Why did you decide to go to college? Why did you go to the college you chose?
Going to college was never an option. My parents expected me to go straight to college upon graduation from high school.
We began doing college visits as a family the summer before my junior year of high school. I recall driving through Upstate New York to look at Cornell, Colgate, Hamilton and Syracuse. They all seemed lovely, but too remote for me. (Though I did land up applying and getting into Syracuse.) Therefore, we kept looking. By the middle of my junior year, we took several weekend trips. We had visited B.U., Brandeis, Brown, American, and The George Washington University (aka: GW). I liked most of these schools better since they were in or right outside of cities. By the time my senior year rolled around, I had also visited Northwestern, Miami of Ohio, Amherst, UMass, Lafayette, Smith, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke, Hampshire, UVM, Princeton, and Rutgers. Let’s just say that visiting all of these schools didn’t give me much clarity! In fact, I had no idea where I really wanted to be. So, I applied to 16 colleges!!!
I was accepted to 11 of the 16 schools I applied to (I got deferred at one, wait-listed at two, and flat-out rejected by two more.), which meant I had to whittle down my list. In the end, I whittled my list down to four schools, which were extremely different from one another: Brandeis in Waltham, MA, GW in Washington, DC, Miami in Oxford, OH, and Syracuse in Syracuse, NY. My mother and I spent March and April of 1995 traipsing around to all four of these schools so that I could make an informed decision. I even stayed overnight in the dorms at Brandeis and GW, which were higher up on my list, to get a better feel for campus life. Though I liked Brandeis a lot (in fact, I thought for years that I would probably go there for college), it didn’t seem like the best place for me since it was 30 minutes outside of Boston.
GW lured me in with its Foggy Bottom Location that was in close proximity to The White House and the Metro, which promised to take me anywhere and everywhere. Though I thought I wanted a campus school for years, when I visited GW’s Urban Campus, I realized that I was more at-home on that kind of campus. It just felt like something big was happening right there and that going to college in the middle of Washington seemed thrilling. Therefore, in mid-April, I decided that GW was the school for me.
I loved living in Washington, DC. I spent one year on 21st and Eye, NW and then three-and-a-half years on 21st and F, NW. I took full advantage of the City of Washington, going to more museums and shows at the Kennedy Center (gotta love the student ticket prices) than I ever imagined I would when I accepted GW’s Offer of Admission. I cannot even imagine how different my life would be now if I hadn’t attend GW, a city school, right in the middle of it all.
Next week I’ll write a response to: “What did you study? Did you change your major?”
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.