If you have a guidance counselor anything like mine, you will have heard all the talks about, “choosing the school thats right for you” or “pick the school that will make you happy for the next four years”. While those are great tips on the surface and some people may be able to do that that does not work for everyone. When visiting college’s I fell in the trap of just thinking of whether or not I could see myself on that campus, or which school was my “dream school” and I failed to really look at the picture realistically. This left me unable to make my final decision until the day before my enrollment deposit was due.
I visited lots of great schools. I found ones that I loved, and ones that taught me what i did not want in a school. I knew for a fact that I wanted to study musical theatre and three of the schools that I applied to required auditions. In my blog, College Auditions: Update I described this process. My first audition was at my then, top pick until I was accepted into the theatre program and not the musical theatre (an honor, but not what I want). Then I went to a school that I liked, but didn’t really know where it fell in my preferences until after the auditions (it became my third choice: details in the linked blog). Last, I auditioned at a school that I knew nothing about that school was only 2 hours from home, and they accepted me on the spot and I fell in love. I later returned to that school for and honors weekend and it quickly became my “dream school”. I resolved to do everything within my power to attend. The only thing holding me back was, it had a higher tuition than any other school. I had a good amount in scholarships but it wasn’t enough.
I held out for more financial aid until the last minute and yet, it didn’t come. While waiting, I had received full tuition to my third choice school and quickly decided on that. I was so upset. Mostly because of how much I loved my first pick, and the perception that I had been taught to attend the school that “felt right”. While I fully support following your heart, with college it is a little different. I could not afford to follow my heart on this, I instead had to take the reasonable route. Although the school I will be attending next year was my third choice I think I will be ok. I am getting to study musical theatre, putting me one step closer to doing what I love, and I will be fairly close to home. Also, while it has a great program, it is small- so less competition!
Even with all the trials it took to get to this point, I am excited for what is ahead. I know God has a plan for my life and I got what I wanted confused with his plan. I was disappointed that I cannot attend my top choice but I realized I don’t need a “dream school” to pursue my dream. My university may be my third choice, but I can be happy there. If you have, are currently, or will be going through this process, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear your tale or share what little advice I have based on my experience.