Flickr user Stanley Zimmy

In 2006, I graduated from high school and started attending SUNY New Paltz, where I would go on to major in English with a focus on creative writing. I wanted to share with you the process I went through and why I ended up choosing the college I did.

My Parents Got Involved

Very early on in my senior year, my parents pretty much carried the flame for my future college career. I was happy going to a 2 year college before going after my bachelor’s. This was for two reasons: To help them save money (they paid for my whole tuition) and to help ensure I wanted to major in English. However, they insisted I attend a 4 year college right off the bat.

I was pushed to start searching for colleges therefore, ones that my parents approved of and fit within a range of tuition my mom thought was acceptable (as I discussed in “How I Paid For College,” we weren’t quite entirely sure how tuition worked at some schools). I was also restricted to the immediate area, which really only included New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, so I was talked out of applying to any colleges in one of my favorite places: New Hampshire.

I’ll be honest: It got a bit tense at times with several different opinions between my parents and I and with family members or friends voicing their thoughts to my parents.

Where I Applied

In the end, I ended up applying to three schools: SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, and Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. I had been to New Paltz quite often as it was only 45 minutes away from our home. And Kutztown is located in an area our family often vacationed. I chose Albany as a third application, but my decision was already really between New Paltz or Kutztown when those applications went out.

My Decision

I was accepted to all three, and I quickly wrote off Albany. I was not impressed with the city and wasn’t familiar with the area. It was between New Paltz and Kutztown. After a few weeks, I ended up settling on New Paltz because Kutztown just didn’t ‘feel right’ for me. When I was on the SUNY campus, I had a feeling that this was it. This was the right choice.

I had grown up going to New Paltz and the nearby preserves of Mohonk and Minnewaska. I was familiar with the area and comfortable there. I wasn’t far away from my family, it was well known for the major and focus I wanted to pursue, and the city was definitely an enjoyable one on top of beautiful views in the fall.

You could almost say my decision was a gut feeling. When I visited SUNY New Paltz after receiving the acceptance letter, it felt like the right choice immediately. In the end, choosing New Paltz was a very easy decision, but the process of getting to that point was a bit more stressful!

Looking back now, I definitely wish I had known more about the application process and had a little more freedom on where I could apply. I probably still would have attended SUNY New Paltz, but I would have loved to have a few more options.

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