Prioritizing college:environment over title

Brianna Brown , PR Manager

During the time I have been at Laguna Beach High School, an everlasting standard has been placed over my head: the pressure to go to a highly regarded university. Coming in as a freshman in 2014, I was shown countless presentations stressing the importance of getting into a UC school. As a determined freshman, I did everything in my power to exude this scholarly appearance. I soon discovered, however, that I wasn’t capable of getting straight A’s. I had an average GPA consisting of  A’s and B’s; I wasn’t proud of my grades and believed that colleges would not accept me because I was only “average.” As a junior now, I am proud of my “average” status; I no longer compare my grades to others. I achieve my own goals— the goals that no one chose for me. Now that I am looking at colleges, I find myself less interested in just the UC schools; state colleges interest me, as well. I have researched state colleges located in Northern California and in Oregon. State Colleges are often stereotyped as party schools and are looked down upon. Although some state colleges fit this stereotype, many of them defy it. Take Portland State for example; this college is known for its learning environment and its diverse community. In Oregon especially, people tend to be more friendly and accepting of one another, thus creating a safe place to learn. Since the college is located in the heart of the city, many residents take classes along with students. Instead of experiencing a typical college life, I have the chance to be taught not only by my professors, but also by the community. The college looks like a quiet peaceful environment that I would like to a part of. At college roundup, I talked to a representative from Portland State University. The representative informed me about their Western Exchange program, which would allow me to attend school out of state for a fraction of the cost. The requirements include a 3.5 GPA, or greater, or a 27 on the ACT.

I was surprised, and I began to believe that average students, like me, were desirable to colleges. Now that I know this information, out of state colleges seem like a great experience. I want to grow as an individual and experience something different. I want to meet new people, find new music, experience the city and have a quality education. Whether it’s a state college, a private college or a UC, the title it carries doesn’t matter. What matters is what learning environment you wish to be a part of. For me, I am choosing a college because of its location, and because I could consider it my home. I know that wherever I go, I will not be sheltered, but I will go to a school that feels comfortable to make the transition as easy as possible.