How Madison Loescher Learned ACT Scores Aren’t Everything

Interview by Maria Hicks, ’20 ΚΚΓ, West Wings Student Marketing Agency

Hometown: Kansas City, MO

High School: Park Hill South

Major/Minor: Transnational Studies and Religious Studies Majors/Theatrical Studies Minor

What led you to choose your majors and minor?

I came into college wanting to focus on transnational studies, because it was like no other major that’s offered at a lot of colleges. It combines a more holistic view of looking at politics and global development along with humanity, and I just really liked that. The religious studies major was something that I did not intend on finding, but I took one intro to Bible class and I fell in love with the topic. I liked the fact that when you start to study religion, it isn’t about ripping it apart, it’s about understanding how interpretations can dictate human thoughts and beliefs and how we view ourselves in the world. It tied in with understanding how politics and systems work, because if you can understand what’s influencing a culture through a religious context, then you are able to understand the systems better.

What are some fun facts about yourself?

I have five sisters. love theater and have been involved with it for a long time (I think it will be eight years now). I love to paint, and I love cows!

You suffered from a head injury in high school after a car accident. Can you describe how you ended up at Westminster?

In high school I was in a really bad car accident and I had a lot of brain damage. Because of this, I was told my freshman year of high school that graduating from high school was going to be hard enough and that I should not consider college. I did a lot of therapy and physical rehabilitation to be able to continue with school. You wouldn’t be able to notice, but it did affect my performance in school. It didn’t mean that my intellect was damaged, but the brain damage affected how I learned. I went from being someone that could effortlessly try in school to someone that had to figure out a whole new way to learn and to write again. By my senior year, I was fully rehabilitated and taking the ACT. I put together a huge binder of colleges that I wanted to attend, because it was my time to prove people wrong who had told me I shouldn’t consider college. The problem was my ACTs did not reflect what I was capable of doing.

I remember going to my first college fair with my dad. We went to all college booths of the places I wanted to attend, and each one told me I was not good enough to go to their school. At that point, I was heartbroken and just wanted to go home, but before my dad let me give up, we saw a little blue booth that happened to be Westminster’s. I remember being so upset and telling the lady at the booth my ACT score, expecting to hear the same thing I had at the other booths, but instead she asked me to tell her a little bit about myself. I told her about my love for politics and how I love investigating humanity and what makes us do what we do, along with how I really love school and learning. I told her how I was a heavily involved student, holding a lot of leadership positions throughout high school, and how I write and express myself very well. It was just testing that I couldn’t do well.

I don’t remember the name of the lady at the blue booth, and I have never seen her since then, but that day she gave me her name and contact information and said if you just apply, I’ll take care of the rest. She ended up setting up a personal interview process for me to get into Westminster. I was interviewed by the president and some members of the board along with some professors and department chairs. They allowed me to be a student at Westminster regardless of test scores and gave me scholarships, which was amazing. Once I stepped on Westminster’s campus, I knew it was the one for me! I wanted a small school anyway, but there was just something about me being treated like a human being and not being judged but celebrated. It was just too good to be true and too good to pass up. So now I’m here!

Please tell about your campus involvement.

I was the director of the Inter-Faith Advisory Board my freshman year. I’m a member of Student Ambassadors and Student Foundation. I have served many positions in my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and am currently the vice president of organizations. I am the Grand Marshal of the skulls of seven. I sit on the Diversity Counsel, I’m a freshman mentor and I served as Head Mentor last year. I was a Hancock Symposium assistant, and now I am the First-Year Student Experience assistant and Service Scholars.

What stands out to you about the Westminster experience?

I think there are two things that stick out to me the most and I think the first is the faculty-to-student relationships. When I went back home being a little freshman and being excited about college and talking to all of my high school friends about college, not one of them knew their professors’ names. This was surprising to me, because I was visiting a professor at least twice a week! I don’t take it for granted now, especially being a senior and having so many faculty that have become such important mentors in my life who know me, my story, my family, and also know the areas in which I struggle and the things that I dream about. They understand me as a person, and having that has not only impacted how I learn in the classroom. This also means that there has never been a moment where I felt stupid in a class for asking a question or going to a professor.

Also, Westminster offers more than meets the eye. The amount that a student wants to put into it is the amount that they are going to get out, and I don’t think that that is the case for a lot of colleges. Once they get involved in something at very low level and progress, then the sky’s the limit with what they want to do! If they want to create something, they can create something. If they want to discontinue something and rebuild, they can do that.

How has Westminster given you your purpose?

Westminster gave me my purpose by teaching me two very important skills: how to fail and how to think. I have learned how rebuild and redefine how I think about myself. Westminster has given me a purpose by showing me that I have something to give to the world. These two lessons have allowed me to feel passionate about whatever I want to feel passionate about. They have taught me that anything is possible.

What are your aspirations after college?

I know that I am passionate and inspired by being able to help connect people to themselves and others. There are many ways I can do this, but I still need to narrow down what field I want to go into. I am really drawn to conservation and environmental issues along with educating people about these. I think when people learn to connect with nature, they connect to themselves, and when someone is connected to themselves, they can connect to others in a new way. Right now, that is the general goal. Other than that, I know that my purpose after college will be to help make people think about themselves and others in ways that promote compassion and harmony and understanding and efficiency and joy.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.