Cool Schools: Pitzer College

By Allisyn Ruttle 04/07/2015

There’s something exciting about applying to nine colleges and being able to picture yourself at every single one of them. I didn’t apply to any schools “early decision” like all of my friends, and it was confusing feeling like I was the only one that wasn’t sure. After years of my education being laid out for me, having so many options was daunting, but exciting nonetheless. When I was accepted into four colleges, the real decision-making could begin.

The day was April 27th, less than a week away from decision day, May 1st. I had gotten into Pitzer, but had almost dismissed it entirely because I had never visited the campus before, even though Pitzer had given me a better financial aid package than my other options (something they’re known for). My Schuler college counselor convinced me to visit campus the weekend before decision day, and with a heavy sigh, I agreed. The last thing I wanted was for my decision to be even harder.

When I got there, I thought I hated it, that I could never fit into the liberal vibe Pitzer is famous for. I came back to Waukegan convinced I was going to forget about Pitzer forever and start my life elsewhere. When the day came, however, for me to finally send in a deposit, everyone asked me where I was going to school. I said, nervously, but with some pride, “I’m going to Pitzer.”

What changed my mind, you ask? I realized that I thought Pitzer College wasn’t right for me, but that wasn’t it. I was turned off by the idea because I was scared. Everything about Pitzer—the location, the weather, the culture, the people, the food, the academics, the grass I walked on—everything was different. To go to Pitzer would mean stretching further out of my comfort zone than I ever had before, which sounded uncomfortable, but in the back of my mind, I knew that Pitzer could make me so happy. Everything I had learned during my three years as a high school Scholar told me to close my eyes and jump forward, trusting that everything would be better than I’d imagined. The moral here is simple: if you’re scared, let that fuel jumping forward, not running in the opposite direction.

Pitzer was not the glorified “college of my dreams” that I laid in bed thinking about all of high school, but now I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. The small class sizes allow me to learn more from discussions with my peers and closer relationships with my professors. The live music culture is thriving, with concerts featuring student bands almost every weekend. I have immersed myself in that sub-culture for the past three years by developing the annual music festival held on Pitzer’s campus, Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival. The community is so inviting and open-minded, and the Claremont village is quaint and inviting. Attending Pitzer College is the best decision I ever made, whether it was my life-long dream or not, and I am proud of the adult I have become while on this campus.

Allisyn Ruttle is a graduate of Waukegan High School and member of the Class of 2016 at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Since 2013, she has held the position of Schuler Campus Ambassador at the Claremont Colleges, planning events for Schuler Scholars and offering support to first-year students as they transition to college life.

Allisyn at the Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival at Pitzer College.

Allisyn at the Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival at Pitzer College.

Allisyn hiking on a trail near Pitzer's campus.

Allisyn hiking on a trail near Pitzer's campus.

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