go to the school that you fit in best, where you feel like you’ll be the most engaged and excited.
After numerous campus visits, Politicalprof only applied to two schools: Wake Forest and Appalachian State. My academic credentials more than qualified me for Davidson College, North Carolina, Duke and lots of others, but I didn’t feel good when I visited those places: Davidson was too close to home; North Carolina was too big for my taste at that time (and going there griped me because EVERYBODY WANTED TO GO THERE!!!!); and Duke was, well, Gothic. And GREEK.
In the end, I was admitted to both Wake Forest and Appalachian … and chose Appalachian. It was in the mountains; it was eclectic; it was a bit of a hippie school: I loved it. Wake was too Greek and too expensive — I would have been both socially awkward there and felt guilty about the money I and my parents were spending. Plus, I was going to be part of an Honors program at Appalachian that was building up. I felt valued. I did not get the same feel at Wake.
Were there consequences? No doubt. Had I wanted to stay in NC, UNC would have been THE choice: that’s where all the wannabe movers and shakers go. But I muddled through Appalachian somehow, emerging with NO DEBT (in the 1980s, admittedly) and a full scholarship and stipend for graduate study at a minor school called Vanderbilt University.
I did fine. So will you. You can get a good education almost anywhere. You just have to want that good education instead of a stamp on a job training certificate.
Could not second this any more if I tried…