Choosing what you want to study can be a daunting task, but choosing where you want to study can be 100x more difficult. Luckily for me, I knew exactly what I wanted to study. Unluckily for me, I did not have a single clue where I wanted to go.
It took several campus tours for me to narrow down the top factors I was looking for in a university. I went into the college search process confident on a few things- I knew I wanted to stay in-state, closer to home, and to study social work. The issue with so many colleges that I visited was that social work was not a major they offered and I would have to settle on psychology. This wasn’t really a compromise I was willing to make.
Nothing seemed to fit exactly right. Throughout my entire high school career, I never considered Illinois to be an option because I didn’t think my stats were good enough to get in. I received an application fee waiver at an admissions event I attended and applied just to see if I could get in.
Although I applied to see if I had what it takes to get into Illinois, I did some research and found out just how perfect Illinois’ program was for me. With the flexibility in the curriculum, I was going to have the ability to pursue a minor or two or even graduate early. Not only that, but UIUC offers an advanced Master’s program, which would allow me to graduate with my Master’s in one year.
The more research I did about what the social work program entailed, the more and more pros I seemed to find. With the opportunity to pursue research at the undergraduate level and field placement in my last semester, there were so many possibilities to grow myself as a social worker while I obtain my degree.
By the time December rolled around during my senior year, Illinois had quickly become my dream school. I anxiously checked my admissions portal every single day, even though I knew that the status wasn’t going to be updated until the middle of the month. When the day did finally come, I refreshed the page until the little confetti floated down my screen. I had been accepted!
I’ve found so many things to love about my program since coming to campus. Although it took a lot of stumbling to get here, I have no regrets about my decision to become an Illini.