Applying for colleges is only a fraction of the stress of college; the next step is the choose which one to attend.<br />Photo Credit: Jordan Sutton

Applying for colleges is only a fraction of the stress of college; the next step is the choose which one to attend.
Photo Credit: Jordan Sutton

After a summer of working, going on vacations, and spending time with my family, I realized senior year was approaching sooner than I thought and the stress of college applications was steadily increasing everyday. I decided it was time to crack down and start looking at all my options. I have to be completely ready to apply to colleges, possibly early acceptance applications.

Since I was 5 years old my grandparents have been depositing money into a college savings fund especially for me; but, there’s a catch. Their daughter, and my aunt, attended the University of North Carolina and they have expected me to follow the footsteps of her legacy. UNC is known for being a prestigious school with its beautiful, brick buildings and top-notch professors. Why would anyone NOT want to attend such a great university?

I’ve always been a good student, not valedictorian status, but I would say, slightly above average. School does come as a challenge for me which is somewhat discouraging when I look at some of the other undergraduates who have been accepted to UNC- students who can take four AP classes in a year with no problem. If I took four AP classes in one year, my brain would explode.

Ever since I moved to Las Vegas, the number of colleges and possibilities have grown significantly. Why should I leave now, after only being here for 3 years, when UNLV, a great university, is only a few miles away? Not only that, but there are amazing financial possibilities such as the Western Undergraduate Exchange program that allows me to attend certain schools in certain western states for prices almost equivalent to in-state tuition. Even though I once lived in North Carolina, I would not receive in-state tuition rates at UNC for a wide range of different reasons that has to do with taxes rather than if I have lived there before or not. I have hundreds of potential colleges to consider in the near future and it is time to start narrowing down my options with the pros and cons.

The Western Undergraduate Exchange program helps with my search of schools outside of Nevada which allows me look for schools in nearby states without piling on loans to pay off for the next 20 years. California has wonderful colleges; UCLA, USC, Berkeley, and many others are under my consideration. Arizona schools, such as NAU, are affordable and close to home. Colorado State University has a decent reputation and I also have a friend who attends the school. There are benefits for every college, but I will work hard this coming school year and apply to as many schools as possible. Once I’m accepted, I think the decision will come easier than I expect it to.

On the other hand, Las Vegas’ local university, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has a wide range of majors that fall into my career possibilities and offer a study abroad program which are both very important in my college search. UNLV is not the only school that offers these programs, but I have finally established a life here. I have a potential management job lined up at my current workplace once I turn 18, so I would not have to worry about job searching. Although, I am a teenager that is looking forward to moving out and starting all over in a brand new place.

Let’s say I do receive acceptance from the University of North Carolina. What if I have an even greater opportunity lying in the west, financially and personally? All in all, I know that in the end I will choose what is absolutely best for me. As I have heard a million times, I should do what I want and not what others expect of me. Hearing your grandmother say how happy she would be to see me wearing Carolina Blue does not make my decisions any less difficult. Wish me luck.