Finding The Perfect College For You


It’s your junior year. You’re starting to look at colleges, overwhelmed by all of this new information and the reality of a quickly approaching future hits you, but you need to find your next place in the world.

Now it’s senior year, and you’re narrowing down your choices. After being accepted into some or all of the schools you’ve applied to, you have a better idea of where you want to go. You have received some merit scholarships, and financial aid, and your deposit deadline is rapidly approaching. It’s time to make a choice.

As a current senior ready to take my next step, I wholeheartedly understand the hesitation in choosing your college. I can openly admit, I am afraid of commitment, I am terrified of the idea of being locked down at one place for four years, and for a long time I was afraid that I would never find the right school for me, but I did.

In order to figure out where you want to go, you have to compile a list of what you want in a school. Although I am indecisive on all matters, I did know what I wanted at my future “home away from home.” My school had to have a football team, school spirit needed to be evident, there needed to be tons of clubs and activities, and I needed study abroad opportunities and access to internships in my later years. Needless to say, this didn’t narrow down my list a whole lot.

I entered senior year with a list of maybe twenty schools that I wanted to apply to, a lot more than all of my friends. The quantity of my list got me thinking, when will I find my school? Why is everyone else’s list smaller than mine? Why can’t I find a single place I am in love with? I ended up applying to 11 schools all together, still more than my friends, and I was still lost in the process, continuously asking those three questions.

It’s mid- January, many of my friends are committing to schools, or have the general idea of where their top school is; I don’t. So, I continue to look. I was accepted to 8 out of 11 schools so far, still waiting on the other three, and I decided it was time to visit a few to knock them off the list.

I didn’t like any school I visited until we went on a campus tour. I just never believed that place could be my new home. In movies and shows, everyone says that they knew right when they stepped on campus that it was for them, I thought there was no way this was true. Even kids at my school started to say the same things, all I thought was “How? How could they know?” There was no doubt in my mind that they were exaggerating, but I was proven wrong.

From the second that I drove onto Susquehanna University’s grounds, I knew it was the school for me. Everything on my list checked off: a football team, a lot of school spirit, endless clubs, and amazing study abroad programs. Not to mention, they bring dogs in every Tuesday for the first few weeks of school—and for midterms and finals! The people were incredibly nice and welcoming, and overall I had never had an experience like that from a college visit.

Senior Allison Gunning had a similar experience. She explained to me how, “The minute I stepped on Cortland’s campus, I knew that was where I wanted to spend my next four years,”

In order to find the perfect school for you, you need to put it all of the work, the school won’t do it for you. Figure out the requirements you need from your future home and run with it. Visit schools, take information sessions, do online tours, ask for more financial aid, and see where you end up.

Looking for a college is overwhelming and terrifying, but once you find your school, you will feel amazing. Take your time, you won’t always find your perfect match in the first place you look.