Hailey McLain knew she wanted to attend a small private college after high school. Growing up in Wautoma, Wisconsin, a town of about 2,200 people, she knew that large lecture halls with hundreds of students wouldn’t help her learn to her full potential.
But financial aid also was a large concern for her as she began her college search, and she feared – due to widespread myths – that a private college education was out of reach.
However, Hailey learned that her strong academic record in high school, lots of long hours working to save money, and financial aid, including the
Wisconsin Grant, would make it possible for her to attend Alverno College in Milwaukee and put a four-year degree in reach. Alverno’s ability-based curriculum and assessment-as-learning methods are part of a unique approach to higher education that requires each student to demonstrate the skills of her chosen field while perfecting the professional traits today’s employers are seeking. Alverno offers a close-knit community
with big-city access.
“I got chills when I stepped on campus. I knew this is where I wanted to be,” Hailey said. “I’m glad that I am able to make it work.”
As a sophomore, Hailey is excited to take more courses in her business major. At Alverno, business class sizes are typically 10-20 students, so students have the opportunity to work one-to-one with instructors and develop relationships that last long after graduation. Hailey is exploring the possibility of a career in human resources or adult education, which is her minor.
When she is not studying, Hailey is involved in four different clubs on campus, including the Gay Straight Alliance and Alverno Business Leaders Empowered or ABLE. She also worked with the director of counseling and health services on an outreach program to new students to help with the transition to college and any stress and anxiety all students may experience.
As a junior counselor in the Admissions Office, Hailey’s leadership skills have made her a valuable asset to the director of admissions, who has put Hailey in charge of organizing overnight visits for prospective students. Hailey also serves as a peer leader for incoming
students during orientation. When she graduates, Hailey will be the first one in her family to have a bachelor’s degree, and she hopes her example will be followed by her two younger siblings.
“I know I’m where I need to be and on the path that will prepare me for life after college. I hope to stay in the Milwaukee area. . . who knows where the future will take me,” Hailey said.