Choosing the Right Home for the Next Four Years

The reality and importance of finding a college that is right for you

Opinion of Joyce Lin

Now that the college application process is winding down, the time of the excruciating and anxious waiting to hear back has come.
Each day is comprised of refreshing my emails, and constantly looking over the green check-marks on the dashboard of Common App, feeling a sense of accomplishment and anticipation.

However, with the competitiveness nature of students and the pressures of attending a top school, my parents, along with other adults have asked me “why didn’t you apply to an Ivy League?” or “ do you regret not applying to one of those schools? It wouldn’t hurt to try, right?”
Absolutely not.
I agree that it would not be detrimental to try, but not every school is for every student. I know what I am capable of: I’m determined, smart, and hard-working.
That does not mean I can get in to and attend Harvard, Yale, or any of the prestigious and selective schools that only accept the 1 percent of applicants.
The Ivy League was formed around 1954, made up of elite schools who were known for their outstanding athletes. Over time, these eight colleges became known for their top academics, athletics, student life, faculty, alumni, opportunity, and much more.
For decades, high schoolers competed for the few spots that these top schools had to offer, most met with being deterred or rejected.
Of course, it is an honor and incredible accomplishment to be accepted into one of the Ivies.
But I think that now, there is more of an emphasis on attending your top school, one that you can call home for the next four years, and will contribute to your success in the world beyond.
Many of the supplemental essays for colleges ask “why do you want to go to this school,” or “why this school?”
This question really made me think exactly what I wanted out of the college experience. In one of my essays for Syracuse, this is what I say: “Looking 15 years ahead, I am starting to figure it out. I see myself being a journalist, running down the streets of a fast-paced city to capture a story. I am surrounded by people who I love, who continue to encourage me to meet my full potential. I am invested in the world and being an active member of my community. I am happy.”
Wherever you end up will not solely dictate how your future will turn out. College will only be what you make of it and the opportunities that you invest in.
Regardless of if you attend a big-name school, community college, take a gap year, whatever you choose, do it for yourself. Yes, listen to the advice of your parents, teachers, and friends, but in the end, the decision is up to you.
All in all, I want to say a congratulations to any of my fellow peers who have been accepted somewhere: your four years paid off and schools recognize the hard work that you’ve put in. For those who are still waiting, you got this. You’ve done your best and you’ll end up where you belong.

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