First Impressions: How I narrowed down schools to apply to after visiting 16!

April 06, 2014

Makena is one of our interns and a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. In this post, she shares her experience visiting schools, and how she narrowed down her choices to just three schools!

I visited schools throughout the first half of my junior year of high school.  I visited 16 schools, all of which are private universities. Most of them were “reach” schools for me, with the other few being backups - I did not visit many “just right” schools.  

As I visited, I paid most attention to the feeling of the campus and of the people who I met while visiting.  I definitely cared about the resources, opportunities, facilities, and other typical features that students typically look for, but what I really cared about was which school felt most like my future home. I ended up falling in love with three universities: Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova University.  

I loved the old feel of Columbia’s campus, combined with the bustle of modern New York City all around me. Academically, I really connected to the core curriculum and the theory behind it.  Similarly, I loved the feel of Penn’s campus and the people I met there.  Again, I really liked the liberal arts curriculum that runs through the undergraduate schools within Penn.  Penn also had some of the best business resources available to me, which was important as I had begun to seriously consider a business education.  

Villanova was my backup, but I liked it as well.  The suburban feel wasn’t quite as appealing to me as the bustle that surrounds Columbia and Penn’s campuses, but I could see myself living there. Villanova also has a great business school, and an honors program I could take part in.

Ultimately, I applied only to these three schools, as I felt that I shouldn’t apply to a university where I didn’t feel at home.  For that reason, my college visits were arguably one of the most important aspects of my college search, and I have no doubt that my visits to Penn are a large part of why I now attend school here.

Read more about Makena on her Admit Profile!



Browse Successful Application Files

uhoh29
JHU ‘19


Accepted to JHU, Cornell, Northeastern, Fordham, UMD, Wisconsin, Temple

Senior Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins majoring in English and Writing Seminars
lamborghinibea…
USC ‘19


Accepted to UC Davis, UCLA, UCSD, USC, Emory, UMich, UNC, Pepperdine

Although very hardworking, I love to socialize with friends and make time to just relax. Also, I've always been interested in cars and working in the business aspect of the automotive industry.
b_rod
Harvard ‘20


Accepted to Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, UVA

Lover of physics, math, and chess. Football player and bass player. California born and raised.
hannah626
Duke ‘18


Accepted to UGA

I am a current junior at Duke studying biology, marine science, and markets and management studies

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