Why I Chose Rollins

March 10, 2021

By Audrey St. Clair ’03

A group of students from the Class of 2025.

From hands-on experiences to our emphasis on global learning, discover why 11 incoming first-year students chose Rollins.

From our personalized learning environment to endless opportunities for hands-on experiences, there are dozens of reasons to pick Rollins. Maria Atanassov Tomas ’25 chose Rollins for the rigorous academics and because it felt like home the minute she stepped foot on campus. Myles Kitchin ’25 picked Rollins for the close-knit relationships with both students and professors. Makayle Kellison ’25 decided to become a Tar because of our emphasis on global learning and the opportunity to study abroad. Learn more about why Maria, Myles, Makayle, and more incoming Class of 2025 students chose Rollins.

Mary Morgan Howell ’25

Mary Morgan Howell ’25

Hometown: Dothan, Alabama

Why Rollins? “First of all, the Rollins campus is absolutely breathtaking. Waking up every day to the warm weather, the beautiful shade trees that canopy the sidewalks, and the blue glistening water is something you just can’t beat. I’m a professional wakeboarder, so the fact that Rollins is located near numerous lakes is definitely a perk for me. Since I have been homeschooled through high school, an intimate learning environment where I can really get to know my peers and professors is super important.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “Being able to explore the campus and find my favorite spots sounds so fun to me. I’m also really looking forward to making many new friends from all over the world. Everyone always talks about the amazing Rollins food, so I’m definitely ready to try all of it! Speaking of food, I can’t wait to explore Park Avenue and try out all the restaurants and shops. And, of course, I’m already ready for Fox Day.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “I would love to be able to spend some time studying abroad and learn from the people I meet along the way. I hope to make many lifelong friends. I’m looking forward to finding out what I like to study and learning how to use it to benefit the world. I know my Rollins bucket list will only expand as my college years go by.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I realized that the campus was right on the water. Being by the water is one of my favorite things, and it calms me like nothing else. When I’m stressed or need a little piece of home, I can rest in knowing there’s water just a few steps away.”

Sydney Moy ’25

Sydney Moy ’25

Hometown: Deer Park, Ohio

Why Rollins? “Growing up in a small town, I felt like I had limited options for where I wanted to go to school. This past year, I got to expand beyond my comfort zone and travel to see Rollins. When I saw the campus, I was just blown away by the atmosphere and the layout of the campus. It gave me a cozy feeling similar to the one I have at home. I plan to study biology, and seeing the lake and surrounding area, I knew it would be a great place to study. I can't wait to be in the hands-on learning atmosphere and have the one-on-one learning that I've grown accustomed to. I'm sure Rollins will become my second home.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “I’m really excited to meet everyone on campus. From my tour guide to senior students to alumni I've talked to, I can tell everyone only has good things to say about Rollins and that there’s a lot to try. I really want to do something on the lake and participate in the cultural aspects at Rollins. I also can't wait to try all the different foods in Winter Park and the awesome options we have on campus. I’m also excited to participate in extracurriculars, and I know I’ll find a great fit.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “I want to create relationships that will last past graduation. I want to do a research project that will further my understanding of biology and life. I also hope to find more of myself that I didn’t know existed.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I got into my car after the campus tour.”

Myles Kitchin ’25

Myles Kitchin ’25

Hometown: Clermont, Florida

Why Rollins? “Rollins has an awesome community with caring people and great professors. The students at Rollins were some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and the professors were both kind and intelligent—they even gave me some advice about how to prepare for college. The community is so great that there is a club for most anything I could think of. Oh, and the fact that Mister Rogers was part of the Rollins community shows in the attitude and kindness of every person from Rollins I’ve met.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “Honestly I can’t wait to make friends with like-minded people and celebrate Fox Day together—maybe go to the beach or to Disney World.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “I want to figure out what I truly want to do with my life. I want to explore different careers—whether that be in theater, anthropology, political science, or something I haven't even tried yet. I’m sure Rollins will be the place to help me figure out what I want to do with my life.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I took my first steps into the Annie Russell Theatre and saw my first Rollins show. It was awe-inspiring and truly something special.”

