TAYLOR-MARY SMITH '13
Taylor-Mary Smith didn't plan to attend Calvin.
A spur-of-the-moment visit and some personal touches from the admissions department changed that.
"I thought I wanted a big school, but I would get postcards from people doing Young Life at Calvin or a phone call from students wanting to know how my school year was going—I thought it was really cool that they cared enough to call. After my visit, I just knew I wanted to go here."
But one thing she hadn't considered was Calvin's tuition costs.
"It's just my mom and me," she says matter-of-factly. "My mom always told me that I could go anywhere for college and we would make it work. But financial aid did play a huge part in me coming to Calvin. I remember getting the email that said how much assistance I would get, and I called my mom and we just cried. It was like, this is where I'm supposed to be."
Taylor-Mary works hard to make sure she can afford to complete her degree here. Between classes, Bible studies and volunteering as a Young Lives teen mom mentor, she has a job on campus, making calls to high school students—the same kinds of calls that impressed her about Calvin. She checks in regularly with the financial aid office, making sure her scholarship information is up to date. Her mom contributes where she can. And, realistically, "I have a lot of loans," she says.
The Calvin education, she says, makes it all worth it.
"My professors are brilliant, and they care about me, the person—not just on an academic level. You're asked hard questions here and you learn about life and about what it's like to be a part of a community. This place has shaped me in ways that I never would have imagined."
While she'll leave Calvin with debt, Taylor-Mary's financial savvy and work ethic are paying off, literally. She has already begun paying some of her student loans, thanks to the savings from her job and the financial aid she receives.
"There have been things that I haven't been able to do [because of finances], but there has never been a day that I haven't thought that it was worth it. If you really, really want to be here, Calvin really, really wants you here."
TAYLOR-MARY'S TIPS FOR FINANCIAL AID AT CALVIN:
- Fill out the supplemental financial aid form. "It's an incredible thing that Calvin has—for the college to know what each person's family situation is and to actually care. I didn't find that in any other school that I applied to."
- Look for an on-campus job. "I can't imagine having a better boss in my life."
- Don't be afraid of student loans. "I didn't realize that taking out loans made people so nervous. I think that it's 100 percent worth your while to at least try. You'll be fine. You can't be stupid with your money, but you can do it."
APPLY FOR ADMISSION
WHAT WE NEED:
- Your completed application form. The easiest way to apply is by visiting www.calvin.edu/apply.
- Your high school transcript. Print a form online and give it to your school.
- An academic recommendation. E-mail a recommendation link to a teacher, counselor or pastor.
- ACT or SAT scores
International applicants may have different requirements, so please check www.calvin.edu/international.
In case you're wondering, interviews are not required, but we'd love to meet you during your campus visit!
WHEN YOU SHOULD APPLY:
Calvin will waive the $35 fee for applications received by these dates:
Applications are still welcome after the dates above and are considered on a rolling basis. International applications will be considered until April 1.