Things to Look For

Deciding where to go to college is an immense undertaking. However, my experience has taught me a few strategies that can make choosing the right school a little easier.

Everyone has different goals when it comes to college. What I focus on might not be what is important to you, and that is all right. Therefore, I suggest taking what is important to you and leaving the rest.

Study Away Opportunities

Study away was a priority to me when deciding where to go to college. I did an exchange in high school in Paris, and I was eager to return there. NYU has the largest study away program in the United States, hands down, which heavily impacted my college decision. Throughout my time at NYU, I spent three semesters abroad (two in Paris, one in Madrid).

Access to Internships and Higher Education

At the time of my college applications, I truly had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise. However, I knew that I wanted to be in an environment that would allow me to succeed. Situated in the middle of New York City, NYU is an ideal school to search for jobs and internships. After changing my major five times (yes, I know), I figured out what I wanted to do (clinical psychology). NYU helped me get a research gig to help me prepare for graduate school.

A Diverse, Vibrant Student Body
“I wanted to surround myself with bold individuals. People who are eager to jump out of their comfort zone. Students who come from all walks of life and who aren’t afraid to make bold academic and social change.”

Another thing that was on my mind when I was deciding where to go to school was the student population. Like high school, many of the important lessons you learn in college happen outside of the classroom. I knew that I wanted to surround myself with bold individuals. People who are eager to jump out of their comfort zone. Students who come from all walks of life and who aren’t afraid to make bold academic and social change. This was one of the reasons I was drawn to NYU. It has the highest international student population in the States as well as sweeping academic diversity and seemingly endless creative outlets.

As a senior looking back on my time at NYU, I think it’s worth noting that there are many things that have become integral to my college experience that I didn’t even consider when I committed. For example, playing lacrosse, being involved in Greek life, and working as a tour guide. College is a learning and growing experience, so my advice is to look for a school that will push you out of your comfort zone. I guarantee you will not be able to predict exactly what your experience will look like, but you will be able to tell if a school speaks to you. Listen to your gut.

A group of college lacrosse players on a turf field.
Finding friends at college is about joining different social circles. Here are some lacrosse guys who are also members of my fraternity and coworkers at the NYU Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Why NYU? My Story

When I applied to college, I truly had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, so I submitted applications all over the country. When it came down to deciding on a college, my decision was between a school in Southern California and NYU. While touring the SoCal school, I received the email that I had been accepted to NYU. I showed the email to my mother and then proceeded to put my phone away. At the time, staying in California seemed like the move. I would be close to home (a few hours drive away from the Bay Area) and many of my high school friends were going to school nearby too.

However, on the car ride back home to the Bay Area, my mother—a very intelligent woman—insisted that I read the full email before making my choice. And I was like, “Fine, Maura, I’ll read the full email.”

The email said, “Congratulations, you have been accepted to NYU on the condition that you spend your first year studying away at NYU Paris through the Liberal Studies Core program.”

And the rest was history.

Deciding where to go to college is a complex and difficult choice. I hope at least part of this article helped you out. Best of luck!

Liam hails from the one and only Bay Area, Northern California. A rising senior studying Romance Languages (French and Spanish) and Psychology, Liam plans on pursuing a career in child psychology with an emphasis on non-anglophone populations. He competes on the NYU Lacrosse team and is a huge Philz coffee fanatic.