I got to high school, I realized how messed up it was. My high school was extremely diverse, and throughout high school is where a lot of my education happened, in a sense other than in classes. I learned the importance of diversity and inclusion, and I needed to continue to experience that in college. After looking through all of the college’s demographics, UNCG was the obvious choice in this aspect, having easily the most diverse campus in North Carolina.

Another one of my views that is very important to me is focus on mental health. I’ve struggled with countless mental health issues throughout my life, some I was born with, and some caused by childhood trauma through getting bullied and other stuff I don’t feel the need to mention. I needed to go somewhere where the students understood the importance of mental health. So far, almost everyone I have met has gone through something similar to me or struggled with something in some way with mental health. This sounds depressing, but it actually helps a lot with my situation, giving me friends I know I can talk to and being someone that they can talk to as well which is something I’ve never had before. Something else that helped with that is how small of a school UNCG is. I’ve always been at small magnet and charter schools so low population schools are something I wanted to keep attending because it was more comfortable.

The last topic I’m going to talk about is my main activity that I needed to have, volleyball. I’ve been playing volleyball for almost half of my life, and it’s been a part of my identity for as long as I can remember. There was no scenario where I didn’t have volleyball be a part of my college experience, so I made sure that UNCG had at least somewhere I could play. I joined the Men’s Volleyball Club team as soon as I possibly could, and immediately fit in. Everyone was super friendly and also really good at volleyball. Apparently, the club team hadn’t been doing that well before I joined, but that’s because they hadn’t improved that much. All of them trained over the summer and played as often as they could and now, with me on the team as well, we’ve placed 2nd at every tournament we’ve attended except for one that we placed 3rd in. Volleyball was not something I could have given up and I’m so happy with how it turned out.

Between all of these aspects, UNCG was able to check off all of my boxes. It’s diverse, is somewhat small, and has amazing people. It also had a great club volleyball program and even the classes I’ve been mostly enjoying so far. When I was applying, I got into every college I applied to, and I’m so glad that I made the choice I did.

Categories: featured, Features


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