For me, the college application process was an exciting time to think about my future; though it was, at times, grueling and stressful. In the end, however, I was thrilled to commit to University of Massachusetts Amherst. Here are some of my reasons why I chose to go to UMass Amherst!
1. Distance from home–but not too much!
At the beginning of my senior year, I very much wanted to be far away from home–my top choice, at first, was Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, more than a thousand miles away. As time went on, however, I began to realize the benefits of studying close to home, and remembered all the reasons why I absolutely love Massachusetts. Two hours away from my home in Greater Boston, UMass is far enough that my parents wouldn’t drop in, but close enough that coming home won’t be a hassle.
2. The benefits of a large, public university.
In-state tuition, anyone?! We have the opportunity to take classes at private, world-renowned colleges such as Amherst and Smith, and not break the bank while doing so. Score! There is also every activity or club under the sun there. I’m psyched to try out things I’ve never done before, like sketch comedy! There are also a variety of dance groups I’m excited to explore. Personally, I went to a little private high school in Boston. While there was a great variety of classes, nothing can compare to the massive course catalog that UMass Amherst offers. The student body at my high school is very small, which brings me to my next point…
3. Many, many more people.
There were less than 150 students at my school, and just 26 in my grade–I’m serious! My public school friends can’t believe it. While I loved it there, there are a limited number of people to be friends with, obviously, and the vast majority of us have very similar political views and cultural backgrounds. Though I definitely fit the profile of an average student and fit in well, part of what I look forward to most in college is meeting people with different views and backgrounds, and engaging in more debates. Part of being an adult is knowing how to interact with all types of people. College will, in some ways, still be somewhat of a bubble, but I’m hoping it will be a bit thinner.
4. My dream academic programs.
Though my plans may change, I currently want to double major in anthropology and public health, which I know won’t be easy. When I visited campus during one of the accepted students’ days I spoke with the professors from the two departments and was so excited by the many opportunities that each department offers. With the anthropology department, I can volunteer and participate in activism with organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee in Northampton, a group that I’ve always wanted to work with; and with the public health department, I can study for a semester in Havana, Cuba, a destination on my bucket list! Even if I eventually want to switch, I know that it will be very easy, and that there are great departments in any area I may choose!
5. The vibe of Western Mass.
Even though I’ll only be two hours away from home, I feel like western Massachusetts has a very different environment from where I live. Boston’s metropolitan area can be very fast-paced, and commuting daily can be intense. I’m ready for a place that’s a bit more laid-back, and Amherst totally fits the bill. I’m also ready to spend more time in nature, and be surrounded by trees.