What is most important to me, in finding a place where I will fit, is the people I am around. I have found that what is most influential in my own life is the relationships I form with others. I want to be in a community that will help me develop the characteristics I admire (passion, creativity, perseverance, drive) in myself.
Because relationships and people have such an influence over me, it is important to me to not only attend a college that attracts students and teachers with qualities I admire, but to form friendships when at college with people who I truly respect and who will encourage me to grow in the areas I desire.
I want to attend a college where education and academics are the focus, where people love learning for the sake of learning, where there are musical choices and pathways to creativity, and where the location is in the proximity of a city or town full of opportunities outside of college.
This is important to me because I want to experience everything a city has to offer that a college itself may not: outside internships, professional speakers and more activities to do for fun. I do not want to attend a school where people are focused on parties, skipping class or for reasons other than to learn.
Finding my fit
In the entire college search process, something has to be given up. Every time I visit a school, I see how beautiful it is and what a great community it fosters. There are hundreds of excellent schools in this country, and students who work hard in high school are blessed to have their pick of them.
There are certain aspects about schools I have visited that I really admire, like a school’s library or student center or study abroad program. In the end, though, I believe that there is a school I am meant to be at, and this school will match up with more of my criteria than any other school and will provide me opportunities beyond that which I am currently imagining.
My top choice school is more than a day’s drive away from my hometown and, though my family is supportive, I know that I will give up chances to come home on weekends and see them as often as I would see them if I attend a closer school during college. This is something I am aware of and have considered when thinking about the school I like.
I still have several months to make a decision, but I will be weighing the cost of seeing my family less with the benefit of attending a school that has so many programs and opportunities that I value.
I will figure out where I want to go, ultimately, by considering the options and costs; imagining myself attending classes, studying and living at the different colleges; listening to my family’s and friends’ opinions; visiting different colleges; talking with students and teachers from these colleges; seeing how their classes are run; and trusting my own instincts.
Deciding where to go to college, a friend recently told me, is the first truly adult decision one makes in life. I want to make the right decision, which will be a decision with which I am happy.
I will be happy growing, learning and creating because that is what makes me happy now. The college I eventually choose will be a reflection of who I am and what my ideals and goals are.