Decision day is quickly approaching and tension is high among high school seniors who have yet to choose a school to attend to next year. So many factors play a role in this decision that it’s no wonder many students haven’t picked yet. As a naturally indecisive person (ask my mom — she’s learned not to ask what I want for dinner anymore), making such a gigantic choice about my future was a source of stress for many months. Luckily, after a lot of consideration, I chose a school I absolutely love. In honor of the upcoming one-year anniversary of my own decision, I wanted to write to some of the schools I chose not to go to. Not about them, to them. A letter explaining why I couldn't continue our relationship, if you will. Some of them (I'm looking at you, Emerson and Saint Joseph's) were close contenders with Syracuse. So, hello schools I almost attended instead of SU! It’s nice to chat with you again. I hope you take the time to read this letter.

Dear Colleges I Almost Attended,

How are you guys? I hope you didn’t have too much trouble adjusting to your respective new freshman classes this year. I’m sure each person who decided to come join you loves what you have to offer. Look, I know I haven’t talked with you in a while, and I apologize for that. I wanted to write this letter to explain that it wasn’t your fault I didn’t decide on one of you. Some of you had better communications programs than others, and some had better locations and perks. Sure, that all played a part in my decision, but don’t think I ended up at Syracuse because you did something wrong. You did everything right, trust me. Every accepted students’ day wowed me a little more. Every time a tour guide would mention a fabulous or famous alum, I swooned a little. You did everything you could to woo me, and it still didn’t convince me in the end. I’m sorry for how that might’ve made you feel.

That being said, I stand by my decision because it was the right one for me. As much as I worried I hadn’t at first, I know now that I definitely came to the right school. The thing is, Colleges I Almost Went To, your freshmen feel the same way about you. You wooed them like you wooed me, but the difference is some of them ended up falling for you in a way I never could. They love you like I love Syracuse. Imagine how different everything in my life could be had I chosen one of you. I would be writing this letter from a different campus, in a different state, with entirely different friends, teachers and roommates. The people I’ve met during my time at Syracuse have shaped my freshman year, which means I’d be totally different had I chosen one of you instead.

I’d also like to give a quick shout-out to my first love, Carnegie Mellon University, down in Pittsburgh, PA. Hey there, CMU. I’d just like to say thanks for deferring me. While I might’ve been disheartened last April, your letter cemented my belief that I was meant to choose a school in upstate New York with a cute mascot named Otto and not hang on to the Tartan dream I’d had since junior year of high school. It looks like you knew what was best, even when I wasn’t sure myself.

To all of you — the schools I could’ve attended, and almost did — I want to say that some of you guys made offers I felt foolish for refusing. My decision was a hard one. Be gentle with the high school seniors who are still choosing. They'll feel the same paralyzing indecisiveness. After all, your college impacts everything in your life moving forward. Maybe someday, some of them will write a letter like this to you, too, explaining why they did or didn’t commit to you. But for now, I hope you understand where I’m coming from. All of you impacted my life in one way or another — never doubt that.


An Almost-Member of Your Class of 2020

Lead Image Credit: Chloe Mathieu