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Finding Your First (And Hopefully Only) Undergraduate College

February 7, 2020
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By a member of Team BrainStorm

I’ve been to three colleges in five years, so I can tell you this from personal experience: when choosing a school, find one in which you have confidence you’ll stay. Thinking back to when I first started applying to colleges in the fall of senior year, I wish someone had told me that.

I knew from my first day at College #1, sitting in my closet-sized dorm, that I would not be getting my bachelor’s degree there. After two days, I called my parents to tell them, “This isn’t going to work out. You might as well come get me.”

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They asked me to stay, so I did. Without knowing it, I had committed myself to a university with a faulty English program and a student population that went home every weekend. It wasn’t the experience I wanted, and one afternoon I made the rash decision to pack my things, drop out, move back in with my parents and enroll in a community college. The look in their eyes when I told them at dinner what I did that day was a mix of disappointment and confusion.

College #2 was a community college, and when I first began attending, I was embarrassed to tell people. I grew up in a place where attending a community school came with a disapproving look and a question that went something like, “You couldn’t get into a real college?”

The embarrassment faded quickly. College #2 is where I learned the most and had the most influential teachers. There, I was able to find myself and identify what I wanted to do with my life. College #2 is also where I found College #3.

Today, I’m in College #3 and after four semesters of feeling confident in my choice, I’m graduating.

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My academic journey is nothing unique; I share the same path as thousands of college students. However, YOU, fair reader, can learn from my pain!

  • Start researching colleges early; don’t wait until fall of your senior year.
  • Go to the campus and meet with advisers and teachers. Spend a weekend with a student who dorms and ask people who are already attending how they like the school (both academically and socially).
  • Get an idea of what sort of connections the school has – if you’re looking to study Political Science, does the college offer beneficial internships? If you’d like to experience other parts of the world, does the school have a safe and worthwhile study abroad program?
  • Always know what colleges have to offer after graduation, too. A college that not only gives you the knowledge needed in your field of study but also helps you find employment opportunities within that field after you’ve graduated is a school that is worth the tuition.

Enjoy the end of your high school years, but do invest the proper time in finding a college from which to graduate. Find a college in which you can see a home, a place where your tuition is invested in YOU‐ and your future.


This entry was posted in Brain Food, BrainStorm’s resource center for parents.
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