July 18, 2012
Some local high school graduates who went away to college are finding they are happier since they came back home to attend Morningside College.
In 2008 when he was a senior at Sioux City West High School, Chase Shanafelt thought he would go away to college to find himself. So he headed off to the large state university his parents and brother had attended. He planned to become an engineer.
Three years later, Shanafelt was at that same university studying speech pathology and sharing an apartment with friends.
“It was tough because I was working almost full time and going to school full time just so I could live in an apartment and go to school,” he said. “I had to work so much. It was taking a toll, probably on my grades too.”
Shanafelt began to realize that speech pathology wasn’t right for him. He also was getting tired of the living situation at his apartment. He didn’t know what he was going to do. He just knew that he wanted to come home.
Shanafelt returned to Sioux City and decided to look at Morningside College. He learned he could finish his undergraduate degree at Morningside in two years – about the same amount of time it would have taken him had he stayed at the university.
He talked with the track coach and found out there would be a spot for him on the team. He also talked with an admissions counselor regarding his options as far as majors.
“I always had a really fond interest in reading and writing,” he said. “I thought I’d try my hand in English, and it turned out to be a good choice.”
Shanafelt just completed his first year at Morningside. He serves as a tutor in the writing center, he traveled to New Orleans with the English honor society, and he received third place for the short story he submitted to the college’s literary magazine.
“Here I am a name instead of a number,” he said. “It’s small enough where you can go and have normal conversations with your professors or counselors or whoever. I used to have class with 300 people at a time. Coming here to twenty-some people, it is much more comfortable. It is a much better learning environment, way easier for me to want to be here.”
In 2010 when she was a senior at South Sioux City High School, Sarah Swan knew she wanted to attend either Morningside or a state college. She decided on the state college because it was farther from home. It only took her a couple of months to realize she had made a mistake.
Swan met with Morningside faculty and staff members, who helped her get ready to transfer that spring. All of her courses from the state college transferred. As a result, she is still on track to graduate in four years, even with majors in American history, world history and education, and reading and government teaching endorsements.
“I’m learning a whole lot more, and I love how knowledgeable the professors are about their areas,” she said. “It’s great just to sit and listen to them talk about what they’re passionate about. I don’t think you get that level of expertise at most other schools.”
Swan has found that going to college in your hometown isn’t such a bad thing.
“When you and your friends want to go out, they turn to you for directions,” she said. “You know where everything is. You don’t get lost. It makes everything a whole lot easier.”
Swan did suggest that local students live on campus for at least one semester. That is what she did, and she said she had a really easy time making friends.
“You meet people when you live on the hall, and it’s easier to get involved in the activities,” she said. “You can stay involved even if you live off campus, but it’s easier to get involved in the first place if you live on campus.”
To learn more about Morningside College, contact the transfer counselor, Cindy Kinney, at 1-800-831-0806, Ext. 5190, or firstname.lastname@example.org.