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What Really Matters Through the College Decision Process

​​​​​I grew up in a town where the question was never, “Are you going to college?” but instead, “Where are you going to college”. With this you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you the first time I took the SAT – yes the real SAT – was in 6th grade.  I spent most of middle school obsessing over the Ivy Leagues, as I wanted nothing else but to be Rory from Gilmore Girls. However, in high school I learned that if you want to be a teacher it makes the most sense to go to college in the same state where you eventually want to teach.  So I traded my east coast Rory Gilmore dream for collegeboard.org​

Out of all the schools I applied to I was serious about three of them. DePaul was the only school out of my top three where housing wasn’t guaranteed to first year students, so we put down both the tuition and housing deposits early on just in case. It’s pretty obvious now that, to my parents liking, those three hundred nonrefundable dollars certainly did not go to waste! 

Even with the deposits down I didn’t end up making my official college decision until April of my senior year. One of my Student Council advisors, Mrs. Manheim, was the one who helped me make that final choice. We were in the car on the way to a district board meeting when she had me list the pros and cons of each university. I remember sitting there and telling her, “and DePaul’s version of student council is called Residence Hall Council​, RHC for short. They have a website and everything. I’ve already read their whole constitution. They elect three senators from each hall, and one day if I’m President I’ll get to spend the whole summer on campus just planning RHC stuff”. Continuing to drive she said, “I think you should go to DePaul, but it looks like you’ve already made up your mind”. It was there ladies and gentleman that deep down in my heart I found my answer. 

The sixth grade SAT studying me knew that academics were important, and the twelfth grade me knew that student activities ranked in at a close second. The best advice I can give anyone heading into the admissions process is that picking the right school involves more than just looking at the fast facts. Do your research about everything else the campus has to offer, and most importantly trust your gut. No matter what you’re never going to know what exactly the future has in store. After all, three and a half years from now you might be the one who just wrapped up their summer “planning for the next year of RHC."
 
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