I faced one of the biggest decisions ever around April of my senior year in high school…
To pick my dream school or not to pick my dream school, that was the question.
You see I was in love with the school from the moment that I laid eyes on it. The campus was gorgeous, they were considered a great school for my major, and not to mention all of my friends were going to be there. Somewhere in my gut and every ounce of my body, I felt like I just had to be there and only there. That was the school that was just right for me.
It was perfect in all ways… except in the financial department.
So what did I choose to do?
I had to be very honest with myself and think very logically about this choice while taking all of the emotional feelings that I had out of it.
I knew my dream school was going to cost $40,000 a year to attend. They were giving me $20,000 in institutional aid but that would still leave $20,000 that I would have to come up with each year to be able to go there. I knew my parents did not have that kind of money and if I had to pay for it, I wouldn’t even make it past the first semester. Thinking logically, I knew the odds of me being able to actually finish college going to my dream school would be slim to none (Note: this was before I entered the scholarship game so I knew nothing about applying for private scholarships at the time). So I picked the college that gave me the most money.
In making this decision, I also thought about where I wanted to see myself in 4 years. And my ultimate goal was to graduate— not to look at the pretty campus or socialize with my old high school friends. I knew that the school that gave me the most money would provide me with the biggest chance of being able to accomplish that goal.
Of course during college I wondered if I made the right decision. Maybe I would have made better friends at another college or had more opportunities, memories, and experiences. That’s something I will never know.
But after speaking to a few friends, I realized that I was making the right decision. So many people were dropping out of college or transferring colleges after the first year due to college being unaffordable. Others that were staying, were just steadily increasing their student loans.
What I learned is that a dream school is just that. It’s a fantasy that you have magnified the best aspects of. You don’t really know if that school will be the best school or not because you haven’t lived there. Living on campus will NOT be the same as your experience on the campus during their orientation or visiting day. Even if you were able to do a weekend trip on the campus, it is still very different from being there everyday for years.
Now that you have heard all about my dream school story, I’m sooo anxious and excited to hear yours. What is your dream school and why? Is your dream school financially right for you?
I’ll be looking for your answer in the comments.
Happy Scholarship Winning!