Over Spring Break, I had the opportunity to return home and visit friends who attend universities in California. I was able see into the lives of both those who attended public and private universities. These visits gave me a glimpse into the life I would have had if I had chosen to attend such universities.
When I was going through the application process, I did not have the opportunity to visit or stay overnight at many of the colleges that I applied to. The only college I stayed at overnight was Rice, and this definitely impacted my decision to come here. Visiting colleges, and specifically staying overnight, can give you a completely different view of a college and the ability to more personally judge the fit of a college for you.
However, when visiting colleges, there is often a great deal of importance placed on the food and the dorms. Take this information with a grain of salt. For example, when visiting my friends back home, some of them had very nice dorm rooms and great food but talked about how their classes had hundreds of people or how crowded the libraries are or even difficulty getting transfer credit.
When looking at colleges, it is important to look at the full picture, the academic life, the social life, and the personal life. Visit as many colleges as possible and talk to the students there. Get as much first-hand information as possible and gauge your judgement of each college personally. Things read or seen online may not necessarily reflect what you experience at a college.
Although I enjoyed visiting my friends, seeing their lives in their respective colleges reaffirmed my decision to choose Rice. I would encourage all of you that can to come and visit Rice and get a glimpse into our lives.