Abigail Bosarge ’25

Abigail Bosarge ’25

Hometown: Pass Christian, Mississippi

Why Rollins? “When I first stepped onto Rollins’ beautiful campus, I immediately knew it was the college for me not only because of the beautiful campus, but also because of the endless learning and social opportunities. Here, I can get a world-class liberal arts education with strong career and volunteer connections in the real world without sacrificing things like social activities, clubs, and enjoying the great outdoors that remind me of home.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “I’m most excited to attend classes for the first time in a college setting and to learn from Rollins’ top educators about the world we live in and how to make a difference in it. And although I know Rollins’ engaging learning environment will make me never want to miss class, I’m also excited to experience Fox Day with all my fellow Tars.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “Before I graduate, I plan on studying abroad and learning about new cultures, landing an internship to experience a work environment, and volunteering in our awesome community.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I saw what a tight-knit and active community they have.”

Janelle McWilliams ’25

Janelle McWilliams ’25

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Why Rollins? “I was born in Chicago but raised in Florida. When I was applying for universities, I was stuck—I couldn't imagine myself anywhere. However, that all changed when I took a tour of Rollins. I genuinely saw myself attending this school, and that feeling was amazing. The architecture is beautiful, and I love the diversity at Rollins. This will be my home.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “I've always wanted to further my education ever since I was little. And I really hope to make new friends and break out of my shell— that’s what I’m looking forward the most this fall.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “I hope to try new things, see new places, and try new foods. I want to expand my knowledge by experiencing different cultures, and I know that’s something I can do at Rollins.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I finally felt a sense of worth somewhere. I can see that this place will bring out the best in me and my future self. At the end of the day, I want to say, ‘This is the college I went to,’ with a smile plastered on my face.”

Yanelle Hernandez ’25

Yanelle Hernandez ’25

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Why Rollins? “I fell in love with Rollins during my initial visit. Everywhere you look there’s lush greenery, beautiful Spanish-style architecture, and lots of smiles. Here I am, touring this campus for the first time, and people would just walk by, smile and say hello. I felt so at home. I also love the small class sizes. I love knowing that I’ll be able to form actual relationships with my professors and fellow students. I’m so excited and can’t wait to embark on this journey.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “As a social butterfly, I love meeting new people, so becoming friends and creating bonds with other students at Rollins is definitely something I’m looking forward to. Move-in day is also another experience I’m super excited for because I get to decorate my dorm and meet my roommate for the first time. I’m looking forward to learning about all the different clubs and activities that are offered at Rollins and can’t wait to experience my first Fox Day!”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “My goal is to learn and shine wherever I go and no matter what activities I take part in. I would love to study abroad in Japan (I’m actually currently learning Japanese!). I have a strong desire to learn more about the culture I’ve loved and felt passionate about since I was 5 years old. Another goal is to partake in many of the activities such as joining a club or student organization. I want to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn lots of new things, and Rollins will give me the perfect opportunity to do so.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I first stepped foot on campus and felt like I was home.”

Maria Atanassov Tomas ’25

Maria Atanassov Tomas ’25

Hometown: Madrid, Spain

Why Rollins? “I was looking for a college with strong academics and for a place where I could keep playing basketball while studying business, and I found all these things at Rollins. Besides this, I come from a country known for its outgoing and extroverted people, so for me, it was very important to find a college with that same atmosphere, where I would feel at home. And the first time I saw the campus, I was amazed by how beautiful it was. I can't wait to arrive at Rollins!”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “I've committed to the Rollins basketball team, so I’m excited to meet my teammates and the coaches. Also, I want to get involved in campus life and meet new people.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “I want to graduate from the 3/2 Accelerated Management Program, and I’m interested in learning more about international relations. I want to get to know people from all over the world.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I learned more about the philosophy of the school and the amazing people who work there. I know Rollins is the place where I can be truly happy.”

