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Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have several seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2014 to June 2015!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.

I’ve never been too great at making important decisions. Minor issues, I can have those sorted out easily. From what I’m going to be eating next Saturday to what I’m going to put in my pencil case when school starts, these are problems that I don’t have any trouble with. But when it comes to my future, whether it’s my list of colleges or my career path, I have no idea what I’m doing. However, I do have a plan of sorts about what I am looking for in a college.

1. Location

I want to be in a city by the ocean. This makes no sense at all, since I rarely ever visit the beach, and the city I live in doesn’t have the best seaside view (the man-made lake nearby does not count). However, the need still stands. After spending most of my life living next to various bodies of water and lush mountains and forests, I feel the urge to live somewhere that looks similar, but is actually far away. Does that make sense? Didn’t think so. I just have an intense desire for change, but also the need to be in a familiar setting. Quite the paradox, but most schools that I’m interested in are near oceans or lakes, so it hasn’t been that big of an issue.

2. Major

I want to major in business. At least, I think I do. Therefore, the universities that I’m applying to must all have a business program, or at least an economics program. I would prefer to attend a university that has a well-known business program, but I would settle for a school that only offered economics if it met my other criteria. And while I understand that choosing a school that offers your major is a necessity for some, this topic only comes second in my list of college must-haves. This may be because my family places priority on location and the ability to create connections, and also since there’s a belief that whichever city I study in will be the city I work in. Thus, finding a university in a bustling city is of greater importance than finding a university with a business major. While both would be preferable, at this point, I would settle for a major in economics (though I’m not looking forward to the math involved in completing this degree).

3. Miscellaneous

While there are other aspects of a university that I will take into consideration, such as academic rigor, job opportunities, and prestige (since I’m going into business, I’m assuming that a prestigious school will be more helpful in networking), I feel the need to visit a university before I decide whether or not to apply. I know not everyone can visit every university that they are applying to, but in my case, seeing is believing. I want to know what the local diners look like, what type of plants the campus has, what the surrounding neighborhood looks like, how difficult the school layout is to remember, and so much more. At the end of the day, I’m the type of person to judge a book by its cover, or in this case, judge a university by its campus. And after spending most of my life in dull high school buildings, I feel like I owe myself the privilege of choosing a university with stunning libraries and lecture halls.

With these considerations in mind, I have made something that resembles a college list:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Stanford
  • UC Berkeley
  • UCLA
  • University of Michigan
  • NYU
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Washington
  • UBC (University of British Colombia)
  • Queen’s University

As you can see, my list includes both American and Canadian universities, though it consists of mostly American ones (after spending so much time taking all those standardized tests, it feels like a waste to go to a Canadian university). Am I sure about this list? To an extent, yes. I have quite a few reach schools on this list, as anyone can obviously tell (it was embarrassing to admit to applying to Stanford, but hey, there’s no shame in rejection), though there are other schools that I consider possibilities. I haven’t added any of my safeties into this list because one, I’m hoping that I won’t need to apply to them, and two, there didn’t seem to be a point in including relatively unknown Canadian universities in this article.

So there you have it. My college list and the reasoning behind it. Out of all the great undergraduate business schools in the world, I decided to pick these ones. Whether it was because of their location (UCLA is next to Rodeo Drive–just imagine the window shopping opportunities), their vegetation (have you seen the trees in UC Berkeley?), and even their mascot (did you know that University of Washington’s mascot is a fluffy husky?), these factors have led to the creation of this list.

Therefore, this is my list of colleges that I am applying to. This list is one of the few parts of the college application process that I have complete control over. While my logic may seem irrational at times, I hope that going with my gut will help me come to a decision that I won’t regret ten years down the road. Because in the end, the universities that accept you are more significant than the universities you apply to, and more  importantly, no matter which college you apply to and attend, it’s the person that creates the experience, not the place.

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