From Seminary to College: How I Found the Perfect Place . . . by Malka K
I grew up in a very small “out-of-town” community with one school, two shuls, and three restaurants. When thinking about college, I knew that I wanted to be in a frum environment but the only programs I was aware of were in New York or online. I was intimidated by New York’s magnitude, and after COVID, I realized how isolating online classes could be. When I heard about WITS (Women’s Institute of Torah Seminary & College – formerly Maalot Baltimore), I knew I had found the perfect place.
From the start, even before the school year began, I was guided by an incredible Academic Advisor, as well as by faculty and staff. They were there for me every step of the way; from my custom program plan to questions about CLEPs and how to register for classes. My own advisor’s care and concern went above and beyond, so much so, that she eventually became my shadchan!
My first day at WITS was exciting but also a bit nerve-wracking. I assumed that most of the girls would already know each other having grown up in Baltimore together, and I would have to find my own friends. I shouldn’t have worried though. Everyone was so friendly and inviting and I quickly made friends with fun-loving and growth-oriented girls. At the orientation dinner, Rebbetzin Rosenbaum announced that her door is always open and invited us to introduce ourselves to her during the first week. Some girls were hesitant, but I took the opportunity and forged a relationship with Rebbetzin Rosenbaum that I cherish until today.
The classes that I attended had a powerful impact on me. The courses were designed for my exact stage of life – just back from seminary, starting to date, figuring out my career, and preparing to embark into the wider world. Our teachers challenged us to think critically and built upon our year in seminary to help prepare us for “real life.” The Rabbanim and Mechanchos at WITS didn’t just teach and leave, they were available to meet with students one-on-one at various times throughout the week so we could ask shailos, get hadracha, or just talk. Throughout the year I kept thinking, “it’s amazing that I’m gaining so much spiritually and also getting my degree!”
My experience at WITS taught me the importance of a strong environment. Everything about the school was designed to help me succeed, as a mother, a frum woman, and of course in my chosen field of study. WITS offered a wide range of extracurricular and co-curricular activities to support a strong social life, as well as professional workshops and seminars such as “Women in the Workplace”, “Resume Writing” and “Interview Skills”. Programs like “Career Day” and “The Career Mentorship Program” were especially beneficial as they gave me the opportunity to connect with frum women in my field (many who were alumnae) and learn how they navigate their challenges and thrive. In a time of transition that is filled with uncertainty, WITS gave me a sense of stability and a strong footing as I made many important life decisions. I am forever grateful for the connections I made, both with peers and mentors who continue to be invaluable relationships until today.