SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Adrienne Pohl had two challenges to conquer to get to the college of her choice.
First, was just getting accepted to the University of St. Andrews: Only one in 12 applicants do.
Next came convincing her parents that moving to Scotland for college was a good idea.
“They were initially quite surprised,” the Shawnee High School senior said. “I am the last kid and they weren’t prepared for empty nest on this big of a scale. … Luckily they are just as happy to see me go after my dreams as I am.”
Pohl had a little help with the convincing from sister, Alexa, who is working on her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, a six-hour train ride from St. Andrews.
Pohl, the daughter of Dr. Ron Pohl and Jackie Bray, applied to six colleges in the United States and five in the United Kingdom. Her search and application process ended at St. Andrews, Scotland’s first university (founded in 1413) and the third oldest in the English-speaking world.
She’ll roam the same grounds as England’s Prince William and Kate Middleton did a few years ago. And she might just live in a student housing complex where she’ll be able to see the infamous bridge leading to the 18th hole of the Old Course of St. Andrews.
“It is just absolutely gorgeous,” she said. “When we visited and got there, I knew. Every doubt that I had just flew out of my mind. I knew it was the right place for me.”
Pohl will study English and art history at St. Andrews, but is keeping her options open when it comes to a career. An avid reader since a child, she became interested in writing in high school. Pohl is on Shawnee’s literary magazine staff and on the swim team. A member of the National Honor Society, she is fourth in her class.
After visiting England in the eighth-grade, Pohl began thinking about going to college abroad. Her interest stems from the reputation of schools in the United Kingdom being very specialized with students taking classes in their majors right away. The focus is also largely on academics.
“I feel like if I am making a $100,000 investment, I want to get the best education I can for myself, the best possible future,” she said. “If I am going to go to college for four years I want to spend it learning because I love to learn.”
Pohl plans to take advantage of being in Europe and “hop” her way around to other spots. She wants to visit Spain and possibly make a return trip to France. The idea of volunteering to train elephants in Thailand next summer is also intriguing.
While some still think she is a little crazy to pack up and leave the country for college, Pohl hopes she might set an example for others.
“I hope it influences other students to push their boundaries as much as I have,” she said. “And maybe they will think about going someplace further away or a bit more different than they would have initially.”