GOSHEN -- If it weren't for a personality-matching college search website and an overjoyed foster parent, Piper Voge would probably be bartending on an island in Greece.
And for the match, the 22-year-old recent Goshen College graduate is grateful. Now working on starting her own business and preparing for graduate school, Voge said her unlikely stint at Goshen College helped her outgrow her insecurities and develop a passion for media studies.
"I kind of feel like I came to Goshen as this really insecure little kid, and I'm going to leave this confident woman," Voge said. "That's a really big difference."
Voge was homeschooled for her entire elementary and secondary education. She said she always wanted to attend college -- away from her hometown of Indianapolis but close enough that she could return when necessary -- but worried that her homeschool education didn't prepare her enough to get accepted. After she completed high school, she took the SATs and applied to one college -- Goshen.
Voge was connected to Goshen College through a website that told students what college would best fit their personalities. She said once she learned of the school, she felt its core values closely aligned with hers.
"I wanted some place that would push me to grow as an individual, and it looked like Goshen would be the place to do that," she said.
After applying, without much hope of getting in, Voge escaped on a solo backpacking trip through Europe. Voge said she was running away, and didn't see herself ever returning to the U.S. She almost accepted a job bartending on a Grecian island after traveling for three months.
But her plans changed when she called home from a train station in Spain. Her foster dad let her know she'd been accepted to Goshen College.
"He was just so proud of me, just sounded so proud," Voge said. "I was excited, but I was probably more excited that he sounded so excited."
Now that she has graduated, Voge will start a master's program at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis in the fall and is developing a new marketing and public relations business she started with a friend. She said she her ultimate goal is to be able to teach and conduct research on media studies.