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Choosing a College

Andriana talks about committing to a college!

Andriana talks about committing to a college!

Hi everyone!

I know that everything has felt stressful and uncertain right now, but one thing that has not changed is that college decisions still need to be made! While this can feel stressful, it is really exciting to have your hard work paid off by finishing the application process and deciding where you will spend this next chapter.

First off, CONGRATULATIONS to every senior—you all have worked extremely hard to get to this point! I remember how grueling this process was, and there were lots of ups and downs. Here are a few pieces of advice that I learned from my own experience:

1. Learn to love your options

This piece of advice was repeated to me many times, and looking back, I think it is one of the most important pieces of advice you could get right now. It can feel really disappointing to not get into your top choice for college; I certainly did not get accepted to every school that I applied to, but I had options that I was really excited about.

Choosing a college becomes a much happier and exciting experience when you are happy with your options. It’s okay to let yourself be sad or disappointed for a little while, but try to focus on being proud of yourself for all of your achievements!

2. Think about what you want to do

While choosing which college to attend, it can be really easy to focus on where other people want you to go. Maybe your family wants you to stay closer to home (which is definitely valid), or maybe you and your friends were hoping to go to the same school. I’m not suggesting that these things shouldn’t factor into your decision—college is often a family decision that involves important conversations about issues such as financial aid—BUT they should not be the only things that you consider.

When I was considering schools, it was hard to rule out my in-state options because they would allow me to be closer to home and my friends. Carleton was my top choice, though, and I was lucky that my family and friends supported my decision to attend. Ultimately, you are the one who will be attending this school, so be sure to take your own opinions into account.

3. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to ask for help

Picking a school can feel like a huge decision, and it can add a lot of pressure to daily life. This is not something that you should have to deal with on your own! If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, try to talk to someone about it—your parents, grandparents, friends, or really anyone you look up to.

Sometimes the people close to you can help you work through your thoughts and feelings, or might be able to share their own experiences going through the same thing. This shouldn’t be a decision that you have to make all on your own.

4. It is okay to not know

In April, all of the seniors at my high school were asking their friends about where they were going to college. While some people had known since December where they would be next fall, others were unsure until May 1st, when they had to submit their deposits. Personally, it took some time for me to make my decision; I loved Carleton, but there was a lot to consider, including financial aid and distance from home.

As long as you commit by the deadline, when you make your decision should not matter. Take the time that you need to weigh your options—this is a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be rushed. Just because your friends might know exactly what they’re doing next year doesn’t mean that you have to know, too. You’ll get there on your own time!

In the meantime, there are a few things that make this year different. Usually, I think visiting is a good thing to do before committing to a college, but of course that is not possible this year. Instead, try to reach out to the college or current students if you have questions or are having trouble making a decision—admissions offices and students will still be able to talk with you. The admissions bloggers have their emails attached to their bios, and here is mine: Feel free to reach out at any time!

Congratulations again, and good luck!


Andriana is a native of Richmond, VA, and is looking forward to starting her freshman year at Carleton. She is especially excited to experience the Minnesotan Tundra first-hand and learn what the phrase “polar vortex” really means. When Andriana isn’t busy staying warm, you can find her binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. She is hoping to double major in International Relations and English, while also reminding herself to keep an open mind as she begins her college career. Meet the other bloggers!