As a high school student, I have to say picking and choosing your college can be a stressful time. There are lots of options and a million different things to think about down the road, and sometimes it really can be confusing. Breathe easy though, because it does all work itself out for the best as long as you're focused on your goals! There are always people to help along the way. As a person who loved visual arts and had a background in computers, I ended up figuring out how much I loved working with 3D. I didn’t grow up doing much of my own art, but my parents are both very inspirational and creative people, so I figured I’d give it a shot! I went and did loads of research about the best programs and colleges I could find for my future and there were a lot of potential options.
I’d heard good things about and toured a lot of different colleges, like RIT, during my college search. A few of my close friends suggested we take a group trip in the middle of the school year down to explore RIT and check it out, and I wasn't about to miss out on that opportunity. I’m from Massachusetts and it was fun in itself taking a road trip with some good friends, but I was also really curious to see the area and the college.
It was honestly a pretty nice surprise when we got here - to see how big the area was and how much was around. When I took the tour the next day, after we finally all arrived, I was pretty impressed. One thing I always tell people, and something that left a lasting impression on me even today, was the overall energy of the campus and response that everyone seemed to have. Even the people that weren’t the ones touring with me had smiles on their faces, and you could really see a drive in their eyes which I can’t really explain. I honestly went into the trip thinking, oh this will be a fun break from my regular high school routine - to take a road trip with friends. I instantly found myself struck with how much this school clicked to me and how much I wanted to be here. I wanted to be part of that energy.
On your own college search, you’ll feel it for yourself when you start exploring different places. There’s this AHA moment when you know you found the right community, and you shouldn’t stop looking until you find it. RIT was my AHA moment, and it came at me from left field. Again, I’d explored other campuses which all had great reviews and things to offer, but my own personal feeling was telling me RIT was it. The feeling inspired me to dig deeper into the college and apply. I’d be up for hours actually, getting my art portfolio and other documents together making sure I didn’t screw anything up.
Here’s one of my drawings I submitted! I didn’t ever draw in the past, but I wanted to try as hard as possible. :
I ended up applying to five or so colleges and got into all of them, which was a great way to keep my options open and really think about my decision. In the end, that gut feeling kept coming back, though, telling me RIT was the right place and I’d regret it if I didn’t take that opportunity when it came.
I did my research into the success of people at RIT too - I wasn’t trying to go into any college without making sure I knew what I was doing. It was interesting to see who around my town knew of the college, especially being so far away from it too. My dad has some friends who went there and had only great things to say about it. At this point, I was fairly certain it was my first choice and when that acceptance letter came, it was such a wave of relief, nervousness and excitement all at once. I made it into college, and into RIT! It was really cool to feel like they wanted ME to be part of their energy. Honestly, it was the best decision I had ever made, and if it wasn’t for a friend letting me know this place existed I don’t know if I’d be where I am today.
Good luck to all of you making this final college decision!