I Know I want in a College – But will My College want Me?

By Jelani Hayes on September 15, 2013
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Okay, college. That’s the goal. Actually, that’s more of a necessity.

I know that I want to go to college, and I’m pretty sure I want to become a journalist and/or lawyer, so that, of course, requires a college degree. But what college? And how will I get there? Those are my main dilemmas.

Quality is important

When I think about where I want to go to college three of my personal values come into play.

First and foremost is the quality of education. If accepted, I would love to attend almost any one of our nation’s most prestigious universities or top liberal arts colleges.

I love to learn for the sake of learning, but I also want to be in a competitive, entrepreneurial environment that will push me to apply my skills and knowledge to the real world.

I want to be amongst a group of my peers who will motivate me to work harder than I’ve ever worked and do more than I’ve ever done just to keep up with them. I want to be amongst people who share my intellectual vitality and passion for learning.

Second, I’m a California girl, so even though I am completely open to going to an out-of-state school, I would like to see some reflection of California in my new college town.

Diversity is important to me. I believe we can all learn from each other, so I would appreciate being at a college that gave me access to all sorts of people.

Ethnic, geographic, economic, sexual orientation, and religious diversity are all common place here in Southern California, and I would like to find that same type environment in college. I would also like to know that my peers are open-minded and that my political opinions will find company.

Lifestyle fit

Third, the lifestyle I will be living for at least four years is very important to me and of course, there will have to be some sacrifices made.

How does the campus look? Where and with whom will I be living? Will I be able to maintain my vegetarian diet easily? Will I be able to find internships in my area of interests? Is the campus located in a college town? How much will traveling home cost, how long will it take, and by what means will I have to travel?

I want to find the right fit. That seems to be the word college admissions officers like to stress.

However, I am confident that I will be able to happily adjust to my future school. I am not assuming I will love everything about the college, just like I don’t absolutely love everything about my high school. But I am sure that I will be happy with my choice, because after all, it will be my choice.

If simply picking a college were the only obstacle, the whole admissions process would be a breeze because there wouldn’t be one. Getting accepted into my dream school or a school that meets my tastes will be this semester’s challenge.

Applying to colleges is by no means quick or easy. I am worried that perhaps my application will not be competitive enough.

Senior year seems to be a bit late to try to add a lot to my list of achievements, but I can strive to improve my test scores, keep my grades up, and get more involved in things I am passionate about.

Hopefully, come April 1st I will know that my best was put out there and that by Fall 2011, I am exactly where I should to be.


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Jelani Hayes

Jelani Hayes

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