Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Austin Simko ’09: 3 Reasons Why

Posted on October 25, 2013

It wasn’t that long ago that I was weighing the important decision facing you and your student, so I understand the complexity and heft of choosing a college. I’d like to cut through the pamphlets and pitches to share three reasons Wheaton continues to mean so much to me, and why I recommend it for your son or daughter.

First, Wheaton is an environment of unparalleled nurturing. During the second week of classes my freshman year, my political science professor invited me into his office to pique my interest about upcoming scholarship opportunities. Another professor arranged an interview for me in the Government Relations Department of Sylvania, Inc. He drove two hours to attend my interview so he could, in his words, “Make sure they give [me] important work.” The fall of my junior year, the Filene Center notified me about an internship opportunity at a local nonprofit organization. I won this spot and began working there as the Director of Public Policy the year after I graduated. It was due to the attention of Wheaton’s staff and faculty that I grew as a student and as a person.

Second, the college specializes in providing opportunities out of the classroom. Wheaton students find themselves engaged in diverse pursuits all at once. Throughout my Wheaton career, I participated in student government, singing groups, musicals and drama productions, the campus newspaper, and a campus job – all enriching experiences. Beyond their immediate value, they instilled management skills and self-confidence in me, and showed me that varied and balanced living is a recipe for constant growth and authentic happiness. Internalizing this lesson has enabled me to multi-task, from studying law and participating in moot court competitions to working on Wheaton’s Alumni Board of Directors. Being able to give yourself to concurrent and demanding activities is an invaluable skill.

Finally, Wheaton offers students a quality liberal arts education which encourages mental agility, comfort with ambiguity, and, most importantly, a quest to learn. The liberal arts emphasize skills that have limitless applicability, imbuing in students a commitment to life-long learning and an ability to engage in diverse pursuits.

In a tough economy, students with a liberal arts education have an invaluable advantage: they can take a job outside their comfort zone or say “yes” to an unexpected opportunity and feel confident that their ability to learn, adapt, and think critically will carry them forward. My Wheaton education has armed me with confidence even today as I begin work as an associate at the Boston location of one of the largest law firms in the world.

And so, as you and your student weigh college options, I hope you will take a long, hard look at Wheaton. I think you’ll find that a Wheaton education is a smart investment for the next four years and beyond.

Good luck!

- Austin Simko ’09
Boston College Law School ’13

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