WTAMU president speaks to juniors, seniors


Kylee Khan

WTAMU President Walter Wendler speaks to juniors and seniors about college and college readiness.

West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler spoke to the juniors and seniors during activity period Feb. 2.

Wendler spoke about students’ college applications, the benefits of WTAMU and what students should be doing now to prepare for college.

“Planning, and thinking about the future and what works for you individually, is absolutely what you need to do,” Wendler said. “It has to be driven by you, in the sense that you’re the master of your own fate in these kinds of things.”

Part of planning is applying for admission to universities early.

“If I was a student now,” Wendler said. “Knowing what I know about universities, the first day it was open for applications next fall is the day mine would be there.”

Wendler said students should also apply for college scholarships early.

Yesterday is the best day to apply for admission.

— Walter Wendler

“Yesterday is the best day to apply for admission,” Wendler said. “Yesterday is also the best day to apply for scholarships. You need to take responsibility of the opportunities that exist.”

Wendler said students should apply for every scholarship for which they qualify.

“If you say to yourself, I’m not sure I could get it, but I’m going to put my name in, then you’ve got two possibilities,” Wendler said. “The answer could be no, or the answer could be yes. I like to live in a ‘yes world’ myself.”

Wendler encouraged students not to borrow money to pay for college during their first two semesters.

“College debt is a choking experience for so many people,” Wendler said. “There are freshmen that enter college right now and are borrowing to go to college, and their parents are still paying off their student loans.”

It has to be driven by you, in the sense that you’re the master of your own fate in these kinds of things.

— Walter Wendler

Wendler said students who work on campus are shown to perform better academically than their peers.

“The old monastic idea of the university where you go and you set yourself apart from everything else, and just study–it doesn’t make sense anymore,” Wendler said. “I think a modest amount of work can be very beneficial to the experience of the university.”

In addition to working while at college, Wendler advised students to join clubs and organizations on campus.

“No matter how much of a rugged individual you are, when you’re connected to the organization you’re going to get more out of it,” Wendler said.

Wendler said Panhandle residents have a character which makes them appealing potential students for universities.

“The tenacious, hardworking attitude of the people of the Panhandle, their willingness to join something bigger than themselves, their commitment to doing a good job…these things don’t exist everywhere else,” Wendler said.

Wendler said WTAMU caters specifically to the Panhandle culture.

“Our goal, in actually all of our colleges, is to educate students in a way that’s sensitive to their roots in the Texas Panhandle,” Wendler said. “You won’t find more caring faculty, a better return on the investment.”