To High School Seniors Making College Decisions
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Student Life

To High School Seniors Making College Decisions

It's going to be OK even if it's not what you pictured...

To High School Seniors Making College Decisions
Omega Fi

Dear High School Seniors,

Congrats for making it this far! You got through your SATs, took the right classes and applied to all your schools. Now, you’re waiting for the last of the decisions. This time last year I was still waiting for my top three choices. It's stressful and awful and wonderful at the same time. It’s absolutely exasperated by new Facebook posts every day “University of Wherever Class of 2020!!!!” but it’s okay. Your letters will come eventually but when everything is said, considered, weighted and done, there’s a high probability that you won’t be going to your dream school next semester. And it’s okay—I promise!

Getting rejected from my dream school was one of the best things that ever happened to me. A bold statement coming from a second-semester freshman at her backup school, but I think, for me, it's true. I recently read an article from Business Insider that created a map depicting the most underrated schools from each state. These schools made the list because of their highly ranked academics coupled with high acceptance rates. The list includes the University of Florida, Texas A&M, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Pitt, U.C. Santa Cruz, Louisville, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC.) All 50 of the schools are excellent and mostly public universities. The ones I mentioned had an average acceptance rate of 63% and an average "A" rating from Niche. These underrated colleges stand on their own with research opportunities, quality of education and student life but are often overshadowed by other, well-known or "prestigious" or private schools and that's where the data stops and my experience comes in.

A little more than a year ago, I thought that I would be living in D.C. and attending Georgetown, my dream school. I was absolutely crushed when I was waitlisted and no spots on the waitlist opened up. I had assumed that I would go somewhere in D.C. as my second choice, but I started looking at the cost of these schools, I knew it wasn't realistic so I had to start looking at my backups. I had one financially realistic one. I applied to UMBC as a back-up, pretty much knowing I would get in, but hoping I would get in elsewhere (preferably with a football team.) I did no research into UMBC besides checking that they had my major.

If I had looked further, I would have found that UMBC is only 50 years old but ranks high as a research university, in the quality of our teaching and professors, and in the diversity of our community. The classes are rigorous, and studying is emphasized; you hear "it's cool to be smart at UMBC" thrown around a lot. UMBC is a fantastic place for me and anyone in STEM majors and while it may not be a household name, it is well known as a contributor of strong students to graduate and medical schools. For being a school with a high population of commuting students, the campus community feels well connected and there's always something to do if you look for it. I've made friends and found a home at a place that a year ago I never thought I would end up.

If for whatever reason you won’t be where you thought you would be next year, it’s okay. The school you go to will be the right school for you because you are there.

Congratulations and good luck next year!

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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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