Stories from the College Search


These students were willing to share their thoughts on their "college decision journey." Find out how they picked their schools!

Chloé A. Smith

Class: Freshman
Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas
International Studies
Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee
Random fact about my school:
We have the Rhodes Pentathlon, which involves doing random things around campus that are daring and adventurous!

“I chose Rhodes because of the distance from home, the strong International Studies program, the close student body—you get to really know your fellow students—and the campus itself. It’s Hogwarts, smack dab in the middle of Memphis! It wasn’t really important to me for the college to be private . . . for me, it was important to feel at home and comfortable in my surroundings, as well as have a plethora of opportunities to explore and pursue any interests and whims I might discover! Rhodes was the best choice for me, and I could not be happier!”

Matt Keating

Class: Junior
Hometown: Carol Stream, Illinois
Architectural Engineering
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Random fact about my school:
We have the world’s largest single collection of paintings dedicated to the evolution of human work.

“I went to public school from kindergarten through high school, and even though I had fun, I just did not want to go to another large school for my college experience. I wanted a school where the classes would be small, so the teachers would know I existed. Also, I like using my hands, and I am a visual learner, so going to a school where there was a lot of hands-on experience was important to me. At MSOE, I will have over 100 hours under my belt in various labs, doing experiments that are interesting to me, when my time is done, and I am on a first-name basis with a couple of my professors. Another big reason I chose MSOE was for the opportunity to play soccer at the collegiate level. Through this sport, I have met 25 of the closest friends I have ever had. The relationships I have [with my teammates] will benefit me in my professional life after MSOE as well. After two years at this esteemed college, I can say that I am so glad I picked a small, private school!”

Annie Skambis

Class: Senior
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Math and Political Science
Educational Studies
Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia
Random fact about my school:
The Emory student motto is: “Work hard, play hard.”

“Graduating high school in a class of 700, there was great diversity in the colleges we all chose to attend. While many of my friends chose to go to Florida’s top public university, I wanted something more from my experience in college—I wanted something new. I wanted to meet new people, be in a different state, and have unending possibilities. I saw all of these things and more when I visited Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Not only did it have a beautiful campus in a booming city, but also it was an extremely resourceful school. I had always attended public schools because my parents were advocates of the public school system. However, this private institution could give me so many opportunities through its private funding and alumni ties in Atlanta. Having a substantial endowment from Atlanta powerhouse company Coca-Cola, Emory has top-notch professors, researchers, and cutting-edge technology that I could only have dreamed of in a public university near home. For me, this stellar, top-20 school could provide me with things I didn’t even know that I needed. I knew that Emory was somewhere I could excel inside and outside the classroom.”

Wolfgang Connell

Class: Freshman
Hometown: Stewartsville, New Jersey
Political Science
Mathematics and Economics
University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
Random fact about my school:
The University of Chicago claims the first ever Heisman Trophy, won by Jay Berwanger, who was also the first player ever drafted by the NFL.

“I first heard of the University of Chicago while attending a football camp at Yale University. Head Football Coach Mr. Dick Maloney (at the University of Chicago) was a keynote speaker, and I approached him with interest in his school. We spoke for a little and he mentioned that he was familiar with my high school, Phillipsburg High, and our rivalry with Easton, Pennsylvania. Over the next few months, as I was recruited by many area schools, I looked at an old e-mail I had sent Coach Maloney. I sent another message to restart my recruiting by Chicago. Because Chicago is a private Division III athletic school, I will not be receiving an athletic scholarship. . . . Sure, I will have college loans to pay back upon my graduation, but they will not be too overwhelming for me to handle and if anything, they will push me to find the best possible job to fit my lifestyle, so I can live comfortably. Also I find myself drawn to Chicago because it is not my comfort zone.”

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