College Picking: A Not Quite Comprehensive Guide

Eileen Hoang

In the gloriously wet month of October there abounds college visits to Harriton. I’m a senior, which means that I should probably be thinking about college. I’ve been known to procrastinate when it comes to things like this.

“So what schools are you thinking about?”


This happens to me a lot.

I didn’t really know what I was doing. Going into my senior year with the level of college planning that I did (very little, for those of you who don’t know me) felt a bit like trying to edge my way into a race when I was already miles behind because my shoes were untied.

“Well then,” I thought. “I guess I ought to do some research.”

It was not easy. Attempting to pore over the vast number of available options was a bit like trying to pick out the individual hairs on my arm with my fingernails. It was a process that was painful, time-consuming, and definitely not my idea of fun.

“Okay,” I thought at this point, trying to convince myself that I was simply breathing heavily and not hyperventilating. “This is totally fine. I didn’t want to go to college anyway. Maybe this is all just fate, and I really am supposed to run away from home and raise exotic show cats as a living.”

This also happens to me quite frequently, for those of you who haven’t gotten used to not knowing me.

It took some time and effort, but I managed to pick a few schools that I liked. I thought, “Great! And now I should go check them out in person.”

So I did. I should warn you beforehand. I’m an exception in that unlike most people, I’m not looking to go very far from home. I’m also rather lazy, so I visited three colleges, all within half an hour driving distance from my house. This is not especially typical of most Harriton students that I know. Forewarned is forearmed.

I visited colleges, and I kind of wanted to have an epiphany in the process. Many people say that when you step foot onto the campus of the right college, you will know. The universe will light up and the heavens will open. An angel will float down from the skies and whisper in your ear that this is where you belong.

For those who are not so fortunate to have spiritual encounters as described above, college visits can be even more confusing. Although I was disillusioned regarding the belief that simply walking around a school campus would point me in the right direction as to the right decision, I did not expect that the differences between each school would manifest themselves so distinctly through the physical nature of any particular university or college.

This is not the most informative article. I haven’t even touched on the topic at hand in the manner of those glossy informative pamphlets that lurk all over the Harriton grounds (I think this would get me a 3 on an AP English essay).

If nothing else, take away this piece of knowledge: College is a big decision. It will decide where you will live, what you will study, and possibly even what kind of person you will become four years following graduation. Yet, young grasshopper, it’s only one of the many decisions that you will make that will have a profound impact on the rest of your life. You will make this decision.

Well, if all else fails, you can always join the circus.