Milon will be the first Farther Foundation alumnus to attend Carleton College. He said he liked the “vibe” not to mention its strength in the sciences and an excellent financial aid package. Milon opted for Carleton over a strong group of schools he was accepted to that included Amherst, Grinnell and Oberlin.
Farther Foundation alumni have attended many highly selective colleges including University of Chicago, Williams, Brown, Vassar, Colgate and Pomona, but Milon’s choice has special resonance for Farther Foundation president and founder, David Weindling, himself a Carleton College graduate. “I was class of 1985, my wife, Sherry Nordstrom, was class of 1986, and my daughter Winona graduated in 2014” said Mr. Weindling, “so we are all excited for Milon and feel certain that he will have a great college experience.”
Farther Foundation helps students break free from the constraints of poverty and propels them toward their highest aspirations by providing opportunities for them to travel worldwide and interact with individuals who have diverse backgrounds and experiences. They participate in programs where they are immersed in new cultures, learn and develop skills, provide community service, cultivate leadership potential and attain personal growth.
In 2014, Milon was recommended to us by one of our outstanding partner organizations, LINKUnlimited, where he was just recognized as the “All-around Outstanding Scholar” for 2015. When we first met Milon, he was a 4.0 GPA student at a rigorous private high school that he attended with scholarship assistance from LINK. Though admittedly “shy”, Milon also described himself as “intellectual and slightly competitive”. His sponsors at LINK told us that he is “a very quiet young man, but when he speaks, his thoughts are intelligent, analytical and thought-provoking.”
A Farther Foundation grant enabled Milon to travel to Spain during the summer after his junior year of high school and participate on a program of language and cultural immersion. Milon told us that while on his program, one of his fellow students told him, “Stop being shy because what you have to say is important!” Milon took this to heart and using a new environment to his advantage began to challenge himself. He told us about an afternoon when he and a few of his new companions were at a café in a small Spanish town, interacting with each other and with the local population. He discovered that “in that moment I found that I was not caught up in my mind as I usually am. The experience felt very natural and not contrived or forced. Looking back, in that moment I was comfortable and confident with myself as a person, and my words and opinions felt like they had value.”
Now on the verge of beginning his Carleton experience, Milon credits his experience in Spain with greatly influencing his decision to pursue a liberal arts education. “Although I have my own interests, I still want to explore other topics that I’ve never considered before, much like the experience of traveling out of the country. One lesson I’ve applied to my life after traveling is to try new things.” Another thing he likes about Carleton specifically is, “because of Carleton’s trimester system I can take fewer classes for each trimester but end up exploring more educational topics and activities in the long run…It was the best fit for me.”
There are a lot of great colleges, but a great college experience comes from finding that school which is the best fit. Research shows that high achieving students from low-income, inner-city neighborhoods who are usually part of the first generation in their family to attend college often fail to find the best fit college. Good college counseling from an organization like LINK can help a student like Milon learn more about the college admissions process and about the variety of schools that are available near and far from home. But, it takes a bold step beyond the familiar, like a life-changing experience in Spain, to give a student like Milon the courage and confidence to find a small school in Minnesota with a reputation for academic rigor and decide that Carleton College is the best fit for him.
If you would like to learn more about Farther Foundation, our students and our mission, our 2015 Mid-year Report is now available online.
This month, Farther Foundation president and founder, David Weindling, has issued a fundraising challenge. All donations, up to a total of $2,500, made by June 30, 2015 will be matched. Donations can be made online at www.fartherfoundation.org.