Sept. 19-25, 2022, is Independent Colleges and Universities Week in Michigan. We asked Kylar Gibbs, an AdviseMI college adviser serving at Advanced Technology Academy, to reflect on her experiences at Baker College, one of the 26 not-for-profit independent institutions represented by Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities.

My experience at Baker College was nothing short of amazing. I earned an associate degree in criminal justice in 2019 and continued on to get my bachelor’s degree in 2021. What helped me initially decide on attending Baker College, compared to other colleges and universities, were the promises of small class sizes, professors who are actively employed in their fields, the flexibility of in-person and online courses, and free tutoring services. I am happy to report that the enrollment advisor did not sell me on false expectations.

My class sizes were small, which helped students connect with professors during class with each other outside of class for study groups. Each of my professors in the criminal justice program was employed in the field, which helped me gain insight and first-hand information about the field and certain sectors in the field, rather than relying solely on information in the textbook. I was able to schedule and receive tutoring any day during the week with fellow students who were very helpful.

Additionally, while working as a work-study in the Campus Safety office, the director of Campus Safety introduced me to a prominent person in my field, which helped me get an internship in the criminal justice department I was interested in. Additionally, all of the campus safety officers had over twenty-years in law enforcement. Knowing about their depth of experience was comforting, especially when my fellow classmates and I had night classes and had to walk to our vehicles when it was dark outside.

Baker is one of Michigan’s smaller colleges, and sometimes people believe smaller colleges come with fewer opportunities than the larger universities. In my experience, that simply is not true when it comes to Baker College. I know I received a quality education and feel well prepared to work in my field. I do believe that had I attended a larger university, I would not have made the same educational and social connections as I did at Baker.

The tuition at Baker did not have outrageous increases, and there is a plethora of scholarship and grant opportunities for students. Overall, I would say that attending Baker College was one of the best decisions of my life, and I am glad I pursued my postsecondary education there. I encourage anyone seeking a postsecondary education to give Baker College a try — you might find that a small school is the perfect fit for you.