Several times a year, we reach out to our former Collegewise students to find out how life is going at their new colleges. It’s our way of not just checking in, but also living vicariously through all of the fun and learning they inevitably describe to us.
One particular student who responded this week, Alex, attends Boise State University. She’s deliriously happy at BSU. But in high school, Alex couldn’t quite see herself there. BSU had many of the qualities she was looking for in a college. But Alex, a native Californian, never imagined herself attending college in Idaho. Still, she kept an open mind, so much so that when Boise State accepted her, she planned a visit with her family. That’s when everything changed for her.
Alex offered up the following advice to current high school students going through the college search process:
“To all of the high schoolers, apply to a wide range of schools. You’ll know that you’ve found your school when you get that special ‘feeling.’ It’s hard to explain, but within five minutes of going on my tour at BSU, I leaned to my dad and said, ‘This is my school.’ I almost didn’t want to like it when I toured because going to school in Idaho wasn’t what I was imagining for me. But as soon as I saw the campus and talked to people, I just knew this was the place for me.”
Well said, Alex.
The point here is not to apply indiscriminately to a bunch of schools that don’t fit you. Alex did a lot of college searching with her Collegewise counselor and she knew what she was looking for. On paper, Boise State had a lot of those things. It was the location that initially gave her pause.
But today, Alex loves Boise as much as she loves Boise State. So keep an open mind. You might like living in a new state more than you imagined. You might enjoy a smaller or larger school than you see yourself attending. You might change your mind about your major, decide that you want to be closer or farther from home, or find a new appealing quality that you didn’t know existed at any college.
Applying to a particular college doesn’t meant that you necessarily have to attend. So keep an open mind, like Alex did. If you do a thoughtful college search and focus more on fit than you do on prestige, you’ll probably find a college that will make you blissfully happy (like Alex is).