I don’t really have a “dream school.” As a junior, with college applications coming just around the corner, just about the whole county and my neighbor’s cat expects me to know where I want to go to college. It’s not a highly unusual expectation; I’m going to start applying late August, which is about 6 months from now, so surely I must have at least some vague idea of where I want to spend the next four years. Some of these people, whether they be relatives, friends or just acquaintances, even politely (and or jokingly) suggested some schools: Yale, Stanford, University of California: Los Angeles, Rice University, University of Washington, Harvard, University of California: Irvine, Vanderbilt University, Tufts University. These schools are very prestigious and it’d be a high honor to be accepted to and attend one of these colleges, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of applying to a college just because I know that high achieving students with similar grades were accepted into these schools. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I feel obligated to use simile about love: choosing colleges to attend with my current knowledge is like picking a random person off the street and deciding to date them.
At first glance, I would know what that person would look like and about how old they’d be, but I’d have no idea what the person would be like. What is their personality like? What do they do for fun? Do they like green tea ice cream from Trader Joe’s and classic Disney movies? Do they like biking in golden afternoons, debating the pros and cons of different renewable energy sources and collecting plain seashell shards and sand dollars? I would hope they don’t like every single one of those things, because that’d be boring just to be doing the same things over and over again (albeit it would be different doing most of these activities with another person). I’m not saying that I’d like someone who is the complete opposite of me, but I’d like a healthy diversity of interests so that we could bond over some things but also lead separate lives. Point in case, I would like to get to know someone first before anything. It’s the same way with colleges: I want to get to know them beyond a few factoids and a professional picture.
Even with all the knowledge in the world and even if we shared a good number of interests, it still all boils down to how I feel. Again, I don’t want a carbon copy of myself (to date anyway, having a clone would, undoubtedly, be very cool) but someone who will introduce me to new things and someone I’ll just like being around. Likewise, I want to go to a school where I feel welcome and safe and have good opportunities to take my interests further.
It all starts with the basics, so I guess I’ll hop to it.
– March Hare