Comfort of home can be waiting just around corner

Comfort of home can be waiting just around corner

11/02/07For many students, college provides a way of spreading metaphorical wings and leaving the nest. It is a chance to get away from home and family for a while.

However, according to the Baker University Admissions Department, 29 Baker students have parents employed by the school this year.

Freshman Christina Cowart walks campus each day knowing there’s a possibility she might run into her dad, Rick Cowart, who is the senior associate director of admissions, but she said she doesn’t mind.

“It’s a familiar face on campus,” she said.

However, for a lot of students like her, having a parent at the university is a reason to choose a different school. She said she didn’t even consider Baker among her college options at first. It was only when she started looking into scholarships, the psychology department and the study abroad program that she became interested.

“I thought it wouldn’t be fun to go to school with my dad,” she said.

Rick said Baker wasn’t even on her horizon before she knew about the travel opportunities.

“She fell in love with the opportunity to travel overseas,” he said.

As an admissions director, Rick is often visiting high schools for weeks at a time, so he’s not always on campus.

“(Christina) can find me if she wants to, but we might go a week without seeing each other,” he said.

Christina does admit there are some benefits to having her dad on campus with her.

“It’s nice to be able to snag a $20 bill,” she said. “And it’s nice being able to go in and talk to your family if you’re having a bad day. A lot of people don’t have that in college.”

Rick said he also enjoys some parental benefits with his daughter’s decision to attend Baker.

“She’s at a really good university, and she’s in a safe environment,” he said.

Another Baker student with family ties is freshman Nic Papps.

“It’s nice having a family member here every day,” he said. “It’s someone to talk to.”

Nic’s mom is Assistant Director of Alumni Debbie Papps. She said she has a close relationship with a lot of the professors.

“I think that (Nic) worries about me talking with professors about him,” she said. “He knows that I will eventually find out something.”

Even with his mom on campus every day, Nic said he still has his independence.

“I don’t go home every weekend,” he said. “I only visit her once a day, and I’m still doing stuff on my own without her guiding me.”

Debbie said she believes her son is getting a good education at Baker.

“It’s going to help him in the long run, and in my position, I work with alumni so I see how well they are doing after attending Baker,” she said.

Director of Admissions Daniel McKinney said there is a monetary incentive for the dependents of university employees to attend Baker, but on top of that, he said many students choose Baker because of its excellence in education.

“Baker participates in a tuition exchange program,” McKinney said. “The dependents of Baker employees could go to any of the colleges in the exchange program, but a lot of them don’t.”

Though many dependents of Baker employees already know a lot about the university, McKinney said the admissions department treats them like other prospective students.

“In terms of the mechanics of our office, it’s identical,” he said. “We don’t treat them any differently.”