5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying to College
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Politics and Activism

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying to College

At the end of the day, you'll end up where you're supposed to be.

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying to College
Tabhata Paulet

As a high school freshman, I set high expectations for myself and decided that I was going to attend a prestigious Ivy League school. In my mind, there was no way I was going to stay in state, so most of the schools I applied to were out of state, particularly in Florida and New York. Up to a week before National College Decision Day, I had the grand idea that I was going to attend the University of Miami. I knew how difficult it was for me to get in, so I didn’t want to “settle for any less” by going to a local college in New Jersey. I remember a few days before I had to put my deposit in for school, I was crying in my counselor’s office because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to afford Miami’s ridiculously expensive tuition. After being in Rutgers University- Newark for an entire year, I don’t regret the decision that I made because

  1. I adapted and found many useful resources in my local in-state university.
    1. At the end of the day, you’ll adapt to the school that you end up committing to. You’ll see that it isn’t so bad after all. I am extremely grateful for everything Rutgers has done for me. Being in such a small campus, I established great relationships with my pre-health advisors and came across great research and career opportunities that will benefit me in the future. If you truly investigate what your local college has to offer, you may discover all of the endless opportunities that you may also have.
  2. I am saving a TON of money by attending an in-state school.
    1. PLEASE be smart when selecting the school that you will be going to for four years (unless you’re doing community college which is an excellent idea btw). If you know that your parents can’t help finance your education and you are completely dependent on federal aid, sit down and think if it’s worth being in debt. Yes college is an investment, but if there are other affordable options, why not take it?
  3. Don’t completely rule out community college.
    1. I wish that I had taken this advice beforehand. If you are a resident of New Jersey and are in the top 15% of your graduating class, you may qualify for the NJ STARS program. Basically, you’ll go to community college for two years, and if you earn your associate’s degree with a gpa of 3.25 or better, you may be eligible for extra scholarships through NJ STARS to attend a public four year university. Remember, it doesn’t matter where you start- it matters where you end up at.
  4. Yes it’s important to follow your heart, but also think very critically.
    1. When it comes to deciding what school you’re going to commit to, list all of the pros and cons. Does it offer what I want to study? Am I being given sufficient amount of funds to attend there? Is the location going to be an inconvenience? Do I see myself being here?
  5. If you know that you want to attend graduate school or some sort of professional school such as medical, dental, or law school, know that once you receive your MD, PHD, OR JD it won’t matter where you received your bachelor’s degree.
    1. A school doesn’t define who you are, success is determined by how intelligent you are to seize every single opportunity that you are given. If you are unable to attend a prestigious school for your undergraduate degree, don’t stress it. Make the best out of your four years in college, and when the time comes, take out the necessary loans in order to practice medicine, law etc.
    Besides, that inner drive and motivation that you have within you- NO ONE will take away from you no matter where you end up at.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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