Recently, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with my college decision. I go to an incredibly competitive high school, and over a quarter of students go to Ivy Leagues and other “T20s” (I strongly dislike the term), with many others going to other very prestigious and well-known schools. I see everyone being so excited about college and posting pictures with merch all over, and I just don’t feel the same way.
Like many others, I experienced some major disappointments with college decisions this year. I know people keep saying that you should get really excited about the school you’re going to, but I just can’t. I feel like I didn’t do enough throughout high school; I realized too late how much is “expected” from high schoolers in order to get into prestigious colleges. I constantly feel like I didn’t do enough, that I should have studied harder and done more extracurriculars.
At the same time, I’m privileged in many ways, so I feel like there’s no reason why I didn’t do these things.
I’m going to Occidental, which is a great school. However, it wasn’t near the top of my list, and I basically applied there as a “likely” (my school uses reach, possible, likely, and safety). I know that prestige and reputation don’t really matter in the long run, but I keep seeing people recommending other, more “prestigious” colleges to those who are making a decision between them and Oxy. I wish I applied to more LACs (I applied to a few of the Claremont Colleges and Carleton), but I was rejected/waitlisted at all of them. Oxy was the only LAC I was actually accepted to, and I received a merit scholarship (which is nice, since I don’t get any need-based aid).
Just a bit of background on my future plans: I’m planning on majoring in something like physics, which Oxy isn’t necessarily known for (they’re good for things like international relations and biology from what I’ve heard). I know that students can take classes at Caltech, which might be nice. I also think I want to go to grad school, but probably just for a Masters. I think that I want to go into climate science.
How can I move on and stop focusing on what I could or should have done? I want to start over and have a great college experience. Any advice?