Last year I graduated from a high school where the academic atmosphere was extremely rigorous. My Senior year of high school, I took all AP courses and I probably slept, on average, about 4 hours a night. My life was full of studying, GPA calculating, and lots and lots of coffee. To me, this was normal because this is what all of the other “AP kids” did too. Starting Junior year, all anyone talked about was college, and I felt like I was lost because I wasn’t entirely sure where to even apply. I’m not saying this to complain, but I think setting the scene is important in letting you know how I ended up choosing where to go to college.
My Senior year, I applied to nine colleges of all varieties: Ivy Leagues, state schools and private schools. Like most people, I wasn’t entirely sure of where I would end up, but of course I was hoping to get in to all of the schools that I applied to and to receive incredible scholarships from them all so that I would be able to choose wherever I wanted to go. (Obviously life doesn’t work that way, but I ended up having an amazing selection).
As the year went on, I toured a large majority of the places that I had applied to. I never fell in love with any particular college on a tour, but I figured that was normal. One day, I felt like I needed a mental health day, or really just a small break from my AP lifestyle, so I decided to visit the closest college that I applied to, Southern Methodist University. I had no idea that I would fall in love with a college practically down the street from my house (more like 30-45 minutes away but, close enough).
Right when I stepped on campus, something just felt right. My mom and I weren’t sure where the building we needed to go to was, and a student came up to us and helped up with directions. In addition to the kind people, the campus itself was gorgeous. My tour guide was an outgoing business major with a genuine passion for the university. As the tour went on, I got to hear all about the typical things that are talked about during a tour: student-to-faculty ratio, dorms, and everything of that sort. Though all of these facts were amazing, and they were taken into account during my selection, they weren’t what sold me.
I knew SMU was right for me when I could seriously see myself on the campus. I know, it sounds absolutely cheesy, but it was the one college that I felt like fit me the best. I knew that I would be happy at SMU because the university had so many opportunities to give back to the community, to get involved, and to further professional development. I knew that this school would make me a better person because it has the same values as I do. I didn’t choose where to go to college based on Ivy League status, how many of my friends were going there, or if my parents told me that it was where they think that I should go.
To all of the seniors who have already chosen: I hope that your college makes you feel like you’re at home and that you are so happy with your decision.
To all of the seniors who have a little less than a month to choose: Which place makes you feel at home? Which college will make you a better person, but also accepts the person that you are today? Where are the kinds of people that you want to be friends with? Where can you accomplish your goals? Go there.