In high school, college always seemed a long way off to me. Looking back, I
can see that I should have started thinking about it earlier, but I was busy
with other activities, like soccer and youth group. I pretty much figured
I would cross that bridge when I came to it.
As a result, my parents started thinking about college before I did, and
I didn't start looking at schools until the summer before my senior
My mother, however, had foresight. She had visited a school near Chicago
called Wheaton College a couple of times and must have mentioned it to me
a million times. She dropped so many subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints that
I started to get tired of hearing them. I didn't know enough about the
school to be completely convinced it was where I wanted to go. Besides, college
was my first chance to really step out on my own. I wanted the decision about
where I went to be minenot my parents'.
But then my parents and I took a trip and visited several schools around
the country. Most of the places we went were small Christian colleges. Mom
and Dad persuaded me to at least give Wheaton a chance, so we made it one
of the stops on our tour.
To my surprise and my parents' delight, I loved the place. Everything
about it seemed perfect: The tour guide was friendly and helpful, the campus
was dignified and beautiful, and I loved the little town near the school.
Also, the school was strong in my areas of interest. I was seriously considering
a major in music, and I was also hoping to play college soccer. I knew that
Wheaton's music conservatory was excellent and that it had a pretty
good soccer team.
So I loved the campus and felt confident the school had what I was looking
for. It seemed like the ideal match for me.
My parents were thrilledespecially my mother. But then again, they had
been excited about it for a long time already.
Even though I was ready to send my application in the day I got home from
my visit, I wanted to pray and make sure God was as excited as I was. In
a way, though, my mind was already made up. I answered my own prayers by
determining the reply ahead of time.
Without really listening for God's direction, I started telling people
I felt as if I'd found the college where God wanted me. My parents prayed
about it, too, and felt the same way. I filled out the early application
without applying to any other schools.
And thenprobably sometime around ChristmasI started wondering whether
I should have taken a serious look at more than one college.
On the one hand, I knew without a doubt that Wheaton was where I wanted to
go. I had felt that way from the moment I had stepped on the campus.
At the same time, I didn't want to put all of my eggs in one basket.
My grades and test scores were really good, but I knew Wheaton was very
selective, and I wasn't positive I would get in. And what if it wasn't
God's will for me to go there?
At first I kept my concerns to myself. For the most part, I still felt sure
I'd discovered the perfect school for me. It seemed so obvious, and
I didn't want to worry about it too much. But my concerns wouldn't
Finally, I couldn't keep it to myself anymore, and I asked my dad whether
we needed to look at some more schools. By then, though, it was getting near
the date when Wheaton was supposed to reply to my application. Dad said he
understood my concern but thought we should wait for the response before
we worried too much. So we waited.
Then it happened. Around the first week of February, I got a letter that
made my heart drop like a stone.
"I'm sorry to inform you that you have not been selected for admission
They included a nice note saying I was a good student, seemed like a strong
Christian, and they hated having to turn me down, but that didn't make
me feel much better. I was crushed and confused. I barely had the heart to
finish the letter.