When Katelyn, Cole and Case Trevino join their older sister, Kwyn, at Central Michigan University this fall, more immediate family members will live in Mount Pleasant than in their two-story rural home in Bath, just north of Lansing.
The triplets have loved and endured a lot of time together in 18 years, so they hadn't really planned to stick together in college. But as co-valedictorians of their Bath Bees 2017 graduating class, some pretty attractive scholarships came their way.
"There was a lot of discussion," mom, Jill Trevino, said.
Case and Cole were weighing CMU against Saginaw Valley State University. Katelyn had applied to three schools; but when she earned CMU's most coveted Centralis Scholar Award covering her entire tuition, room and board for four years — worth about $93,000 — her choice was clear.
"I knew with so many of us being in college, that scholarship would help," she said. "And CMU has the program I'm interested in: pre-physician assistant. A lot of other colleges I looked at in Michigan didn't have that."
Gradually, her brothers decided to wear maroon and gold, too.
"The campus really got me," Cole said. "I also liked how all of us would be close together."
Adding to the mix: The boys each earned academic excellence scholarships from Central.
Finding the right fit
Cole is considering criminal justice – which Kwyn, a junior, is studying. Case is leaning toward the health and human services field. All three said they appreciate what Central offers, both academically and socially. They gleaned much from Kwyn, who also was valedictorian of her class in Bath.
"My siblings have seen a lot of CMU and know a lot of my experiences," she said. "They've helped me move in and out every year; they know what to expect when this fall rolls around."
Kwyn also is a multicultural advisor at Saxe Hall.
"I'm most excited to show my siblings the immense opportunities that are here — a lot I didn't know existed when I was a freshman."
Their dad, Rick, said Kwyn's time on campus has made an impression on the triplets.
"So many doors have been opened by her and for her," he said. "Kwyn's really just taken off, doing things I don't think she would have done at a place like MSU or U of M. She would have been overwhelmed by the size there."
The appeal of CMU's size came up time and again as they talked about their picks. Bath is a town of about 12,000; the 2017 graduating class at Bath High School has just 72 students.
"CMU feels like it's big enough that I can get the whole college experience, but not so big that I'll get lost or feel like I will be one of thousands," Katelyn said.
Their mom said visiting Kwyn is always a social adventure — much like living in a small community.
"It's so much fun walking through campus, hearing everyone say, 'Hi, Kwyn! Hi, Kwyn!'," Jill said. "It's small enough to know lots of people but big enough for opportunities."
"The size is so perfect," Case said. "You can do everything you want and don't have to feel overwhelmed or stressed about where to go or how to get there."
The trio will have a chance to get immersed in August as they take part in Leadership Safari. The program helps freshmen and transfer students learn how to be successful. It also encourages them to get involved so they can grow as leaders.
Forging their own paths
The Trevino triplets have barely been apart throughout their lives.
"They were in the same kindergarten class, then we split them up for first grade, and they've been together pretty much ever since," Jill said. "They really depend on each other."
College will let them do some things on their own, Case said.
"We'll get to do the things we each want to do — that's going to be a new thing for us."
He and Cole might room together; Katelyn likely will be in a separate residence hall. Through shy smiles, they were quick to say they were looking forward to getting away from home and, as Cole put it, "getting into our own situations."
"I know that Cole, Case, Katelyn and I will continue to stay in touch," Kwyn said, "but I really hope they can become their own people while at CMU. Even though it's incredible that they are triplet valedictorians, I want them to become more independent and discover themselves on an individual level.
"I truly can't wait for this fall."