For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jul 05 2017
by Jessica Bond

What I Learned From Turning Down My Full Ride Offer

By Jessica Bond - Jul 05 2017

Senior year: it's the year where young adults start actually making young adult decisions. It's also the year where we tend to make mistakes and learn from them. I definitely made my fair share of mistakes, from not spending enough time on my college essays to not even studying for my classes. Although I could go on for hours about what I did wrong my senior year, there was one decision that I'm glad I made even if it sounded like the biggest mistake to everyone else. I turned down my full ride offer to the University of Illinois to be at Loyola Marymount University in a large amount of debt, and I don't regret it at all.

Since my sophomore year of high school, I knew that I wanted to leave the Midwest and start my own journey. I did not want to be like every other graduate from school who either went to the University of Illinois or a HBCU: that was not the road that I wanted to go on nor did I want to experience high school all over again. So when senior year rolled around, I knew that this was my time to go in some uncharted waters and apply for colleges on the west coast. Of course this was not as well received as I would have wanted it to be, and I was approached with many discouraging comments about my choice of wanting to leave my great state of Illinois. These often discouraging comments only fueled my drive, to want to create my own path for my future career.

As stress from decision day slowly taking its toll, the anticipation grew for financial aid award letters to be my saving grace. I always told myself that I had the ability to get a full ride offer to any school that I wanted to go to, but of course not everything goes as planned. When I received my financial aid award letter from the University of Illinois, I was shocked to see that I was granted a full ride based on my financial status. This full ride offer would've meant that my single parent mom wouldn't have to worry about going even more into debt or be concerned about how I was getting home for the holidays. Although these reasons may seem valid enough to accept the offer, but I knew in my heart that being an Illinois wasn't my destiny.

Choosing between the University of Illinois and Loyola Marymount was not easy for me. I had my friends and my family telling me that staying in Illinois would be the smart economical decision because I would not be in debt coming out of college. Then, I had my own heart telling me that going away to Los Angeles will help me mold into the person that I want to become and have the ability to have internships and job offers in my career field of entertainment journalism. Although I will be in thousands of dollars worth of debt, I know that Loyola Marymount will prepare me for my future in every way possible.

When I first set sight on Loyola Marymount’s campus, I felt like I found my new home. I never felt that feeling at any other college, and I couldn't just let that feeling leave after leaving Los Angeles. Turning down my full ride offer gave me a new sense of responsibility and it also showed me the people who will support no matter how crazy my decisions my might sound. This is the time in our lives where we have the right to make mistakes until we know what works and what doesn't. I know this decision sounds absolutely insane to most people, but I have the next four years to show them otherwise.

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash 

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Jessica Bond - Loyola Marymount University

I probably came out of the womb with a pen in my hand. Rising freshmen at LMU.

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