My college search came down to three schools: UW-Platteville, UW-LaCrosse, and Edgewood College. I had been on UW-P’s campus several times for different activities that were held there during high school, I had been through UW-L’s campus for a gymnastics meet, and I visited Edgewood during the summer before my senior year. All three schools had beautiful campuses and each offered something a bit different. UW-P and UW-L were bigger and offered more majors, and Edgewood was neat because it was in the heart of Madison. I made my decision in November of my senior year. I knew I wanted to go to Edgewood because it was in Madison and I loved the city.
If I were to do things differently, I would definitely have visited more schools and done some research about all of them. Visit during a time when there are students around and so you can see what campus life is really like. It might help to attend some kind of athletic event to see how the students get involved, and to find out if that is where you “fit in.” Edgewood is different because it’s not a big school, but at the same time it is Madison so you are getting the big city diversity. It’s definitely a plus that Edgewood is a bit more personal by means of most of your professors know your name, and it’s easy to get one-on-one help. Choosing your college is a huge decision in your life. You want to pick a school that you know you will be happy at!
When I was a senior in high school I remember the anticipation for my college visits. I actually went on two college tours that year. The first one was a “Historically Black College Tour,” which took me to campus like Clark University, Spellman, Howard, and others. The second one was a “Midwest College Tour,” which took me to schools in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. However, I did not visit Edgewood until much later. I really loved the different schools, but they were all way too big, or too far away from home. My boyfriend attends the University of Wisconsin, and he did a lot of research on neighboring schools. When he found Edgewood, I came up for a visit and I loved it! Everyone was so nice, and the city was wonderful! In making my decision I realized that Edgewood had everything I was looking for: a smaller campus but big city life! If I had to go back and do it all over, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am almost done here at Edgewood, and it was truly been an amazing experience!
Originally I was accepted at UW-Milwaukee, but decided right before the end of my senior year that I’d rather be in Madison. I grew up near Milwaukee and spent a lot of time on that campus with friends, but something about Madison drew me in. It was too late to apply to UW, so I asked a counselor at my high school if there were any other colleges in the Madison area besides UW and MATC. Edgewood came up and, to be honest, I basically said “Why not?” I wanted to go for English teaching, and the counselor said Edgewood had a great English department.
Picking a school is a pretty big “Why not?” but now I can’t imagine having made any other decision.
If I could do it differently I would have prepared more. Other than getting my scholarships and financial aid sorted out (because it was also a costly “Why not?”), I did not even visit the campus until my official freshman orientation. I hadn’t talked to anyone in the English department either. I think as a result of that I did not really get involved deeply on campus until my second year. I was lucky in this decision, but it also taught me to be more organized and prepared for things in the future.
My college search was a lot of fun… and included lots of road trips! It was hard to decide what type of college I wanted at first. Big or small school? Private or public college? And so on. The only way I was able to finally figure out what type of school I wanted to go to was by… visiting them!
I had gotten lots of brochures and publications from different colleges in the Midwest so I picked a bunch that looked nice and went on a road trip with my mom. I remember one long weekend driving down from Green Bay all the way to Iowa and visiting three colleges there. I realized I liked big cities, for sure, but I also liked the smaller schools. I found that liberal arts colleges are nice in that they give you a little taste of everything to give you a very well-rounded education; which, just so happens, is usually what employers are looking for!
I started researching colleges sometime during my sophomore year and went to visit about five colleges during junior year to give me time to decide. When finding out about Edgewood and visiting the campus, I really liked that it was pretty much smack-dab in the middle of Madison – a big city with over 200,000 people! Yet it was a smaller school with only about 2,400 students. The campus was intimate, with mostly newer looking buildings, gorgeous landscaping (especially in the spring and summer!), and was located on a lake with a boardwalk! Things have definitely changed around here since my first visit: a new dorm, renovations, and an extension of the boardwalk. However, campus is still beautiful, nice and small (it only takes me a few minutes to walk from one side of campus to another, which is really convenient during the cold winters), and gives me lots of individual attention from professors.
I was a procrastinator when it came to my college search, I will not lie. I’m the youngest of five and I remember being constantly dragged to college visit after college visit and being bored out of my mind (granted I was in grade school or junior high around that time, so college was way out of mind). I only visited a handful of schools, and I did, for the most part, remember what my siblings’ schools looked like.
It was really important to me to not be too far away from home in case I needed to do a lot of laundry, but I wanted to be far enough where I couldn’t get a surprise visit from my parents! Another thing that was important to me was that I needed stuff around me to do when I had visitors. I didn’t want my family to drive three hours in a corn field only to go bowling and head to the nearest Walmart. I’ve been there, done that, and it wasn’t fun. I also knew that I needed smaller classes and to get to know my professors. Not only did I figure that would make me feel more comfortable to ask questions and speak up in class, but it was one way to guarantee I’d show up! I knew myself well enough to know that if I was just a face in the crowd and couldn’t connect to a professor that I’d have a really hard time actually going to class. Especially in the winter. Especially if it was far. Especially if I didn’t know anyone.
I visted Edgewood during a Preview Day and I remember that my mom and I signed up online, but I guess it never went through so they didn’t have me on their list. The people were so nice about it though and didn’t make me feel bad at all! I felt comfortable on the campus and everybody was incredibly friendly, but not in a fake way. Let’s face it, it’s really easy to tell when people are faking a smile and don’t want to be there, but everyone was so genuine and real.
When it came to making a decision, I was between two schools. After looking at my financial aid from both schools I decided that Edgewood would be the best fit for me, and I don’t regret that decision.
If I could do anything differently, I probably would have done a bit more research. I got lots of information from every school I visited, but I don’t think I ever opened one of those folders. My final 3 or 4 college choices had nothing to do with academics, it was more so how pretty it was and location that mattered most to me. I would ask for more information based on the aesthetic beauty of the brochure and if it looked like I’d be friends with the people in the pictures! I know, not a very consistent system, but it apparently worked out for the best! I should have taken the time to ask some real questions about living situations and resources on campus at every college I went to visit. I do not regret my decision to come to Edgewood at all. It has helped to develop me into a somewhat mature adult. I do wish, however, that I had taken that extra step to get to know my admission counselor (at any school I was looking at) because I feel that having that personal connection to a college would help not only make my decision easier, but it would also help to hinder the anxiety I had about college. Most colleges offer a potential student the opportunity to spend a night on campus (with a current student) and that was always something I wanted to do… but was too scared to. I mean, what if I was paired with someone I couldn’t stand! Now I know that, at least at Edgewood, they pick the most friendly people who genuinely want to help you have a good time and make you want to come to Edgewood. I know my freshman year we had a potential student stay in our room and she enjoyed it so much she sent us thank you cards! I was excited for college, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t deny the nerves that were there and it would’ve been nice to have someone help calm them.