Thinking back to my senior year of high school, I would not have imagined that my life would be the way it is today. A LOT has happened since I first stepped onto Iowa’s campus. But…how did I choose to go here? When did I know this is where I wanted to be?
I think I toured between four and six colleges, all with different feels, all in different areas, all before I knew I was accepted. The day I found out I got into Iowa was the same day I got my wisdom teeth out…yep…got my acceptance letter by email and could not stop crying for hours (tears of joy of course). That same day, I turned down the other schools that I got accepted into. I’m sure some people panic when doing this because it is a HUGE decision to make; but, I had no doubt in my mind that Iowa was where I wanted to be.
I believe I came here twice before getting accepted, one time was to hang out with my cousin and see what he had to say about the school, and the other was the full campus tour. Let me tell you a couple things about my tours that I really loved which helped in my decision:
- My first tour was a football Saturday
- 20% discount at the Hawk Shop (this was just the icing on the cake)
- It was a gloomy fall day but it was still enjoyable to walk around campus
- The graduation Herky statue was out so I was able to get a cute picture
- Iowa City life was awesome
- My first tour was the first time I heard about the Wave
- Everyone seemed so nice
Iowa was the second to last campus I visited, Indiana University-Bloomington being the last, and I will admit…there was some competition between the two schools. I really liked both of them, but what made me stray away from Indiana is what my brother’s friend told me, “if you are not going to join a sorority, go to Iowa. You won’t fit in at Indiana if you’re not in one, but at Iowa, there’s so much else you can do”. Joining a sorority was not something I was interested in, so understanding the differences in how Greek life is viewed at both schools was something that really solidified my decision.
But, it wasn’t what people said to me that really mattered, it was how I felt. I don’t remember anything my tour guides said, all the places we went, where we ate. All I remember is walking at the bottom of the hill by the Iowa Memorial Union looking at the Pentacrest and something inside me just said, “this is it. This is where I want to be”. It was a feeling of eudaimonia, a feeling when you are just so very happy. It is very difficult to describe, but it was one of those “when you know, you know” moments, and trust me, when you don’t know, keep looking. I think that feeling came from a variety of things. That view of the Pentacrest is still to this day, one of my favorite views on campus. I was in awe of the campus as a whole. It just felt like home. Looking back, I would say I thought I had that feeling touring each of the schools because I was so in the moment and excited for the next stage of life. But, I only got that feeling at one school, and it was Iowa. There were some non-negotiables I had when determining which school to attend; I wanted to stay in the Midwest, a great business school, the opportunity to study abroad, an easy drive, and close but not too close to home. Iowa provided all of these, whereas Indiana did not. There was a multitude of factors that made me choose Iowa, but as I’m writing this right now, the factor that really made me say “yes” to Iowa was that feeling.
Here are my tips for when you are trying to find the right school for you:
- Figure out your non-negotiables before touring
- Make sure the cost of your education works for you and your family
- Think about your family and friends. Do you have a close-knit family where you will want to travel home often? Are any of your friends looking at the same schools you are?
- Think about how you will get home and back to campus. Car? Plane? Train? Family comes to get you? Friends drive you home?
- Consider if you want a city or country vibe, private or public university
- Ask around! Talk to family & friends and hear their opinions of the schools you’re looking at
- Look out for “the feeling”
Thank you for reading and happy choosing the right school for you!