The campus was perfect. The academics were better than I'd expected. The atmosphere of the area was practically screaming my name. The scholarship made it SO affordable. Lake Forest College had everything I could possibly want, and more. So why did I have second thoughts about it?
Let me step back for a moment. I discovered my dream school, Lake Forest College, near the start of my college search, via a postcard in the mail. That postcard showed a bird's eye view of the gorgeous area, showcasing its vast campus and proximity to Lake Michigan. The back of the postcard featured the many majors and minors offered by the college. Intrigued, I went online and checked out its website. I think I spent hours browsing through the pages of academics, admissions and student life. I made sure to schedule a visit on one of their open house days.
By the time I finally stepped foot on campus, I had toured a few other schools, all in Illinois (I was a committed in-stater). I had been weighing the pros and cons of each school, trying to imagine myself on those campuses. However, the moment I arrived at Lake Forest College, I felt at home. I could vividly see myself walking between the three areas on campus. I was able to sample an excellent political rhetoric class taught by one of the Communications teachers, meet with my admissions counselor and tour the campus and dorms. At once, I knew that this was my dream school. After that open house, I actually visited once more, to have an interview with my admissions counselor and to tour the campus again. Needless to say, I put in an early action application.
After being accepted in December, I was obviously ecstatic. I had gotten into my dream school with an amazing scholarship. While the rest of my friends stressed about college applications over winter break, I was able to sit back and relax, knowing that I knew where I wanted to go.
Or so I thought.
When January rolled around, my brother, a Depaul University Alumni, asked me if I was truly committed to going to Lake Forest College. He and my parents encouraged me to look into other schools, just so that I could have more options available when making my final decision. Conflicted and confused, I initially fought back against that idea. I knew where I wanted to go! I loved Lake Forest College and everything it had to offer to me. However, as my family continued to question my choice, I also began to question the school. Would it really be a perfect fit? Would it properly prepare me for my post-college career? The doubts and fears kept reverberating around my head and wouldn't stop.
Eventually, I gave in. I applied to more schools, including out-of-state schools, some without even visiting first. I slowly fell in love with the idea of attending the University of Indianapolis. I read online reviews, read about their courses, majors, and student life and began to envision myself there. I even spent a night there during their annual "Campus Camp-In," where I was able to meet other potential students, tour the campus and speak with current students. I was almost ready to swap my Lake Forest t-shirts for the new UIndy shirts I had just gotten, but I still had decisions to make.
While I liked UIndy, I did have some issues with it. It was small, probably a little smaller than Lake Forest, size-wise. The dorms were not exactly the best, but I was willing to look past that, as the dorms for upperclassmen were amazing. The food in the dining hall was okay (they had the best bread pudding there). My biggest concern was the distance. It took three hours just to get to UIndy. One thing that I loved about Lake Forest was that it was only a bit more than an hour from home. I wasn't sure about being that far from my family and also worried about putting that many miles on my parents cars. Still, I kept UIndy as my new choice for school, even changing my laptop background to the UIndy logo.
By the time that I fell in love with UIndy, it was already March. The national college decision deadline was the first of May, so there wasn't too much time left to make my choice. Despite my thoughts and apprehensions, I decided that I needed to revisit Lake Forest College again. As a result, I signed up for the admitted student open house.
I hadn't re-visited Lake Forest College since the month before my acceptance. Stepping back onto campus once again felt like it did when I first visited, like I was at home. As I went through the festivities of the day, including meeting a professor in my intended major, touring the campus again, and attending a student life fair, I could once again see myself on the campus. After that visit, with my dream school once again fresh in my mind, I weighed the pros and cons of each school.
In late May, I paid my enrollment deposits, and officially became a Forester.
This fall, I will step onto campus again for the fourth time, this time as an actual student. Even though I've had my doubts and concerns, I can now wholeheartedly say that I've made the right choice. Lake Forest College is where I'll spend the next four years of my life, and I couldn't be happier.
Lead Image Credit: Carsten Tolkmit via Flickr Creative Commons