Choosing a college is not necessarily choosing a direction for your life, it’s choosing to be open-minded.
In my experience, every decision I made in the college search process was blown way out of proportion by those around me. When I decided how many times I was going to take the SAT (twice), people thought it represented how dedicated I was. When I told people where I was applying, people thought it represented how smart I thought I was. And when I finally chose a school, people seemed to think it would determine the course of the rest of my life.
And the decision is determining the course of my life. But not in a way I could have predicted when I was standing in your shoes 3 years ago.
I joined a community that encouraged me to follow my passions no matter how far-fetched. I formed a close relationship with a professor of religion I met during my first year. Now I want to be a professor of Religion. If I had gone to a different college, maybe I would have met a professor who encouraged me to study philosophy, or maybe my friends would have encouraged me to get involved with politics or to become a teacher. I don’t know, and I can’t know.
I was a student who got into schools that were “higher ranked” than Tufts. So when I picked Tufts over those schools, people didn’t understand. I was making
“the wrong choice.”
But you can’t predict, and neither can those around you, the influence your first-year advisor will have on you, how your roommate will push you, and which class will change your life. You will push yourself out of your comfort zone, and redefine your identity, your goals and your future. You can’t know how you will, but you will.
You’re being asked to make a life-altering decision with limited information about how it’s going to alter you.
I could have compared schools based on numbers and all sorts of things like that (and believe me I tried), but those considerations didn’t really help me decide. I simply felt at home on the Tufts campus. People are happy, and welcoming, and passionate, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. I knew this place would push me. I just knew.
Sometimes your heart is smarter than your head, or at least more decisive. Let it lead you, and you’ll be happier for it. Listen to that voice. Some of you will come to Tufts. Some of you won’t.
Feel free to e-mail me or comment below if you want to quiz me further on my experience. I know this isn’t easy, and I’m happy to help. Good luck, and happy deciding!