Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College
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Location, Stephens programs part of college decision, student-athletes agree

August 5, 2015

Alexis Alexander of Sparta, Mo., always assumed she’d attend the state’s flagship public university in Columbia.

Then she discovered Stephens.

“I found Stephens at a college fair and fell in love with it,” she said. “I’m happy because it’s a small campus, but still in Columbia, which seems like a fun city.”

Not only is it fun, the city also ranks No. 3 on’s “Top 10 Best College Towns” thanks to educational choices such as Stephens and the University of Missouri. The rankings, out today, looked at places that thrive academically, socially and culturally.

Alexander and the other student-athletes who moved in today are looking to thrive athletically, as well. Alexander will be playing volleyball for the Stars this fall when she’s not studying fashion marketing and management.

She and teammate Shelby Johnson, of Nixa, were already friends before both deciding to come to Stephens, although Johnson has a different story of how she came to be a Star.

“Stephens found me, remarkably,” she said. “I wasn’t sure about it and had changed directions, but my family asked me to check it out. They were sold on Stephens from the start.”
Johnson said she was on board after learning more about the fashion communications program, speaking with faculty and meeting with financial aid counselors.

“Everything fell into place,” she said.

Amber Steinwachs, of Blue Springs, was researching equestrian programs when she found Stephens, although she ultimately decided to pursue an elementary education degree. Asked what she’s looking forward to as a college student, Steinwachs didn’t hesitate. “Freedom,” she said.

Alexis Dieckmann, of Cole Camp, is a biology pre-med student who will also be on the volleyball team. Stephens was her first and only college visit.

“I love how friendly and small it is, and campus is gorgeous,” she said. “I’m ready for a totally different experience. I’m ready to see the world.”

Columbia is a good place to start, according to the Livability rankings.

“For most college-bound kids, this is really the first time they are choosing where they get to live,” said editor Matt Carmichael. “It shouldn’t be the only consideration when selecting a college, but it should be factored in.”

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