The Tale of Two Cities
Coming to Northwestern was a major decision. I’d like to say that it involved a great
multitude of factors, that my deliberation over my college choices was a long, hard struggle and
that afterwards, all of my research and thinking pointed solidly towards one institution. However,
that would be a false statement for a few reasons. Even while I was signing my intent papers to
attend Northwestern, my decision still didn’t seem clear, and unfortunately, I didn’t do nearly
enough college research during my senior year to make the issue any clearer. However, looking
back I can identify the factors I considered in choosing Northwestern, and can explain why it’s
the place for me.
I’ll start from the beginning. While thinking about college, I ended up applying to twelve
universities just to see where I got in, and was rejected or waitlisted by half of them. From there,
I whittled down my list to four colleges, those being Duke, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Notre
Dame. They were definitely the most academically competitive institutions into which I was
accepted, and they each had their own separate reputations to consider, but I was fairly sure that
if I graduated from any of them I could get a good job, support a family, and live comfortably.
From there, the factors I used to separate them were somewhat more subjective.
Duke was the first institution I eliminated. I went into Duke relatively blind; it was one of
my first college visits and all I had ever been concerned with was if their basketball team would
continue to win. However, from my visit I began to understand exactly which benefits I wanted
from a college, and which costs I was unwilling to accept. In evaluating Duke, I recognized its
academic strength, as it was ranked higher than the other universities I was considering. If I
graduated, I thought I would receive more monetary benefits down the road as a result of making