The Picky Prospective Freshman

Seven years ago, my brother decided he wanted a puppy. He researched hundreds of breeds and made visits to breeders in the area because he was looking for the perfect fit. After a few weeks, his mind was made up – he wanted the smallest male Vizsla of the litter at Brandt Quarter Horses in Poynette, Wisconsin. On our final trip to the breeder, Sam saw the puppy he wanted and was ready to leave until another puppy unexpectedly caught his attention. She was wagging her tail, sniffing, licking, whining and jumping on him as if he was the only person that she had ever seen while the puppy my brother wanted was practically sleeping in the corner. Sumo, the hyper-active, loveable female puppy came home with us that day.

For me, finding the perfect college campus was like my brother picking the perfect puppy. I took my prospective student visits seriously because while realistic, my expectations were specific and demanding. My perfect college campus did exist, I just had to find it. In fact, I thought I had found it until I visited Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Photo Credit: Macalester College
Image By Macalester College

The red brick buildings, perfectly manicured grass and simple campus layout welcomed me to Macalester. Just like picky eaters require their food to look good, an aesthetically pleasing campus was a requirement in my book. Do the buildings invite me to study in them? Will I want to leave my dorm room to study in the library on wintery evenings at midnight? Beautiful buildings are more welcoming than ugly buildings, which is why the visual appeal of the buildings on my prospective campus was necessary. Without a doubt, Macalester had the look.

Next was academic and athletic excellence. Before even visiting campus, I knew that Macalester College is a prestigious institution with unofficial Ivy League status. When it comes to academics, the school is top notch. Athletically, I wasn’t looking to just play basketball I wanted to compete. At first, I was a bit weary of the women’s basketball program because it did not exist for years before Coach got there. She built the program from scratch and her competitive drive and defensive-minded attitude matched my approach to the game. Other teams in the conference were keeping their eyes on us and my recruiting class would only help the comeback. Even more, the newly constructed $45 million athletic center was a major perk and I could proudly wear the school colors, blue and orange.

The final test was lunch and as a picky eater, it was a crucial component that would make or break my decision. All students live on campus for the first two years at Macalester so I needed to know I could eat on campus for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next two years of my life. We walked into Café Mac and I was immediately pleased with the options Bon Appétit Catering provided. I only picked items from the American Station, Italian Station and dessert bar that afternoon but was happy I had more to consider if I wanted – salad bar, Asian Station, the station that always changed depending on the daily menu, dozens of fruit, cereal and soup options and enough liquid to quench my thirst no matter my mood. When I finally sat down to eat, I left the decision up to my taste buds and they excitedly approved.

I was sold. Beautiful Campus? Check. Elite academics? Check. Competitive athletics? Check. Edible food? Check. Macalester was practically calling my name; it was an unexpected gem that exceeded my expectations. I sure am glad that I found Macalester like my brother found his puppy.

-MW