I’ve been accepted to a few colleges. Now what?

[SXO: Introduction]

Student X Opinion is a series of opinion blog posts written by a high school student detailing the academic journey and college application process.




Choosing the right college for you may be a daunting process as you are taking an important step toward your future. As a current high school senior who has received a few potentially great options, I’ve been through the process of narrowing down my choices. Here is how I ultimately chose the college I will be attending, and hopefully it can provide you with some tips to help you get a better sense of which college may be the best fit for your decision.


Of the colleges I was admitted to, I am considering the following:

  • Carnegie Mellon University

  • Claremont McKenna College

  • Cornell University

  • Georgetown University

  • University of Southern California

  • UC Berkeley

  • UCLA


Interests:

  1. Innovation/Entrepreneurship

  2. Design and Technology

  3. Global Studies


While I am extremely humbled and grateful to have wonderful options available to me, unfortunately, I ultimately have to choose only one institution to attend. Here are the following factors I’ve considered while making my decision:





Academics

As a student interested in studying business and computer science, I want to attend a school that specializes in those fields. While many of the schools I have listed above have business schools, some may be better choices than others. For instance, while UCLA has a business economics major, it is extremely accounting-focused and is a option that is a direct feeder into financial or accounting firms. UCLA’s Anderson School of Business is for graduate students only, and its computer science major is restricted in its College of Engineering, limiting my options. Claremont McKenna is finance-heavy but could be a potential choice as I was admitted into an Economics & Engineering dual-degree program. Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business has many opportunities involving global and international business, which is definitely an intriguing factor.






Social Culture

I prefer a relatively large university with more diverse social culture that is simultaneously rigorous in its academics. Recreational sports, students organizations, and clubs are something I want to be involved in, and many schools—UCs and USC in particular—would be a wonderful match in that aspect. All the schools in consideration however, have strong student organizations that build off of social culture and career-related/professional development opportunities.





Location

To be closer to home, or not closer to home—that is the question. I personally have a great relationship with my family and would not mind staying closer to home (sunny California!). Location is also important in terms of landing jobs and internships. Georgetown is in Washington D.C., so there may be more opportunities there relating to government work. UCLA and USC are in Los Angeles, so opportunities in the film and entertainment industry would be readily available. Berkeley is located near San Francisco and the Silicon Valley—the heart of the tech industry—, which may be a great option for potential resources beyond the classroom environment. On the other hand, while Cornell has a beautiful campus, I personally feel that I would not enjoy the isolated surroundings.





Financials/Cost

In terms of cost, any school in the UC system would be an ideal option as I am an in-state resident. The cost of tuition for a UC school would be less or equal to half the amount of any other private institution option. While I did receive generous amounts of merit scholarships from a few private institutions, I also received honors and/or scholarships to all UC campuses except for San Diego, which would still make UC schools a better financial option.




In the end, these are the factors that I have personally considered important to making my college choice. While you may value one factor over the other, it’s important to understand that one student’s values and choice may not be the right fit for others. Hopefully this provided you will more information and better insight into helping you go through the process of making the right college choice.



I would also recommend the following:

  • Talk to current students/alumni. Sometimes online research on a college isn’t sufficient to figure out if a school may be a great fit for you. So personally reach out to a few students who have attended or are attending the institution and have them answer any questions you may have.

  • Visit the college! Many colleges have on-campus visitations/open house sessions. Many students also choose their colleges based on the “vibe” factor, so it’s important to figure out which school you feel most comfortable with, and if you could consider that school as your home for the next four years.


In our next SXO article, we will be discussing in detail the college visitation journey and how that factors into admissions.




- Student X


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