You know when you are in junior high/early high school and you have to take the PSAT? Well after you take it, and if you do well, you start getting a whole bunch of junk from colleges that want to recruit you because you are oh so smart. Well unbeknownst to my dad I returned every damn info card I got in the mail. Every. Single. One.
I got hundreds.
Why would I do this? Well I knew I wanted to go somewhere in life. I wanted to venture out into the big wide world and DO SOMETHING. Something important. And getting out into the world and doing something important would most likely not happen if I stayed in Indiana and went to IU, IUPUI or Purdue like my high school friends. I needed to get OUT of Indiana. So why not send postcards out all over the wide berth of the US? Sounded good to me.
My dad was so angry with the amount of mail I was getting. Hehe.
Here was my system of selecting a college:
1. Get postcard or small letter-y type thing telling me about some fabulous college far from Indiana in 200 words or less.
2. Fill out postcard saying "YES! I would like more information about your far away college. Please bury me in mail."
3. Get a much bigger and more in-depth mailing about far-flung college with pictures and lots of words describing whether or not it was cool.
4. Look at materials the college sent and decide if they were lame or not. This was a somewhat random process. Mostly I looked to see where they were (no where too cold or snowy, e.g. Minnesota), whether or not they had been sneaky with their first mailing and they were secretly a religious college (No Jesus freak schools for me), and if they seemed hippie and random enough (I can't be somewhere all stuffy and strict). Lame schools went into the trash and good enough schools went into the maybe pile.
5. The maybe pile got pretty big. I had to go back through and apply more strict standards. Not really too sure what these standards were, but they were obviously important at the time.
6. I somehow managed to whittle it down to 3 schools (plus IUPUI which was my safety school). I applied to all 4 and waited. Eventually got accepted to 3 and waitlisted at 1. Decided if they thought I was only waitlist material I hated them anyway and I'd rather drop dead than attend their school. So I really had two decisions.
7. Since I am a procrastinator extraordinare I waited until like April (when most of my peers already decided where they were going and had plunked down deposits) to start realizing I needed to really pick one. So I packed up on two marathon road trips. My dad got to go to Florida with me (and this is where we had the 18 hour drive where we spoke barely at all) and my mom got to go to Pennsylvania with me.
8. The Florida school had managed to be sneaky through all of their materials. They turned out to be way too strict and too religious. Yuck. Nevermind.
9. Luckily my Pennsylvania choice turned out to be PERFECT. Since they had bombarded me with lots of mail and even phone calls I had already had a sneaky suspicion that I would love them. I was right. It was a glorious trip and I had found my perfect school. My dad continued to be annoyed that I chose a school 8 hours away. He bought me a car so he didn't have to drive to Pennsylvania again until I graduated. WIN!
Turns out Juniata was the best random decision I ever made. If I had to go back and do it all over again I wouldn't have changed a thing. The experience I had at Juniata really shaped who I am today and of course who I am today is AWESOME. I was confident in my haphazard system and it worked out for me. Don't let anyone boss you and tell you that you are not making informed and sensible decisions. Sometimes wacky systems turn out to work well. Just be fearless and confident that you'll find your way.