I Went to My Safety School… And I Love It!

I am a brand name brat. I’ll admit it. When it came time to look for colleges junior year, I knew that I had exactly three criteria: small, private, in the northeast.

Not only did I think that these criteria would lead me to my dream education and job (let alone dream hubby), I thought that it was exactly what I wanted. I wanted a school that immediately got raised eyebrows and “wow she’s smart!” expressions when I said the name.

And on I went on my quest to get into my dream school. I wrote draft after draft of my entrance essays, perfected my SAT scores, secured the perfect recommendations, and continued all of my volunteer work throughout the whole process. I thought I had it down pat. I applied to 9 schools — 2 of which I was rejected from, 3 of which I was wait listed at, and 4 I just didn’t care about, even though I received acceptance letters to attend them. I had my heart set on attending one of my wait list schools. So I had alumni letters sent, calls made, and interviews set up. I didn’t know what to do. My boyfriend at the time had gotten in, and I knew his credentials only read “father is alumni who donates lots of money,” so I was a little more than bitter. That’s when I started to think that maybe it wasn’t  the right place for me.

After lots of consideration and stress, I finally decided to attend the University of Delaware with a promise from my parents that I could transfer after the fall semester. Delaware was the epitome of everything I didn’t want: large, public and relatively near the Mason-Dixon line. I wasn’t thrilled to say the least, but off to Delaware I went…

All it took for me to change my mind about attending UD was my first floor meeting. I met the most interesting, coolest people I could’ve imagined meeting. I know it sounds cliche, but they quickly became my new family. We did everything together (which is now the way I spot freshmen on the street, I mean who goes to parties with 30 other people in tow?) I loved the people I met. After my first few weeks, I quickly realized that Delaware was exactly where I belonged. I loved the big school feel, where I could disappear for a whole day and not see anyone I knew. I loved the classes I took, despite them being ridiculously difficult. I loved the food in the dining hall. Just kidding…though the omelettes on Sundays were legendary. I truly loved everything about the school.

Looking back on it, I really didn’t know myself well enough at age 16 when I began the college search. I thought I knew what I wanted, but it wasn’t until I experienced something new that I realized I really had no idea what I was talking about. I took a chance (by force) and learned a lot. Now, you can’t get me to shut up about how much I love my school. I’m in the right place and I couldn’t be happier about attending my “safety” school.

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  1. Ave says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I've gone through the same hard work and despite all of it have ended up with similar results- I was waitlisted today by two schools! But I have to remember that the people will be interesting and I'll have fun where ever I go.. so glad everything turned out good for you!

  2. Claire says:

    Thank you so much for posting your story! I had my heart set on attending a world leading school in London, but ended up being rejected. Now I love my current university, and I'm so glad I was rejected! The irony of it all? One of my now closest friends was also rejected from the same school :)
    In the end, I'm not sure I was more in love with the school itself or its prestige.

  3. Nicole says:

    as someone who is a freshman at UDel currently, I would just like to say how good Delaware actually is. You make Delaware seem like it is a horrible school in the beginning of your post, where, Delaware is actually a very good school. It may not be Harvard or Yale, but just because it's not an Ivy doesn't mean it's a bad school.

  4. elegantromantic says:

    Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate it. I'm a high school senior who just got waitlisted at a bunch of schools, but into the honors program at my state, safety school. It's probably where I'm grudgingly going, but I'm hoping that I will love it!

  5. […] 6. Do you Have a Back-Up Plan if you Slip from the Corporate Ladder? @ The Extra Money Blog. 7. I Went to My Safety School… And I Love It! @ College Candy. 8. 10 Ways To Make Money Writing Online @ Christian PF. 9. Finding Health […]

  6. […] Read the rest of this post on College Candy! […]

  7. not nicole says:

    nicole, i think you missed the entire point. try re-reading the post and maybe you'll catch that the entire point is exactly opposite of what you got out of it.

  8. tee says:

    This is very interesting and I want to comment as someone who went thru this process 30 yrs ago. I only applied to 2 colleges and was wait listed for my first choice. I went to the other school and was desperately unhappy. As someone who has been working since the 80s, I’ve seen extremely competent people who are ivy grads and those who aren’t. An ivy degree is impressive and catches one’s attention but so many highly successful people didn’t go to those schools. Get good grades in the school you attend, get some real world experience and be willing to work hard when you graduate and you will be fine.

    As someone who spent 4 yrs in a school I didn’t like, find a college where you will be happy, have the chance to learn, grow and thrive. Form friendships that will last for a lifetime and take reasonable risks while you can before husbands, kids and mortgages. Delaware isn’t an also ran, its your life right now and your future tomorrow. If you’re getting everything it has to offer then you’ve made the right decision and it will pay off in ways you can’t yet imagine.

  9. […] Read the rest of this post on College Candy! […]

  10. Aly says:

    I conditionally got an offer for my first choice university, and spent months dreaming about it. Finally, on Results day I found out that I hadn't got in. I was crushed and was extremely tempted to take a Gap Year. However, one of my teachers convinced me to look for other unis. I got an offer from two: the one which I'm at right now, and one in Paris. It was a useful learning experience, and I now realise how happy I am at my Uni. This has been the BEST year of my life, and I'm glad I came here.

    I wanted prestige (a Russell Group uni) but soon realised that when you're in uni, no one cares about it. As long as you do well, and prove yourself, people won't give two hoots if you went to a uni ranked 28th instead of 21st.

  11. Great article. As research has confirmed (Dale and Kruger study), it's not WHERE you go, but what you DO at that college that matters most.

    Patrick O'Brien
    Author, Making College Count

  12. Bridgette says:

    That happened for me as well with my Undergrad. Central was a choice but it wasn't my number one and I went in with the preconceived notion that I was going to transfer. I'm so thankful for going to Central. I miss it so much now being in Grad school and I hope to go back some day and work there as an admin.

  13. Kat says:

    Thank you so much for this story! I'm a high school senior and recently got all my responses back. While I got accepted to 6 of the 11 schools I applied to I was rejected from the others which included my top choice schools. I have begun to get over the rejection, but have been feeling very unexcited about my prospects. I still have some great schools to choose from, they just don't have the same "brand name" appeal, as you called it. It was really great to hear how wonderful your experience has been and inspired me to become a bit more excited about the prospects I have. Thanks so much!

  14. Alex says:

    This was a great post, i went to a school I had absolutely zero interest in, and now I love it more than I ever could have imagined. It really is what you make of it, and no matter what college is going to be a huge adjustment from high school living, so change is inevitable. I feel like I'm at my perfect school- or at least what is perfect for me.

  15. Char says:

    I just can't get past the "dream hubby" part. Why even go to college if your goal in life is to be a wife? Save the tuition and placement for someone who wants it.

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