Hallie Koontz, Geneva, Illinois
Areas of study
English & Creative Writing
Student Advisory Board for the Center for the Literary Arts, Playwriting and Theater Interest Groups, workstudy position in the Admission Office
Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Illinois
Why did you decide to transfer? Why did you choose Cornell College?
I had always planned on saving my very limited funds by attending Waubonsee for two years in order to get my associate’s degree, later transferring to a four-year school for my bachelor’s. Saving two years worth of tuition money just made sense.
Of the four colleges I applied to, Cornell helped me out the most. They sent me personal reminders about due dates, scheduled a phone interview, made sure I knew about scholarships and handled my applications personally, and were very quick and understanding when I had a question, especially important when dealing with complicated things like transferring courses. Cornell really helped me out financially as well— I am able to afford the education here pretty easily because of all the assistance they gave.
What has your transition to Cornell been like academically? Socially?
The block plan takes a little acclimation, but I find the course load is actually a lot more manageable than on the traditional semester plan. Because I’m only focusing on one subject, I’m remembering things a lot better and have still maintained my GPA even though the material is a little more challenging. Finals week can definitely get stressful and a tad overwhelming, but homesickness hasn’t bothered me much because I have the option to visit home for a few days every month during block break.
New Student Orientation (NSO) was an awesome program too— my group was entirely transfer students so I didn’t feel too alone. Because we all did stuff together constantly that week, I made really good friends with people and still hang out with them all the time, in addition to the new people I’ve met on my floor and in classes.
What would you say to a student considering a transfer to Cornell?
People at Cornell are really nice. Whereas other colleges didn’t particularly care that I was a transfer, the people here—faculty, staff, and students—seem to understand the transition is a bit harder when you’ve already gone to a different school for two years. I love being able to deal with just one professor and one subject matter at a time, and I love all the stuff that goes around on campus, plus the wide array of clubs and organizations here—how many colleges can say they have Sci-Fi and Medieval Renaissance Clubs?
I would definitely recommend contacting Sharon Grice in the Admission Office—I guarantee she will be able to give you good information. Visits are also great, because committing to a college is also committing to the campus culture, and you’ll probably want to have a taste of all the weird and quirky things here before making your decision.