The College Decision Process According to Caitlin Harrison

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Question: When you began looking at colleges, did you have some particular qualities in mind you wanted from the schools?

Answer: When I started looking at colleges, I thought I wanted to go to a smaller, Jesuit college.  I also wanted a school that was on the east coast but not too close to home.

 Q: Does visiting a college make a big difference in deciding if you would still want to go there as opposed to just researching it and hearing about it? What impact does a college visit have on your final choice?

 A: Visiting colleges had a huge impact on my decision. A lot of people told me that they thought Loyola Maryland would be the perfect school for me, but when I visited I just really did not like it. On the other hand, I wasn’t really considering Syracuse as a top choice for me before my visit, but when I got there I ended up really liking it and applying.

Q: How did you narrow down your choices? Was this difficult or did you have an easy time doing so?

A: I narrowed down my choices by considering which schools would both challenge me and allow me to enjoy my four years there. For most of the college decision process I didn’t have a number one, or really any schools that I could see myself attending, so narrowing down my choices was really hard.

Q: What was the deciding factor to go to Syracuse?

 A: I spent four days up there in the spring and really enjoyed myself. After that, it was the only school I could see myself attending.

Q: Were you surprised by your final decision? 

A:  I was definitely surprised by my decision. At the beginning of the year Syracuse wasn’t even an option for me because I thought I wanted a small, Catholic school. Syracuse is the opposite: large and non-denominational private. I only went to visit because a friend was going and I wanted to make sure I kept my options open.

Q:  Any advice for next year’s seniors?

 A:  Work on your college essays during the summer, especially the Common App essay. I didn’t, and that was a huge mistake. It really takes up a lot of time, and you don’t want to have to be doing that with all your other schoolwork, too. Also, keep your options open and visit different kinds of schools.

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