It was at this exact moment during my senior year when I began to hate the college application process. Once you’ve narrowed down the list of schools you want to apply to and start going through their writing supplements, financial aid forms if you’re doing early action/decision, and revise your personal statement for the fifth time, you start to feel bogged down along with all your other school work and club involvements. When that uphill battle comes to a close you’ll have to tackle the FAFSA and the dreadful CSS Profile that will make you bug your parents about their finances to a point where they’ll become annoyed. Even though the college application process is arduous and frustrating, all it takes is effective use of time management and prioritization to get everything in. What’s more frightful to consider is how influential your decisions impact not only yourself but others. Gaining admission somewhere is a variable outside of one’s control and relies on various factors, however; this is when you take charge of your future and that decision begins a ripple effect for others around you. If you want to go away for school, then you need to calculate how much your family is willing to spend or how much loans you’ll need to cover the cost of attendance. If you get into your top choice but they give you little to no type of aid, then what’s next? Should you go public or private? These are all questions to consider as you start the process.

I knew I wanted to go away for college, but it wasn’t easy explaining to my father why I had to leave New York in order to get an outstanding education. That choice benefitted me in a selfish way of going to a prestigious school and cost my family to pay a little more than if I went to a CUNY or SUNY, but college is an investment that leads to better luck finding jobs and increased wages. My greatest fear going into my first semester at Boston College was not being able to afford to go. However, the beauty of applying to a private, selective school is that if you get in then you’ll be set,and even if you struggle during your first year you can always find ways to make the difference through scholarships, jobs, or in my case becoming a resident assistant.Everyone has different fears when they apply to college, but part of the process to find the school that best fits you is to discern your options. The most important thing to do is not to worry about partying or finding friends, but figuring out what a school does that makes you want to apply. Ask yourself the big questions on why are you applying, what you want out of that experience, and what kind of life would you live after graduating. You’ll become educated and receive job offers no matter where you choose to attend, but every school has a unique culture that shapes who you will be and what drives your ambition. Once you figure out what you want in for your future then you can come to understand which school would help best to develop the character needed to live the ideal life.