When I applied to Wheaton, I did not expect to have the means to afford attending. Nonetheless, when I received my financial award package, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Wheaton’s financial aid department had made it possible for me to come--something I would have not known if I did not apply.
That said, here are three financial aid tips that have made my Wheaton experience affordable:
- Apply to Wheaton
The first tip I would offer someone who is thinking about committing to Wheaton is to apply. One may well wonder how Wheaton can have a reputation for an eyebrow-raising tuition price tag and also be on Fiske’s shortlist of Best Buy schools. The answer to this is the Financial Aid department.
- Talk to Financial Aid
You’ve matriculated, you’ve had some treats at Sam’s Café, and you’ve Instagrammed Blanchard Hall. It may seem as if your Wheaton financial aid experience can be put on autopilot. Hopefully this is true, but sometimes unexpected events knock one off course financially. When this happened to me, and threatened my return to Wheaton, I went to the financial aid department to discuss my situation. It was then that I found they are not only good at getting students into Wheaton, they are good at keeping them here.
- Talk to Your Academic Advisers
Because I want to specialize in medieval Scandinavian artwork, there are not a lot of travel abroad posters hanging in Lower Beamer student center that apply to me. I had to do some research before I found there was a perfect opportunity for me to study at the University of Oslo. As often is the case for study abroad, finding the funding to go is just as important as finding a place to go. It was with the help of my academic adviser that I learned where and how to look for these funding opportunities. Your academic advisers have likely applied for these kinds of things their whole career and will have excellent instincts and advice.
Stephen Westich ’15 is an art history major from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. Apply to Wheaton and learn more about their financial aid packages on the financial aid website.
As someone who can’t remember a time before she was involved in singing for other people, it’s perhaps unsurprising that vocal performance major Hannah Benson ’15 has found a home in Wheaton’s Conservatory of Music.
“I love the way that studying voice makes me feel,” Hannah says. “I’m creating the sound physically, and it’s a very rewarding major to me because of that.”
As one of the lead roles in Wheaton’s Opera Music Theater production of Dido and Aeneas, Hannah has had ample opportunity to exercise her vocal talent in a community of fellow artists.
“I love the people in the conservatory,” she says. “Because there are so few of us and we’re constantly in the same building, we get to know each other really well. It becomes a really close-knit community.”
From Hannah’s perspective, this community includes professors, too. Working closely with well-trained professionals is made even more beneficial when paired with small class sizes and ensembles in which all participants know one another by name.
“It’s really rewarding in both the academic and emotional aspects,” Hannah says. “It’s been awesome.”
Hannah Benson '15 is a senior studying vocal performance in the Conservatory of Music. Learn more about her dreams and aspirations on her author bio page.
Young-Ho Moon '15 chose to attend Wheaton for its 3-2 dual degree engineering program, and is on the verge of completing both his Bachelor of Science degree from Wheaton and a degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Because Wheaton is a liberal arts school, it "wasn't on his radar initially," but after being accepted to both a "top-tier" engineering school and Wheaton, he decided to do an overnight stay with a "Deke" from the admissions office that changed everything.
"That visit really changed my perspective on what I wanted out of a college," Young-Ho says. "I think what I realized after visiting Wheaton was that I didn't want my four years of college to just be about learning engineering stuff or more equations...but really just developing me into the person God wants me to be. Wheaton offers holistic growth in a way other schools don't."
Young-Ho Moon '15 is a 3-2 engineering dual degree program student from China.
When I decided to pursue my Psy.D. at Wheaton, I told people I chose Wheaton because of a variety of factors. Although it is true that my wife and I tried to make a wise, holistically informed decision, the primary reason I came to Wheaton was the people I interacted with throughout the interview process. Quite simply, I wanted to be formed by people I thought were worthwhile to emulate. Since the beginning of my time here, my professors and the others in my cohort have made my experience worthwhile.
The people at Wheaton have driven me to be a better counselor, scholar, and researcher. My research interests were broad when I started the Psy.D. program. Thankfully, Dr. Ward Davis, my research professor and professional mentor, listened closely to my varied interests and brought to my attention various people, conferences, and grants that could help enrich the process.
