In honor of decision day very quickly approaching, I would like to share with you all my journey and how I decided where I wanted to go to school.

When in high school, it was understood between me and my parents that I would go to the state school and live at home. It was the cheapest option and quite frankly the only one we could afford – or thought we could afford. The summer going into my senior year I received a post card from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) inviting me to schedule an interview. Although private school was definitely not on my mind at the moment, my mother encouraged me to go for the interview anyways. So, I picked out my nicest dress and headed to a local coffee shop to meet an Assistant Admissions Director. While talking with her and explaining my interests and academic achievements, her eyes lit up. She told me at my interview that she wished she could take me back with her at that very moment. She also explained to me scholarship and financial aid opportunities that HWS provided for students. This got me thinking more about the possibility of private schools.

When completing common applications, I added more and more schools that helped high achieving students who needed financial aid – keeping HWS at a special place in my heart. Finally, when all the acceptances and financial aid packages came in, I was torn between two schools. I kept going back and forth, weighing pros and cons, and feeling anxious about making the right choice throughout the month of April. Just as I thought I had decided on a different school, I received one more invitation from HWS – this time I was able to go to that same local coffee shop and meet other accepted students from my area. After this gathering, my choice became clear: HWS was home. When I thought of the school it just felt like where I belonged. And it is still true as I finish my sophomore year here at the colleges.

HWS has given me so much support, especially through the First-Generation College initiative. I am so grateful for all the opportunities and friends I have made so far. The biggest advice I can give to those seniors who are making those final decisions is to go where it feels like home. That is where you will flourish.