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Finding Out Where You Belong

College visits are, by far, the best way to decide where you belong.

Brandon Huffman

August 26, 2013

Finding Out Where You Belong
College: it gets peoples' minds spinning. Some about the good ol’ days, some about the wonderful present but, to some, it represents the frightening future. To many high school students, college is that final frontier of education that is so close yet so far away. It’s what many strive for and what many can’t wait for. However, speaking as a high school senior, it is extremely stressful trying to figure out which college is the right college.

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After all, there are thousands of them and each of them wants you to be added to their rosters. College is all about you, though. It’s all about what you want to do, where you want to go and where you want to end up. Every college praises themselves and tell you that they know they’re the best college for you, hands down. If you don’t see them for yourself, how are you to know the truth? That’s where college visits come into play. They are, by far, the best way to judge if a college is right for you or not. The atmosphere, the people, the surrounding environment; these are all factors that can make or break your college experience.

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There are some extremely important factors to keep in mind when you are searching for you perfect fit: Do you like cities or the country? Do you want a small, secluded campus or one in the middle of everything? Do they have your major? All of these questions need to be kept in mind during your college visit so you can make the most out of it and decide whether it‘s the right fit.

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During this past school year and summer, I did a lot of researching and visiting colleges. When I began my search, I was 100 percent sure that Lehigh University was the perfect school for me and no one could have told me otherwise. Then, however, I began to visit some of the other campuses I was looking at. It turned out that everything I liked about Lehigh University could be found in other schools, and some were even better than I could have ever imagined. I drove down to Nashville last summer so I could visit Vanderbilt University. It was my “fallback” school until I actually went there. I fell hopelessly in love with Nashville, the campus, the administration, the opportunities offered and the overall environment. Needless to say, it quickly shot up the rankings and became my first choice. Caution: the opposite can also happen. I was extremely sure that I wanted to apply to Johns Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, to study medical research, as their medical program is nearly unrivaled. When I got there, I really liked the city and the campus. However, the atmosphere and administration gave me the feeling that I wouldn't be important until I was a graduate student there. I tried to shake the feeling off, but I couldn't. After all, I need to be and undergraduate student before I can become a graduate. I also visited University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University and NYU, all of which have made me feel the same way as I did about Lehigh University . However, after my visit, nothing compares to Vanderbilt, in my eyes. Without visiting the campus, I would never have known how perfect it was. The same thing goes for you. College visits are the best–and only way–to see if you can see yourself there, to see if that college is the perfect fit.

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