Cas Phillips ’25

Cas Phillips ’25

Hometown: Danville, Kentucky

Why Rollins? “I chose Rollins because it’s in such a great location and has a beautiful campus. It also seems to have a family-like atmosphere and feels like home.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “Coming from a small town, I’m most looking forward to experiencing Winter Park and the Orlando area and getting a feel for the location.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “Before I graduate from Rollins, I really would like to experience studying abroad. I think it would be an awesome experience to travel with my friends to somewhere we have never seen before with cool new cultures.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I walked through the entrance to campus. After touring several other campuses, nothing compared to Rollins.”

Reagan Cooney ’25

Reagan Cooney ’25

Hometown: Lake Mary, Florida

Why Rollins? “Rollins stands out to me because of its personal classes. I was so shocked to hear of a college campus where you do not just attend classes in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. I look forward to studying in an environment where I know my teachers and administrators care about my success.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “I am mostly looking forward to my first set of classes and getting my feet wet in my college career. I can't wait to start my classes, dig deeper into my passion for political science, and make friends along the way.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “A top must on my list is to participate in some sort of study abroad or field study experience. Both of my sisters attended Rollins, and their best memories are from when they immersed themselves in new cultures. I think traveling is one of the best ways to expand your horizons and look at life from new perspectives.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I walked around campus and felt the energy of the school.”

Makayle Kellison ’25

Makayle Kellison ’25

  • Hometown: Santa Rosa, California
  • Living in: Amman, Jordan

Why Rollins? “As someone who attended high school outside the United States, one of the main reasons I chose Rollins was because of their focus on international awareness and engagement. From the diverse student population to the extensive study abroad programs, I know that the education I receive at Rollins will be well-rounded and help me be successful in the future no matter where I live. In addition to the international learning programs, I chose Rollins because of the beautiful campus and the close relationships I built with some of the students and staff. They were extremely welcoming and made me confident that Rollins is the place I want to spend the next four years.”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “I am committed to swim at Rollins, so I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone on the swim team. I can’t wait to practice with my new teammates and hopefully be able to experience competing at the collegiate level. I am also super excited to explore Winter Park and all of the incredible activities in the surrounding area.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “One of the things at the top of my Rollins bucket list is studying abroad. I hope to participate in either a semester or summer program so I can apply what I learn in the classroom to real-world, unique situations. As an avid traveler, I don't really have a preference about where I go, but I hope to be able to explore a new country, meet new people, and have memorable experiences.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I was able to experience the inclusive and diverse environment through online events and Zoom calls. Even though I wasn’t able to visit campus in person, I got to take advantage of the extensive virtual visit options, which helped me decide that I wanted to spend the next four years at a beautiful place like Rollins.”

Hollie Tweedie ’25

Hollie Tweedie ’25

Hometown: Carlisle, England

Why Rollins? “From the moment I set foot on campus, I knew there was something special about Rollins. Everyone we passed said a cheery ‘hello,’ and a few stopped to ask if we needed directions or any help. It just felt friendly from the get-go. I was also very impressed with the architecture, shaded walkways, and numerous open spaces where I could immediately imagine myself studying and living. The other most striking and appealing thing about Rollins is that it’s small. I come from a rural town in northern England of only 200 people, so the small campus and intimate class sizes at Rollins will be just right for this small-town girl. I can’t wait!”

What about your #RollinsLife are you most looking forward to? “Coming from England, I must confess that I’m looking forward to 365 days of sunshine! But on a more serious note, I’m excited to meet like-minded people with a passion for the environment and an open mind about how my generation can help make the changes needed to save us from environmental disaster and ecological collapse. I’ve been passionate about these subjects for many years, and I know Rollins is where I’ll learn the skills needed to become a great environmentalist and thought leader.”

What’s on your Rollins bucket list? “I’d like to learn as much from non-academic activities as I do in class. I’m excited to make new friends and join groups with active members and meaningful causes. I’m also really excited about the study abroad program. I’d love to spend some time in New Zealand working with large marine mammals and am excited to find out how Rollins can help me achieve that.”

I knew Rollins was right for me when … “I first walked through campus, with the sun on my face and a dream in my heart.”

Rollins College students enjoying lunch by the Lakeside pool.

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