How I Chose My College: “The Stars Aligned”

when the stars align

Flickr user Phil Roeder

I only applied to one school. As my high school friends went on college visits, compared campuses, and drafted applications to multiple schools around the country, I had my sights set on just one: the University of Iowa. People are often surprised when I tell them I only applied to Iowa, given that on average a student applies to about 8 different colleges. It’s like when the stars align; I was lucky—I knew U Iowa was my perfect fit years before I even had to apply.

The Stars Align: My Perfect College Fit

I always joke that the “stars aligned” when it came to the University of Iowa being my ideal college. My mom, aunt, and two cousins had gone to U Iowa, so I was a Hawkeye football fan from birth. The campus was only an hour and a half from my hometown, which meant family was always nearby. I’d visited Iowa City frequently throughout my life, and fell in love with it almost immediately. Before I knew what I wanted to study, U Iowa was already on my list of considerations.

Majors and Programs

In middle school, I flip-flopped from wanting to be a marine biologist or a writer. After attending a creative writing summer camp at the University of Iowa, I was sold. Iowa’s English and Creative Writing programs are some of the best in the world. It’s home to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Iowa City is a UNESCO City of Literature.

U Iowa was perfect for the major I wanted to pursue, as well as having the resources and contacts that could help me further my future dream career.

My Important Factors

When considering a college, the most important thing for me was the major. English is a common one, but Creative Writing is a bit more niche, and I wanted to find a program that was well-known and impressive.

I also didn’t have a great desire to move out of the Midwest. All of my family lives here, and I really loved my home state.

The cost wasn’t the biggest factor for us, but the fact that the University of Iowa was an in-state public school that offered me a few scholarships for those summer programs definitely allayed my concerns about finances.

I Still Regret Not Looking Elsewhere

Even though I’m 110% certain U Iowa was the right college for me, I still look back at my application process with some regret. I never really considered anywhere else, and constantly wonder what I might have found if I’d looked at other schools.

I do encourage students to explore their options, and if College Raptor had been around when I was in high school, I definitely would have taken advantage of their personalized college match tool, to see what other colleges might have been a good fit for me.