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SPOTLIGHT: Deciding Where to go for college

Mariah Ajanel, Staff Writer

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After the stressful time of waiting to hear back decisions from the universities I applied to, it came down to decision time. I had a couple of choices but in the end I was stuck between two universities: Mount Saint Mary’s University and Penn State University. Mount Saint Mary’s University is a small private all-girls university located in Los Angeles, while Penn State University is a public co-ed university located in State College, Pennsylvania. Tuition at MSMU is $38,498, while tuition at PSU is $17,900 for Pennsylvania residents and $32,382 for non-Pennsylvania residents.

Both are great universities that had huge opportunities for me to grow, but also have huge differences. MSMU offers an intimate learning setting, with small class sizes and more opportunities to build close relationships will professors and classmates. But a small university like MSMU does not have the same resources and opportunities as a huge research university like Penn State. For example, PSU has the biggest Alumni network in the country, which makes it easier for Penn State students to come across jobs and internships during their time at Penn State or after graduation. Penn State also offers tons of resources to start up a business, help make an invention idea come to life (that they will fund), or even give you the opportunity to participate in huge research projects abroad. As Penn State is a research university, this is only a very short list of opportunities Penn State has to offer. Outside of the difference in resources both universities offer, Penn State is a D1 BIG TEN Conference university. So after a long week of classes, students have access to attend big sporting events like a White-Out football game or activities like THON -one of the biggest fundraising events!

What influenced my decision the most was the success rate of students after graduation, whether that was being employed quickly or attending graduate school. Although I was offered a full ride to MSMU, Penn State was always my obvious decision because I could see myself being more successful in the long run.

Before making my decision, I felt very uneasy about the entire thing. I grew a fear of leaving everything I knew and leaving my family. I feared missing out. Having this fear, I soon realized that this was all normal and that at some point we all must go our own ways.

I put everything to the side and focused on what was the best university for me. Even though my scholarship at Penn State was significantly less than MSMU, I chose Penn State because there are far more resources and opportunities available for me to succeed.

I chose Penn State University because I knew the cost of attendance and the 2,254 miles that stand between LA & PSU, were worth it.

The resources that are being provided to me, the experience of a D1 university-a BIG TEN conference school, labeled as a “Public Ivy” with the biggest Alumni network in the country, was something I could not pass up.

I am scared, nervous, but excited. Life is about getting comfortable with discomfort while seeking success. And I write this, to give support and encouragement to anyone who is uncertain of making a big move like this. Choose the bigger picture, choose you. Don’t ever let money or opinions hold you back.

My biggest fear is not adjusting to life in Pennsylvania, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to be successful to my full capabilities. But I am going into this with a positive mindset, I am going to make the best of this experience. My high school transition was extremely difficult, but I persevered. I made it this far –  I am going to be successful at Penn State and with that thought process, I know I will go far.

If you want to study out of the state, just know that it is all very possible. Do not let anything hold you back and make what seems impossible possible. Remember to always focus on the bigger picture.

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The student news site of University High in Los Angeles, California
SPOTLIGHT: Deciding Where to go for college