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Monday, November 29, 2010

From Preview to Preview

Hello to all you wonderful individuals who have been lucky enough to find Prescott College:

Last preview weekend brought up a multitude of memories around my experience when I first attended preview weekend and what my college search looked like. It seemed appropriate to share my experience and what I may have learned along the way.

I started to get serious about my college search right before spring break of my junior year, when my mom, brother and I were going to California to visit schools. I did not really know what I wanted to study, or what I wanted my college experience to look like, but I narrowed it down to this: I had grown up wanting to be in CA, I wanted a small liberal arts school, and I wanted an education that would inspire me to do and be everything I could. I complied a list of five schools in California, and Prescott College.

I remember that break vividly – it was a pretty tense trip. I had not done adequate research on the schools, and had not contacted the administration early enough, so tours were difficult to get into. I concluded that must have been the reason why none of the schools ignited any sort of excitement. The tail end of our trip was fast approaching, and Prescott College was the last stop on our list.

When I first began my search, my uncle told me, “There is a perfect fit for everyone when it comes to finding a school. Don’t stop until you find it.”

After pulling into the town, and getting mildly lost along the streets of Prescott, we finally made it to Preview weekend. While many of the details of our weekend escape me, I clearly remember my mom turning to me throughout the presentations saying, “Hannah – this is so you.” When it came to Q&A time with the Financial Aid office she asked, “Would we get some sort of deal if my daughter and I both enrolled?" We all laughed, but she was serious.

I was only a junior, but I was ready to send in my deposit. I know this may seem like a corny, “this is how I found the perfect school” type story, this is just the beginning, and I don’t really believe in perfection (but that is a different story). After reporting to my father, “You are looking at a future Prescott College student” he smiled but responded, “Well I am happy you have found a school you love, but don’t stop your search… Now you just have a school to measure the rest up against.”

The year went on and I discovered time is a funny thing, and we constantly are changing. Senior year led to a whole new, much more comprehensive search. I knew I needed small class sizes, teachers to push me to think critically. I wanted this continuation of education to be so much more than a “good time”. I wanted to graduate with more than a degree – I wanted to grow, to be pushed, to be inspired.

I found that there are some exceptional schools… But it was easy to scratch many of them from the list. By the time applications were due, I had it narrowed down to three. Each would guarantee a certain level of adventure, small classes, and an alternative way of dealing with the information. I had gotten myself in quite the pickle – I found three schools, all seemingly wonderful, and all seemed to fit me perfectly, in its own way.

I sweated this choice out. For me, deciding on a school meant digging deep into myself, asking who I was and what I really wanted out of my education. Did I want to be in a city that never slept? The outdoors? In different parts of the world? And who was I as a student? What would I want to study? The questions seemed to cave in on me, and the decision felt almost impossible. What I realized is each school seemed to represent a different part of me, of my interests, yet all held common ground.

Writing frantically back and forth with what I had finally narrowed down to two admissions councilors, Andrea from Prescott College encouraged me to share some of my concerns regarding Prescott College. This was the tipping point for me, and ultimately there was no question.

I could not be more content at Prescott College… It really is the perfect fit. I could talk forever about the excitement I felt upon finding it, choosing it, and now being here. But that is not really the point I want to be pushing in this post. While this school is perfect for me, I had to a lot of questioning to come to that conclusion. I encourage each and every one of you to question yourself, and try to tap into what specifically draws you to a school. Question what would make you hesitate. Question the admissions counselors and students. And ultimately, contrary to all questioning – remember to follow your instinct and stay excited. This is an amazing time and there are so many doors that are getting ready to open themselves to you!

Enjoy this adventure.

Hannah Jean Marshall

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