Michal Varga was finishing up high school in Hong Kong at the United World College when Colorado College admissions representatives came to present on the small liberal arts school.
Varga, a native Slovakian, after meeting with Emily Chan and being admitted to the school — who brought CC paraphernalia, took them to dinner, and brought admission packets — was hooked.
“I just kind of set my mind on CC and being from Slovakia, [but going to high school in Hong Kong], I wanted to continue my international experience,” Varga said.
Students are coming from all over the country and the world for the mountains and block plan. The amount of native Coloradans is slightly declining and the number of students from the East Coast and other countries is increasing.
Most recently, CC has found itself among institutions with the most students from more than 500 miles away. CC is already an incredibly unique community and with the surge of international students it continues to maintain a global perspective for students on campus.
Right now is recruiting season for CC admissions, so many admission directors are traveling abroad in search of future Tigers.
All of the United World Colleges—in Swaziland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Italy, UK, the Netherlands, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Norway, Canada, Costa Rica, and Las Vegas—are on CC’s radar as well as many other international schools that have connections to programs like the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
But recruiting isn’t limited to those programs.
Last year, a group of 20 Chinese students came to CC and, as Admissions Fellow Sarah Hutcherson points out, not all of them were from United World College establishments or American schools.
Cristina Mora Jiluta, an exchange student from Costa Rica, was seeking for a scholarship to study abroad through a university in Costa Rica and wound up at CC.
“I did not really have a particular interest in the US or any other country, but I just wanted to have an abroad experience,” she said.
Through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), Cristina found a program that offered full scholarships to several Costa Rican students to colleges in the United States. It was a long and really difficult process to get the scholarship—around nine months of writing essays, interviews, academic review and finally the TOEFL.
The deciding factor for Mora Jiluta was “based on my liberal points of view and academic/social interests, the committee decided Colorado College would be perfect for me.”
Attending CC was Mora Jiluta’s first time in the United States, but she was interested “to explore education from a different perspective.”
“Coming from a country like Costa Rica, there is so much influence from the US that I thought it would be important for me as a journalist to live this cultural, academic and overall educational experience,” she said.
Within the country students are still coming from all 50 states, but the number of students who travel more than 500 miles to get to CC is rising.
Keith Drury travels from Vinalhaven, Maine to college —a town located on Fox Island off the coast of Maine—and the trek is over 2,250 miles.
Drury says that CC was the only school outside of the New England area that he seriously considered; he wanted a small college and the majority of all schools he knew around that size were in New England.
Drury realized that he wanted to start somewhere fresh and anywhere New England would not allow him to do that.
“The allure of anonymity was very important as was the proximity to the mountains and the block plan,” Drury said.
Anchorage, Alaska is around 3,300 miles away from Colorado Springs, but that didn’t hinder senior Brianna Traxinger from looking to Colorado for schools. She looked for somewhere with mountains and a lot of outdoor activity that was similar demographically to Alaska.
When Traxinger began looking at schools, she thought that Colorado was very similar to Alaska even though she had never been. Even though the two states are incredibly different, Brianna was able to connect with Colorado’s outdoors.
She looked at other schools such as CSU and CU, but with the ORC appeal and unique block plan, Brianna was hooked. Before committing, she visited all the schools here in Colorado and automatically knew that CC was her top choice.
“Basically I really like the idea of the block plan and I follow the mountains around” from Alaska to Colorado to Mendoza, Argentina where she studied abroad, Traxinger said.
CC is a school that sells itself; take a look at your view of Pikes Peak.
It attracts more students from all over the country who are looking for a small, highly ranked liberal arts college but are trying to get away from what they know or have grown up with.