The past few months have been a game of waiting and then a game of choosing. I applied to 7 colleges, and received acceptances from 5 – Chapman University, California Lutheran University, Sonoma State University, San Jose State University, and UC Merced.
All of these schools seemed like good options to me. A few of them were closer to home than others, and I was just a little unsure if that was something that I wanted or not. I decided against San Jose State and UC Merced for a few different reasons. But there was one college I really wanted to go to, and that was Chapman.
I’ve known many people that have gone to Chapman, and they all love it there. It’s in a great location, the education is great, the campus is beautiful, and the people are extremely nice. The one downfall is that it costs about $58 thousand each year to attend. When I received my acceptance letter, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t get financial aid. But I waited, and waited, until my financial aid letter came. And, unfortunately, my fears came true when I was only offered loans as financial aid. I knew that my family wouldn’t be able to afford that much money for 4 years.
Because of my unfortunate incident with that school, I had to look at the rest of my choice. I knew two of them were out, so it was basically a choice between Sonoma State and Cal Lutheran (Located in Thousand Oaks near LA). They both seemed like really great schools, neither of them were too big, and students seemed to really like both of them. Sonoma is much closer to my house. But, Sonoma is a public school with 5 thousand more students than Cal Lutheran. I visited Sonoma in January, and the one thing I noticed and absolutely loved were the dorms. They were like miniature apartments. They are probably the nicest college dorms I have been in. I visited Cal Lutheran just this past week, and although the dorms were not as nice, the campus was very pretty. I talked to a former student of OVS, and she seems to really like the time she has spent there. She said that the teachers were extremely helpful and that the classes are pretty small – the average class size is below 30, while I know Sonoma state has up to a few hundred in certain classes.
Even after I visited both, I still was unsure what I wanted. Sonoma meant I could visit my friends at home and family much more often. Cal Lutheran meant that I could go to LA and visit my friends that live down here, and also I felt like I would get more help with schoolwork if I needed it.
I was having such a hard time deciding that I went to my good friend for help. She knows a lot about college in general, and had a hard time deciding for herself, so I figured I’d ask how she did it and what her advice was. She asked a question that made it really clear for me that I hadn’t thought of; “Where will you thrive?” I thought for a while and realized that in a school of 9,000 people, even thought considered “small” compared to many universities, I felt that Cal Lutheran would really help me learn more and challenge myself to a point where I will succeed and feel extremely accomplished about it. I started to feel like I would get lost at Sonoma and let me responsibilities slip away from me.
So, that night, I called my parents and talked to them about my decision. Since Cal Lutheran gave me $14,000 dollars per year through a scholarship, it ends up costing about the same (though a little bit more) than the public tuition of Sonoma State, which was a great thing to know. Even though my family is well-off financially, my dad is paying for 2 other kids to go to college, and has paid for 4 years of my private education here at OVS.
In no time, I had paid my enrollment fee and housing deposit for California Lutheran University. I have officially decided where I am going to college and have committed! I was so excited that I even treated myself to a Cal Lutheran sweatshirt, something I felt kind of dorky doing but felt it was appropriate for such a major decision in my life.
Honestly, I was a bit nervous that I was making the wrong decision, but now I feel very confident in it. I feel like it is a very strong and welcoming community that I will fit well in. And, of course, if I end up just hating it – which I completely doubt – I can always transfer somewhere else.
In short, I’m just so glad I have made the decision and committed. The next 4 years of my life are set for me now. Even thought I had initially wanted to attend a different school, I am starting to think that this one will be just as good if not better. I’m a bit nervous to start my first year of college but I’m also excited at the same time. I can’t wait to see what this experience brings me.