It wasn’t by choice.
I attended an elite boarding school in Massachusetts (via scholarship, thank you very much) for the sole purpose of attending Harvard. I loved Boston, and I had dreams of going to a place where my intelligence would be respected, not mocked.
When I started applying to schools in the fall, my GPA was high and I had a ton of extracurriculars. Things looked good, but my parents, who had just moved to Michigan for work, insisted I plan out some alternatives. Of course. Thankfully, they had moved to a place with a great in-state school; even when I applied to U of M, I didn’t dread the idea of going. It just wasn’t in my top five.
I actually got into the school early (December), and then had to wait three months to hear about my other choices. Finally, the day came ‘ and Harvard rejected me. My next plan, the University of Pennsylvania, hit a snag when they offered no financial aid. Ditto with Northwestern. Finally, I realized not only was I going to Michigan, but I had no choice ‘ and I may never have had one.
It turns out, going to boarding school, even on a good scholarship, can strain a middle-class family. When it came time to go to college, I basically had one good choice. Thankfully, I got in.
And you know what? I believe I had a better time and learned more about myself there than if I had gone to Harvard or Penn. There was more diversity, more fun, more school spirit at UM than I’ve seen at a lot of other schools.