Well, it’s midterms, folks, and high school seniors (like my sister Emily) are probably getting a little concerned as to where exactly they’ll be this time next year. My own journey to Fontbonne was an irregular, weird, and stressful one (i.e., it was JULY before I picked a school), so I don’t feel qualified to give you any advice on choosing a college. I just don’t have any idea of the normal course of action for doing so. (But, I CAN tell you that if you decide mid-summer that you want to go to a different school, just call the school up and ask if you can come. It worked all 3 times I did it that summer. (And I’m very serious when I say don’t be like me when you grow up.))
There’s a lot of pressure during the senior year of high school to a) go to college (trust me, not everyone does, despite the assumptions of school guidance counselors and your peers) and b) go to a certain school or a certain type of school (private, “party,” out-of-state, etc.). My advice is this: Even though the Disney channel puts a lot of emphasis on being all kinds of awesome your senior year of high school because that’s how everyone will remember you at your 40-year reunion, this “wisdom” (i.e., stupidity) doesn’t apply AT ALL when it comes to making your decisions about college.
It is absolutely critical that when you go to pick a school, you base your decision on your own personal situation, and not upon what your classmates will think of you if you go with one school over another. You owe it to yourself to choose the school/lifestyle that will benefit you the most over the long-run.
This may mean taking a year off, or going to a community college and getting your general education requirements finished off while you figure out what you want to do in life, or living at home and going to school in your hometown as opposed to going to an out-of-state school. Everybody has a different life situation, and you need to choose the option that will work out the best for you. (And ask your parents for help. Even if you’re their first brush with applying to college, they know you well and they can help you figure this stuff out. Just don’t be rude to them, like me.)
It may be rough when you tell people the choice you’ve made and they give you all kinds of flack about how “College was the best 4 years of my life when I went to (some school)!” and imply that you’re just making that choice because you’re afraid of new things or you can’t stand up to your parents. It may be really annoying and depressing when your friends are picking out towels for their dorm rooms (Yes, I was jealous of my friends because they got to buy new towels for school and I didn’t because I didn’t need them.) or deciding what they’re going to name their new pet fish. But, throughout it all, have confidence in the choice you’ve made because although it’s not popular, it’s right for you and it’s going to pay off in the end. Long-term dividends, I believe it’s called. Go after the long-term dividends, not the 4 years of crazy, even though that’s the hard (but mature!) choice to make.
And know that, as always, I’ve got your back. : )