Skip to main content

The Hood Magazine

Selecting a College: A Teen Essay

Sep 14, 2022 ● By Isabella Savage

By: Isabella Savage 

I was walking through the University of Missouri campus with my parents after we had just finished a college tour. “You’re so lucky,” my dad told me. “I wish I had done all this or known that I had so many options when I was your age. I so wish that I was in your position again.” My mom agreed. “We just didn’t know we had all these options when we were your age,” she said.   

I’m not going to waste it: I am going to make it my goal to find the perfect school. 

I initially thought it wouldn’t be hard to decide where I would go to school. Now, however, I have to choose - and I can choose a school anywhere. I don’t need to stay at home. In fact, I think that the point is to not. I want to spread my wings, and I’d prefer to go to a bigger school where I can major in archaeology with a minor in vocal music. But finding this perfect school is hard, so that is why I have already started my college shopping and am looking at a lot of different schools.   

The whole world is in front of me now, showing me what it has to offer. I just have to pick. 

I was born in Indiana, so my first trip to the college mall was a loop down to Missouri and back up through Indiana. I first toured Augustana University in Sioux Falls, which I was highly impressed with, and then we started our road trip.  

First, we went to the University of Missouri, or Mizzou, as is its nickname. It was huge. Bigger than any college or university in Sioux Falls. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the person, but I want to go to a big school, at least I do right now. And Mizzou had me wide-eyed with a huge smile on my face from the moment we drove into Columbia. After the tour, I was pleased. It seemed to have everything that I wanted. My dad told me I’d feel this way with all of the universities I’d visit. Since Mizzou was the first stop on our trip, I assumed he’d be correct. Still, when I didn’t feel the same about every university, I began to appreciate Mizzou, especially when I learned of their opera program. The opera program intrigued me as someone planning on pursuing vocal music. Everything about it made me feel at home, and at the end of the day, the fit of a college or university, I think, is one of the most critical aspects of a choice. And I definitely saw myself at Mizzou. 

After we left Missouri, I visited Indiana University, which I thought I’d love, but I didn’t feel the fit, although the campus was gorgeous. Then was Purdue University, a big engineering school. I’m not planning on being an engineer, and in fact, math is my true weakness. But I still felt as if I could see myself there. Our tour guide even said that Purdue is known for engineering, but it offers much more. 

Finally came my long shot. The University of Notre Dame was seemingly perfect for me. I loved everything about it, except maybe the fact that there is no Greek Life. I saw myself there, posing in front of Touchdown Jesus. It had the major I wanted. It had activities I enjoyed. The tour guide and the admissions counselor made it clear that Notre Dame was a very welcoming place with good people. Jackpot. But the acceptance rate is 15 percent. Could I get in? It will be hard. But I’m not going to give up. I am going to apply, and I’m going to try with my application. I won’t say, “It’s too selective. I probably won’t get in anyway.” Most kids have that mindset when going for a selective university, and for all of you who believe that, let me just say, you’re not going to get in if you believe you won’t. But you can have a good chance if you try. Write a detailed essay. Everyone can write a good essay; just make it about you was the advice of the admissions counselors at every school we visited. So, I’m going to try for Notre Dame and believe I can get in. 


After all the tours were over, and after we stopped for one night in Chicago after all the excitement, we drove home. My dad told me, “You know, you don’t have to go to college.” I was a bit surprised. Of course I don’t have to, but for the profession I’m interested in pursuing, I have decided to go to college. Archaeology is my dream, and that requires college.  


But he’s right. No one has to. To the people in my position right now, here’s my advice: try for a reach school and don’t think of it as a reach. If you decide to go to college, don’t waste your opportunity. There are so many options for schools out there. Also, go into the career you’re passionate about. Don’t go to college because your parents want you to. If the career you love doesn’t require college, don’t waste the money. You should do what you love, and not everything requires college. After all, the world needs welders just as much as it needs doctors.