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

StanfordBaeAre…
Stanford ‘20


Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCSD, UCLA, UC Davis

I am a Frosh at Stanford studying studying engineering (computer science or other types) with a (possible) minor in the humanities. Go Trees!!!
ArkBuilder
Stanford ‘20


Accepted to Stanford, Wheaton, Pomona

I love languages, exercising, and eating!
MichaelR
Columbia ‘20


Accepted to Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Rice, UMich, UCLA, UNC, UT Austin, Washington, Ohio State, UCSD

Midwestern kid who loves molecular biology and electronic dance music. Let me help you edit your essays!
mouse43
Yale ‘20


Accepted to Yale, UMich, Cornell, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB

Here to mentor and guide you!

New Posts

USC Merit-Based Scholarships You Should Know About
USC Merit-Based Scholarships You Should Know About
October 16, 2017

Worried about how you can afford to attend a private university? If you’re applying to the University of Southern California, there are a few merit-based scholarships you should know to alleviate the cost. As...

Student Insight: What to Expect from College Interviews
Student Insight: What to Expect from College Interviews
October 13, 2017

Not sure what to expect from a college interview? We asked 5 students to share their college interview experiences with you. First thing you should know about college interviews is that they are not required. More...

Load More Posts