From an Augie mom: 5 reasons my daughter chose Augustana

rachel gustafson
Rachel Z. Gustafson
September 21, 2022

Over the last 30 years working in Admissions, I have sat across the table from a lot of parents. I’ve often wondered how it would really feel to be in their position, getting ready to launch your 18-year-old out into the world. Well, it’s exciting and scary and unbelievable, and all those things I thought it would be, and more. Helping my senior through her college search has filled me with so many emotions.

I was especially excited for my oldest, Grace, to visit schools, even during a pandemic, to see what would catch her attention, and what would turn her off.  It was fascinating to hear the questions she asked and discover what mattered to her. And it was humbling to see how much didn’t matter to her (hello, 99% of the mail received!).

In the end, I was honored, excited, and grateful Grace chose to attend Augustana. After all, it is my alma mater and where I proudly work. That being said, it takes a special kid to agree to be at college with her mom, but Augustana is that special place.

Grace’s decision came down to these five factors.

1. Faculty connection

From her first visit with faculty in the communication sciences and disorders program, she started to think about Augustana differently. The faculty were impressive, they were personable, they were experts in their field and they care deeply about their department and their students. This was evident in every interaction we had with them over the course of almost two years. Grace is excited to learn from them.

2. Coach connection

Playing college volleyball was Grace’s goal since she started playing in grade school. Coach Bethke connected with her early on, made her feel welcome, and helped her see how her dream could come true. Coach Bethke runs a high-caliber program with a group of hard-working student-athletes dedicated to success on and off the court, who also respect each other and their differences. Her program stresses balance with athletic achievement, strong academics, and being on a supportive team. It was exactly what Grace was looking for.

3. Campus beauty

This was important to Grace, and in our search we didn’t find any other campus that compared to the beauty of Augustana. From the natural beauty of the slough path to the architectural beauty of the buildings, we really found nothing like it.

4. Augie advice

I've been telling her about Augustana’s strengths for years. But we know that doesn’t carry all the weight. Every time Grace mentioned Augustana as a possible choice to anybody, teachers, coaches, other colleges, she was always met with positive reviews and affirmations. And it happened a lot. It was impressive. And it was meaningful to a kid who cares what people think and wants a degree that will open doors and be recognized.

5. Seeing the world

Grace is a curious adventurer and she knows she will have opportunities to explore the world through Augustana. She wants a place that not only supports study abroad but encourages and incorporates it widely. She has big dreams and knows she will be encouraged to dream even bigger over the next four years. She has already been invited to play volleyball in Costa Rica as a first-year student and she cannot wait. And with Augie Choice, it was a no-brainer.

Now I get to have a front seat to all the adventures to come. I am so grateful that Grace has found her perfect fit in Augustana. I can’t wait to see how she grows, the connections she makes, and the adventures she will be part of! We are so proud of her and her choice to invest in Augustana. I hope this helped you in making the final decision or even if you're just getting started! If you're still on the fence, I urge you to come visit us and take a look around campus, meet a professor and talk to current Augie students.

rachel gustafson
Rachel Z. Gustafson
Senior Associate Director of Admissions