Hello! My name is Hannah and I’m an incoming freshman. As I am beginning to write this I am so excited and happy to share my story of coming to find my home at Gardner-Webb University. Going into the college selection process I had absolutely no idea what kind of school I was meant to be at. Am I meant to be at a big school? A small school? I did know I wanted to attend a private Christian school because I feel called into ministry in some capacity. So, I knew I wanted to find a place that had a great program along the lines of Biblical studies as well as an encouraging Christian community. And from experience, I must say not all schools that are labeled as Christian private schools have a really inviting and widespread Christian community that is tangible from the moment you step on campus, but Gardner-Webb definitely does.
My junior year of high school I toured four very different schools that are considered Christian private universities or colleges. I can attest that it truly is a hard time deciding on a college to attend. After these tours, I still had no idea I would end up falling in love with Gardner-Webb, but I had a special feeling about it. All of my visits went quite well and I would like to tell you I was instantly in love with Gardner-Webb, but let’s face it, it is always much more difficult than that. I left this time of touring schools probably more confused than when I went into it. That summer I kept going back and forth on which school I wanted to go to. So, I decided to go on a second tour of my top two options that summer. I must say what drew me to revisiting Gardner-Webb were the kind, loving, and caring people I had the pleasure of meeting and the feeling of home I got from the school.
Before this tour, I just prayed for Him to show me if this was where I was supposed to be, and He utterly has me in awe. They made me feel as if I was not just a number to them, which is the feeling I got from every other school. Everyone is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed. I knew this is where I am supposed to be.
In no particular order, here are the top reasons why I chose Gardner-Webb:
1. Whenever I have had questions for the staff of the school everyone has always gotten back to me very quickly, which is most definitely not the case everywhere. At some schools, it is hard to ever get a response. I have emailed other schools and haven’t received a reply to this day. I remember one time I emailed my admissions counselor somewhere around 7 p.m. expecting a reply sometime the next day, but I got a reply within an hour.
2. Every single person I have met on campus welcomes you with open arms and a caring heart. Both the student community and the staff are overall so loving.
3. The campus of Gardner-Webb is absolutely stunning. If you have only seen pictures it absolutely does not do it justice. From turning onto campus to that first view of the quad from the back of the admissions office.
4. I love the fact that it is a smaller school with an average class size of 13, so you can have an actual relationship with your professor.
5. Even though it is considered a small school the athletics are D1 and not everyone is into sports, but I love watching games. So, having this opportunity to take part in the spirit of a D1 school on a small campus is so fascinating. (If you are a prospective student that likes sporting events I would recommend making the trip to attend a game)
6. As I have said before there is just an absolutely amazing small tight-knit community that the love of Christ just radiates through.
7. If you talk to anyone who has attended Gardner-Webb they have nothing but good things to say about it, so that is just very reassuring.
8. It was also very important to me to not be horribly far away from home and it is only about an hour and a half drive from my hometown to campus.
On a day in September of 2017, I got my letter in the mail, and this was the day all other options were pushed out of my mind. Over the rest of senior year, I visited campus about five times for different events, and every single time I have fallen more and more in love with the community and mission of the school that just radiates throughout campus. I just can’t wait to start in the fall!
Hannah O’Brien. Freshman, Hickory, N.C., majoring in Accelerated Pastoral Ministries. Loves Jesus, coffee, and rainy days. Check out her blog: An Awestruck Daughter.