BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— If she changes her mind about attending medical school, MaKayla
Boggs ’19 (Arlington Heights, Ill.) may have a future as an Illinois Wesleyan admissions
counselor recruiting international students.
That’s because Boggs helped convince fellow first-year classmate Linh Le ’19 to attend
IWU. A native of Hanoi, Vietnam, Le was debating between IWU and a school in the Northeast
this spring when she and Boggs began chatting online.
It’s perhaps ironic Boggs became such an evangelist for IWU. She didn’t plan to attend
IWU — or any Midwestern school, for that matter.
“Illinois weather is not my thing,” said the North Carolina native, who moved to the
Chicago suburbs in high school. “I was fairly convinced I would attend college in
another state (read: somewhere warmer), but once I came and stayed overnight at Illinois Wesleyan, I committed the very next day. [IWU] felt like it would provide so many amazing
opportunities that are unheard of in most colleges, and it just felt like an amazing,
With her decision made, Boggs began chatting with Le on Schools App, a private social
network for colleges and universities. Boggs felt the two would get along well as
roommates. The only problem: Le hadn’t yet made a decision. “I pushed her to choose
here because I knew we’d get along well,” said Boggs. “When I found out she lived
in Vietnam, I was fascinated. She sent me pictures of her graduation and where she
lived, and I sent her pictures, too. Compared to mine, her life seemed very similar
and very different all at the same time.”
Le decided IWU made sense for her, too, and throughout the summer, the two planned
their room in Munsell Hall. Still in admissions counselor mode, Boggs even offered
to pick up Le at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport and let her stay with the
Boggs family for a few days before orientation began for international students.
“I was worried that we weren’t experienced enough with each other’s culture, but everything
has been great so far,” said Boggs. “I guess the key to making it work is respect,
just like anyone else. And it was great to meet before, to talk about our room and
get it organized. I couldn’t ask for a better roommate!” Boggs also participated in
International Connections, a Pre-Orientation program created specifically for roommates of international students to help enhance
roommate relationships and enhance their chances for success.
Classes are keeping Boggs busy. A psychology major, Boggs can’t remember a time she wasn’t planning to attend medical school after
college. “I love being surrounded by people who share the same interests,” Boggs said
of her new classmates. “It’s great to meet people with all interests, but it’s rare
to meet someone just as fascinated and not grossed out by the human body as I am.”
Faculty typically engage committed students in research activities — one reason IWU
students gain admittance to medical schools at rates much higher than national averages.
The self-described small-town girl loves running into new friends every time she walks
across campus, validating her initial impression that IWU was a friendly, tight-knit
“I feel so supported by everyone around me here,” she said. “I already call IWU home,
and I’m so happy just being here.”