Dayna Wichhart—Staff Writer
I can’t count the number of times I’ve overheard or been part of a conversation that commented on the amount of money we pay to attend Dordt. I’m guilty of it too. It’s expensive and every time I receive the breakdown of the cost and walk into the Business Office to pay the dreaded bill, I cringe. Thousands of dollars each semester on top of thousands in loans.
Why do I do it?
I almost didn’t choose to attend Dordt because I am a penny pincher and did not want to spend so much on what I thought would be the same degree from any other college or university. When I sat down to consider what Dordt has to offer, it was clear the investment was worth it. Here’s why Dordt is worth my every penny.
A Christian education. In my life, I have attended both a private Christian school and a public school. I went to a Christian school for elementary and junior high and a public school for high school. Both experiences taught me so much, but I realized how much a Christian education can shape who you are.
Dordt is not just a school claiming to be Christian. There are colleges that advertise Bible studies, chapel, and missions, but the campus lacks any sort of real Christian community. Its students don’t attend these events, and the Christian title does not reflect the university. It is a blessing to have weekly praise and worship, chapel and Bible study opportunities—all of which are well attended at Dordt. What better way to deepen your faith than in the community of other believers your same age?
Think about your classes and the professors who teach them. The classes are infused with Biblical teaching. Not only do professors have a vast knowledge of the Bible, but they also help their students navigate Christianity in many fields of study. It is invaluable for me to learn not only how to be successful in my career but to do it in a way that glorifies God.
Your professors work hard to know your name, care about you, and seek to help you succeed. Elsewhere, students sit in lecture halls of a couple hundred and are taught by a teaching assistant or graduate student. Students are a name and number on the roster. I want to attend a university where I can walk into my professor’s offices and have them address me by name. I want professors who intimately know me to write my letters of recommendation rather than a professor who only sees my graded assignments.
CORE classes. We all hate them. Why do we have to take these classes when they have nothing to do with our future careers? Regardless of our majors, Dordt forces the CORE program into our schedules like a parent shoving broccoli into their child’s mouth. I’d argue that like the child unable to see the benefit of broccoli, we as students do not see the benefit of CORE classes.
The CORE classes we take help us to become well rounded people. Dordt did not pick classes out of a hat to randomly assign the CORE classes. It was done with purpose from a university who not only cares about the success we have in our fields, but also the people we are as a whole. I don’t know about you, but I want to attend a school that has a genuine interest in the person I become once I leave the institution.
One of the biggest issues with the CORE program is the students. You read that right. You’re the problem. The moment you enter the classroom with the mindset that it is a waste of your time, it becomes just that, a waste of time. If we start walking in with the mindset that we will get something out of the class, we will. After all, you paid a lot to be here. Why not get something out of it?
President Hoekstra. He is a rare university president. What other university president invites every student to his home for a meal twice during their time at Dordt? He knows students personally. He follows their success after leaving Sioux Center. That is rare and should not be taken lightly. It gives a window into the leadership at this university—a leadership of people who are interested in the students and not enrollment numbers and dollars.
The facilities at Dordt are not to be forgotten. Dordt has an incredible science building full of equipment to allow for hands-on learning such as the greenhouse, telescopes, labs and a building shop. The nursing department has simulated nursing rooms in which they can practice and get immediate feedback. Dordt has a digital media lab equipped with an editing software used by Hollywood filmmakers. Dordt has farms for agriculture students to raise livestock and grow crops. Not one of these things is cheap. But Dordt has the facilities to train students well for whatever their calling or vocation is.
I have only been here a semester, and this only scratches the surface of why Dordt is worth my money. I can only imagine how many more benefits I will learn about in the next three and a half years. Do I wish it didn’t cost so much? Absolutely. Do I think Dordt is worth $45,590 per year? Absolutely. But what I get from Dordt University is well worth what I put in. It’s an investment into my future. If you don’t think so, then why are you here?