I started my college application process with one goal in mind: I was going to Boston College, no matter what. I had a great ACT score, a great GPA, I attended every admissions information session I could, I had a letter written on my behalf by a prestigious alumnus, I had visited twice, I applied early action, and I had coffee with an admissions representative. I wanted to become a BC Eagle desperately.
I sent in my enrollment deposit to the University of Wisconsin Madison on January 26.
At first, when I was deferred into the regular pool of applicants at BC, tears were shed. I folded up my BC apparel and shoved it in the back of my drawers. The five other college acceptance letters hanging on my wall meant nothing to me. I basically took my deferral as a rejection. I was a Providence Academy student, surrounded by others my age applying to and getting accepted into highly ranked private universities, and I couldn’t compare.
Then, I realized something. I had previously thought that the prestige that comes with the name of a university automatically elevated my worth as a student at Providence. I had to look beyond the name and examine if the school really fit my needs. And, once I did that, I realized that University of Wisconsin Madison was where I would be happiest.
For McKenna Happke ’14, choosing the public North Dakota State University over the private Loyola University Chicago was an easy decision.
She said that she chose to attend a public school because she wanted to make choices herself regarding classes. Specifically, she didn’t want to be forced to take a religion class.
“I like the environment at public schools better than at private schools. People have more open views, and it’ll be cool to meet more people with wider views,” she said. “I’ll be able to defend my views like I have been taught to do at Providence.”
I do not mean to portray Ivey Leagues or private universities in a bad light. I know that they offer a stellar education, and the majority of people attending are very happy. I just know that personally, I belong at a public university.
UW Madison is where I have grown up because my grandparents live twenty minutes away and have immersed me in the Badger lifestyle since I was born. I’ve slept in the dorms, eaten in the cafeterias, sat in the classrooms, and cheered in the fan section at the football games. My father and my aunt attended, as well as my grandmother who also happened to teach classes there. There are 4,000 courses offered, honors programs, research opportunities, service projects, study abroad programs, 800 student organizations, Greek Life, and it’s all for an affordable price. I am so excited because I know that I will be able to explore boundless opportunities at a place not too far from home.
I know it’s cheesy to say, but I was born to go to Madison. Trying to force Boston College upon myself was only bringing unnecessary stress upon my life, and I now see that getting that deferral letter was a complete blessing. My happiness and excitement to go to college in the fall has skyrocketed since making my decision.