I have friends who have known where they wanted to go to college since they were freshmen. I, on the other hand, made my decision well into the second semester of senior year. I always thought I knew where I wanted to go, but then someone would talk about another college and I would become interested in that one. I didn’t want to do the research, I just wanted someone to say, “Hey, this is a good college. You should go here.” I learned, however, that I had to make that decision for myself.
When the second semester of senior year started, I was pretty committed to going to the college in my town. It was close and I knew people who went there, but somehow it didn’t feel right.
At my high school, seniors can take a few days off for college visits, so two of my friends and I decided to go to Louisiana College, a private liberal-arts school two hours away. I had heard of it but never given it much thought because it is fairly expensive. The students and staff there were very helpful, and the campus was quite impressive. After a few hours I knew this was the place I was meant to spend the next four years.
I filled out an application just to see what would happen, and a few weeks later I was accepted! I was so excited because I knew this was the right place for me. The cost was still a big issue, however. My parents and I went on a tour and then talked with a representative from the financial aid department. It turned out that I qualified for two scholarships and the woman recommended several others. As the cost became less and less of a problem, the idea of attending this college became more possible.
With my scholarships and a few student loans, I’ll actually attend the college of my choice. It took me three and a half years to figure out the right place for me, but in the end I guess it came at just the right time.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.