After a lot of hard work and many drafts, the Templeton Foundation chose my dissertation as part of their funding for Positive Psychology and Faith research. I am actually happy to report that it took me 20+ drafts in working with Dr. Ward, Nancy from Buswell Memorial Library, my dissertation committee, and the Templeton committee. While I am not someone who particularly loves research or even writing (my biggest passion is counseling), this research process has been enjoyable because of Ward’s support and direction throughout the process and the encouragement of so many at Wheaton.
My dissertation research project is an opportunity to team up with a large nondenominational church [Bethany Church near Baton Rouge, Louisiana] to study the virtue of humility. In positive psychology research, humility has recently been espoused as a worthwhile virtue to learn more about and attempt to foster. Therefore, we are implementing a humility intervention workbook that seeks to encourage church leaders to more accurately view themselves, while being open to others perspectives and putting others’ needs above their own. I am most excited about this research because I truly believe humility is something we, including the church, could use a lot more of in our lives.
Now that we have the grant and we are really digging into the project, I can see that my hopes are the same as they were before I entered the program. I hope my research furthers our knowledge about how we can better honor and serve those around us, no matter how hard it may be to find common ground with them. I hope my research can give a voice to people that do not often have their voice heard. Finally, my greatest hope is that the research will be about walking alongside and helping people every step of the way.
Andrew Cuthbert Psy.D. ’18recently received a Templeton Foundation grant for his church-humility intervention study and is completing his clinical hours at the Wheaton College Counseling Center. Photos from top: Andrew goes to work at the Wheaton College Counseling Center two to three days per week; Andrew with classmates Grace Schuler, Meghan Cahill, and instructor Dr. Ward Davis after their presentation at a Christian Association for Psychological Studies conference; Andrew and his wife, Melissa, welcome the new cohort of Psy.D. students to Wheaton at their home near campus.
Learn more about Wheaton’s Psy.D. program on their website and how to apply.
One of the most rewarding things I have done this year is to become a 1-2-1 leader as part of a program through the Office of Multicultural Development. As a 1-2-1 leader, my job is to be a resource to minority first-year or transfer students at Wheaton. 1-2-1 leaders make sure their 1-2-1 students know they have someone who is available to listen, hang out, study with, pray with, and help them adjust to life at Wheaton.
College is such a unique phase of life, and the change from senior year of high school to the first year of college is a dramatic transition. Being a minority adds an extra layer of complexities—at Wheaton, there aren’t many people that look like you or think like you, understand your background, or even share the same humor as you. 1-2-1 leaders provide a safe place for these students to express how they feel and know they are not alone.
College is hard. Being at Wheaton is hard. Being a person of color at a predominantly white institution is hard. But I believe that these hardships are meant to ultimately bring us together—we don’t have to navigate these unfamiliar waters alone. 1-2-1 provides a space where people can connect and begin to cultivate their own identity. Acceptance of that identity ultimately helps us begin to understand how best to interact with the people around us, regardless of race, class, gender, or other differences.
Early at the beginning of this semester, one of my 1-2-1 students sent me a text out of the blue that said, “How can you deal with being the only black person everywhere you go?” I called her and invited her to come over to my apartment, and we stayed up talking until the wee hours of the morning. Sharing our experiences ended up being so life-giving for both of us. Before she left, she gave me a huge hug and said, “Now I want to be a 1-2-1 leader!”
As part of the Wheaton community, we all have the potential to broaden each other’s horizons. We often develop false assumptions about people, and if we don’t check ourselves before acting on these assumptions, the repercussions can be hurtful. Being a 1-2-1 leader has taught me about the importance of taking time to listen to other people’s stories, pushing me to throw my preconceptions out the window. Everyone—no matter the race or culture—has a story that’s worth listening to. That is why we should approach our interactions with patience and grace.
Photos (above): Aseye Agamah '16 (front, center) gathers with her 1-2-1 students in Lower Beamer Center, fall 2014.