We asked Connor Mighell, a freshman at Baylor University and a graduate of The Cambridge School of Dallas, if he would give us a student’s perspective on the value of his experiences and the education he received attending a Classical Christian private school in the Dallas area. (Connor’s writings have been featured in The Dallas Morning News in “Student Voices.”)
My college search process started earlier than that of most of my friends. As early as my freshman year of high school, I began talking with representatives and visiting various college fairs. By my sophomore year, I had a list of schools I wanted to visit. It was extensive, but by then, I had a set of criteria that I wanted to find at these colleges. At the top of the list was academic rigor. I chose to attend a classical college prep school called Cambridge School of Dallas for my high school education because I knew that I wanted to be intellectually challenged, to stretch my mind to its limits. My high school experience did just that, intellectually shaping me and preparing me for the difficult college environment. For example, at Cambridge, all students follow a single-track AP and Honors-based curriculum, which includes the notoriously difficult AP Modern European History course. Unlike most schools, which offer this AP class as a senior level course, Cambridge requires its students to take it during sophomore year. By demanding a high degree of excellence and persistence to achieve success, Cambridge’s tough schedule forced me to learn how to manage my time well and focus on the task at hand, a skill which I have found immensely helpful at college.
The desire for intellectual challenge which led me to Cambridge was also central to my college search efforts. I was already looking past college, into my future, and I wanted to eventually pursue a law degree. My desire was to help others by using my specific gifts and talents, and a job in the legal field would allow me to use my skills in communication and critical thinking to advance this goal. At the same time, however, I knew from personal experience that focusing only on work was a recipe for stress and sleepless nights. I needed to find a community of students who not only worked hard, thus pushing me to challenge myself, but who also had the passion to pursue other fields outside of their majors. I had experienced this before at Cambridge, which offered me the chance to take an elective in Philosophy. Without this opportunity, I would not have realized my love for this discipline.
Specifically, these desires were what lead me to attend Baylor University and to become involved in their University Scholars program. This course of study will give me the ability to gain a wide range of knowledge by designing my own course schedule and forming a reading list filled with the works of great thinkers. I will have the opportunity to bolster my pre-law studies with a curriculum rich in philosophy, history, and communication studies while having the flexibility to satisfy my intellectual curiosity at the same time. Since I have been immersed in the classical method of learning throughout my entire school career, I feel that I am well prepared to take the logical next step and enter a school or program that is committed to further enriching my knowledge. Going above and beyond Baylor’s usual core course requirements, I have the ability to form a plan of study that will specifically aid me in developing the skills necessary to succeed in the next chapter of my educational career. The University Scholars requirement of completion of the Great Texts course sequence impressed me from the start. Every member of the University Scholars program must complete three semesters of Great Texts, a seminar style class in which students read books like Plato’s Republic and Dante’s Divine Comedy and discuss them as a group. This demonstrates the school’s desire to give all its students a solid intellectual foundation consisting of the great minds of the past. Also, taking classes in other disciplines that interest me will enable me to become well-versed in a variety of subjects. I have already had the opportunity to take a class in economics, as my high school did not offer any, to allow me to get a glimpse of the ways in which so much of our modern world depends on business and financial growth. Finally, Baylor’s unique mission to integrate faith with learning and reason will give me the opportunity to explore, discuss, and ponder many “big questions” that I would not get the chance to consider at other universities.
As I compared Baylor’s University Scholars program to many other universities throughout my college search, I realized that this course of study is like no other. A chance to learn in the environment of the University Scholars program over the course of my undergraduate career will feed my hunger for learning, strengthening and challenging my mind. In addition, it provides me with a solid education that will enable me to pursue the legal profession with confidence, moving me a big step closer to achieving my goal of serving others by using my gifts.
Read more of Connor’s writing in The Dallas Morning News. For more information about The Fundraising Resource Group’s relational fundraising services, visit our website at www.thefundraisingresource.com.