You probably wanted a simple answer, but that’s not really how I roll.
Before I even started applying to colleges, I really wanted to stay in-state, mostly because I knew by then that I could not handle the cold very gracefully, but also because it would be closer to home.
I only applied to a few out-of-state schools- you know, “dream schools,” which really means “in your dreams schools.” Although they weren’t really my dream schools, since, like I said, I wanted to stay in-state. But my family countered, “You can’t let weather determine where you go…”
Actually, I can. A lot of people do. But whatever.
In any case, I only felt like I really wanted to go to those schools AFTER I had invested hours and many dollars on them.
Which made it much more difficult when they inevitably rejected me.
I also applied to several in-state schools: the ones I knew I’d get into- UT Austin, A&M, Baylor- and the one that I probably wanted to be accepted into the most- Rice.
Before I had decided on a major, I wanted to go to Baylor, because I would get a full-ride, what with National Merit fancy stuff. But then I decided on chemical engineering, and my sister’s alma mater was no longer my first choice- they didn’t even have a ChE program. Smh.
So why’d I even bother applying? Well, because the Baylor application is devilishly easy, and, best of all, free, so I figured, why not?
Time went on, and I got my acceptances into the programs I had applied to at the schools I knew I’d get into. This was good- I mean, it wasn’t guaranteed that I’d get into my chosen major, even if I was guaranteed admission. I have to be honest, though- this thinking about how that wasn’t guaranteed is much more apparent now in retrospect. I definitely took it more for granted at the time.
Then I waited and waited for April to roll around for my Rice admission decision.
But then things happened in this time period. I got accepted into the Engineering Honors Program at UT, and got money with that acceptance to boot. This made me feel much more positive about going to UT, something I had long considered a “back-up school”. After all, an honors program isn’t necessarily a back-up, right? That means I had been admitted into something that wasn’t automatic. And money! Money is good! It also helped that somebody that I thought was quite brilliant had not been accepted into the honors program.
Then, I found out a bit more statistics about these schools. UT ChE was high on the list- 6 or 7 at the time! (I just looked it up, and it seems to have fallen quite a bit. Oh well.) Highest in the state, for sure, even if it was behind MIT and Stanford- something I couldn’t really do anything about. Seeing this made me think that UT was really my top choice, even if I got accepted into Rice. Shocker!
I also came to wrestle with the astounding cost of college. I really didn’t get any scholarships beyond what each school offered me, so with a cross between cost and ranking, UT started to really shine.
You may ask why A&M gets so little a mention. After all, though they may not give as much as Baylor for National Merit status, it was infinitely more than what UT offered- none. There was also more money in addition to that, I am pretty sure. To be honest, while the ranking played quite a role in that, there is something to be said about being accepted into a program that not everybody gets into. While not everyone gets into the TAMU honors program, either, I did not even have to apply for it. I just automatically qualified for it. So maybe, ultimately, it was my own pettiness that raised UT above TAMU in my decision.
Alas, April showers came and brought… Okay no, I don’t think it rained. So no May flowers. It did bring the Rice letter, though. I opened it, and…
Yeah, I did not want to be waitlisted. I had been essentially waitlisted for some stupid hospital internship program before, and that just resulted in being left in the dust. Besides, I had already waited so long, and was not about to wait another few months. And what with my perception of UT being ever on the rise, Rice didn’t seem all that awesome anymore.
So without further ado, I said no thank you to those shenanigans, and decided upon UT.