How do you know?
You can check the statistics, analyze the data and study the various Viewbooks, but how can parents really know that their child is choosing the right college?
For Phil Collins – the Morton Grove, Ill., school superintendent, not the singer – that assurance came not long after he and his daughter, Laura, attended a College Fair at her high school.
They talked with an admissions counselor from Simpson College.
“Two days later, she got a personal letter from Rick Spellerberg, who was chairman of the mathematics department at that point,” Phil said. “It said to me from the beginning that this is a place that’s going to care about my child.
“We came and visited and had a great feel for it. I knew as a parent that this was a place that was going to put the time and energy into my child to help her be successful.”
On Move-In Day, when Simpson upperclassmen help freshman move into their college rooms, Phil enjoyed the opportunity to talk with several top College administrators.
“You don’t see that at other places,” he said. “There’s just no way you can just be a number at a small school. It became very clear to me early on that Simpson wouldn’t allow that in any way, shape or form, and that they were going to do what they could to help kids be successful all the way through.”
That was certainly true in Laura’s college career. She majored in math, chemistry and physics, and graduated with top honors in each department.
She received several offers from seven universities to attend graduate school, choosing a fellowship from the University of Notre Dame. Laura eventually would like to conduct research in a laboratory and teach at the college level.
But Laura’s father noticed, and appreciated, more than her academic progress while at Simpson.
“I’ve just seen her grow up and mature, not only as a student but as a person,” he said. “The whole aspect of her being able to accomplish what she has and spending a semester abroad studying in Australia.
“The way I’ve seen her become a better person overall, in addition to what she’s learned academically, it’s been very heartwarming and exciting for me as a parent.”
Laura graduated in the spring of 2013, but Phil Collins said it will be a long time before he forgets the role that Simpson College played in his daughter’s life.
“We all want better things for our kids than what we were able to do and to help them be successful,” he said. “It’s been phenomenal. Simpson is a place that goes way beyond helping your child grow academically. They care about kids’ personal and academic development. It has that personal feel to it that you just don’t find everywhere, not even at other smaller schools.”
Choosing Simpson, he said, “was probably the best decision she ever made It was a great fit for her and helped her get to where she’s at today.”
And for him? “They’ve kept every promise.”