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!



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jackmac401
USC ‘19


Accepted to USC, UMich, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Swarthmore, CMU, NYU, Vassar, Reed, Kenyon, UC Davis, Syracuse, CU, Fordham, Santa Clara, CSU Chico, CSUF, UC Riverside , UCSB, UCSC, Bard

Theater/business double major from classic and online highschool background. Here to help navigate audition and business interview processes! On full tuition scholarship
niustephanie
Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, MIT, GA Tech

STEM outreach enthusiast. Poet. Programmer. Advocate for women in STEM.
elle2020
Brown ‘20


Accepted to Brown, UPenn, Wellesley, Kenyon, Macalester, Holyoke, Harvard, Bowdoin

Just another girl finally through the college apps rat race. I'm happy to share with you what I did to get through it! Currently I'm pre-law and possibly majoring in Public Policy.
yuzhushi
UMD ‘20


Accepted to UMD, JHU, Duke, Case, Swarthmore, Penn State

I am a recent high school grad about to enter my first year of college at the University of Maryland: College Park with a full Banneker/Key scholarship.

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