This is the choice that I actually made before National Decision Day, May 1st. I was working on the college admissions process since junior year, but really didn't start applying to colleges until the summer leading to my senior year. In December, I had four schools that I was considering going to: Monmouth College, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Augustana College and Columbia College at Chicago. I also had Bradley University on the mind because I had been interested with this school and Columbia College at Chicago around the same time when I was a freshman. As I kept getting accepted into other schools, I really started to consider my list of four and expanded it based off the information that each college had on their website and from each of my academic advisors. There were many things that I wanted from a school that lead me to my decision of a school.
First, I didn't want to go a really big school because knowing myself, I would get myself lost and need guidance for probably the first two years of college.
I either wanted to go to a small or medium sized school. This knocked off a few schools from my list. With me going to a big school, I wouldn't get the student-teacher relationship that I want. Monmouth College was a small, nice college that I actually had a chance to play with their marching band. I had a lot of fun with them, but the school was too small for me.
The second thing that I wanted in a school was diversity.
There were some HBCUs that I like and was accepted into, but I like diversity so I can learn about other cultures in the world through the friends that I will be making.
The third thing for me is location.
Even though they said it's good to go out of state when you go away for college for independent reasons, I want to stay in my home state, Illinois. A plus side to this is that my family and I won't be paying for out of state tuition. Another thing I took into consideration, which actually doing a campus visit helps, is the feel for the school. Do I feel comfortable here? Can I picture myself here for four years? Or even a year? I had this feeling for three to four schools. With this and FAFSA, I had my choices narrowed down to Augustana College, Bradley University, Monmouth College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. SIUC was more than four hours away
The fourth thing was financial aid.
I had to knock off SIUC because of financial aid. It was a really nice school, but I didn't get a lot of financial aid help from them. Monmouth and Augustana gave me the same amount, but there was a lot of loans.
There was a lot to compare and contrast too, but my final decision was Bradley University. Even though the last school that I visited was Bradley University. I did their overnight program and I had a blast there! I learned a lot more about the school than what I was getting from their website. I chose this school for various reasons. One of them was the fact that there are many opportunities that you can get from Bradley for it being a medium sized school. Bradley is not too far away from home so just in case I wanted to go home on the weekends, it is possible for me to do that. Their English creative writing program, which is my major, is excellent and I can't wait to join it. They have so many clubs and majors to choose from! Even though they don't have a marching band, they still have a band that is similar to it, but I wasn't planning on continuing marching band anyway.
I'm glad that I made the choice that I did and I can't wait until August 20th, moving in to be an official Bradley Brave.
Lead Image Credit: AscendedAnathema via Wikimedia Commons
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