“You’re almost there to becoming the CAC favorites!” exclaims CAC Julia Husen marking the beginning of the college selection process for the Class of 2015. We spend most of our high school careers developing our personal resumes in terms of academic grades, standardized testing, sports, leadership positions, and other extracurricular activities. To justify our hard work, it would be logical to execute an equal amount of effort when selecting colleges. With less than a hundred days until graduation, the seniors are ready to pass the college application process to the juniors, but not without some advice. So, how should juniors approach the college selection process? We talked to several seniors to get an insight on how they approached this challenge.
“I looked into universities that resonated well with my personal goals and values” says Luke Zhan. Many of us have different views on how we plan on spending our next four years and it’s important to look into colleges that share a common vision. “I value a comprehensive education; everything you learn has value whether you can directly apply it or not. University of Chicago’s common core was really attractive in that regard” says the accepted senior. While the wholesome education sounds interesting, it’s not for everyone. Many prefer diving into a selective number of topics rather than receiving a general understanding of several areas of study. “And finally, University of Chicago excited me – I don’t want to go to a place where I can see and predict my life four years down the line” he says.
While Luke extensively studied the dynamic of the college, there are many seniors who focused on specific fields and programs. Seniors Suraj Sinha and Lakhena Leang pursued their interests and researched schools with top ranking specialties and programs. The opinions of the knowledgeable CACs and experienced IMSA alumni played a factor into their decisions as well. “I trust the decisions and interests of many of my upperclassmen friends” says Suraj; so, “if they recommend a particular college or oppose a specific program, I defer to their judgment.” Similarly, Lakhena advises “don’t think about prestige if the college doesn’t fit”. There are many other criteria that play into college selections such as location, school size, tuition, internship opportunities, etc. Rankings and prestige don’t always lay out the atmosphere of the college, which is imperative because you’re going to be spending four years of your life immersed in these surroundings.
Regardless of the college you select for whichever reason, it’s important to remember that you’re going to have a fantastic time. “I don’t really know of anyone who hasn’t had an enjoyable time in college” reassures Lakhena. Just await the experiences and make the best out of your remaining time at IMSA.