3. There are academic and social opportunities at every college.
Every school has its own unique student body and opportunities. No matter which college you end up at, you'll have the chance to explore so many new choices and find your own niche on campus.
"There isn't a school in the world without opportunities," Gobel says. "I would be a different person if I decided to go to the prestigious school I originally planned on attending. It ended up that at the schools I chose, my ambition and experience stood out. I had professors that mentored me."
Gobel believes that you can better create good experiences for yourself by getting to know your professors and the activities offered at your school. Often, more important than your college decision itself is what you decide to do once you’re at college—the clubs you're in, the major you pursue, the friends you make, the classes you take, the activities you're involved in, etc. The important thing is to try new things and find out what you’re passionate about.
4. You'll learn more about yourself no matter which college you attend.
College is a place for self-discovery and self-understanding. Once you step foot on your college campus, you'll be forced to make choices on your own.
"One of the most important lessons a student can learn is independence," Williams says. "While being in college, you are the keeper of your own fate. You are responsible for your education, studies, laundry and health, so you must change your focus to that of an independent person."
The friends you make will tell you more about the kind of person you are. The classes you take will inform you about what you find intellectually engaging. The major you choose will give you an idea of where you can see yourself in life. The activities you participate in will help you discover what you're passionate about. The challenges you tackle will reveal your potential. Living on your own, making your own decisions, discovering who you are and finding out what you want to do with your life are all part of the college experience, no matter which school you attend.
5. It's not the end of the world if your college decision didn't go as planned.
Things will work out in the end even if you didn't get into your dream college. You've probably heard this a million times, but it's worth repeating.
"A student who falls in love with one college to the exclusion of all the other colleges on her list and doesn’t get in will likely have a very hard time accepting the reality of what has happened and may make herself miserable at whatever college she attends," Robinovitz says. "But if she proceeds with an open mind (and open heart) as she’s going through the college-application 'rite of passage,' she’ll be able to adapt to another wonderful college that just may not have been her first choice."
So if you think things didn't work out for you where college decisions were concerned, don't fret; you were accepted into your college because the admissions officers thought you would thrive on campus. Once you get settled in your college environment, make friends, engage in extracurricular activities and immerse yourself in academics, you'll most likely find that those admissions officers were right and your school is actually a really great fit for you, even if it wasn't your top choice.
Gobel agrees that you should take full advantage of whatever opportunities are available at your school and make the best of it. "I think students sometimes think because they didn't get in or couldn't afford their dream school, their life will be subpar. Wrong," she says. "But it will be if you don't take advantage of what's offered at the school you actually attend."
And even if you end up really regretting your college decision, there’s always the possibility of transferring; nothing is set in stone. Gobel transferred her senior year of college and considers it the best decision she's ever made.
"Don't think once you decide to go to college as a first-year student, you're stuck there forever," Gobel says. "However, don't change schools on a whim. Consider joining different clubs or meeting with an adviser about different majors or coursework. Sometimes it's not the college that's the problem, it's your major or what activities you're pursuing."
As you're mulling over your own college decision, keep in mind that deciding which college to attend is not the most important decision of your life, though it may seem like it is now. More important than the decision itself is what you do at the college you choose to attend. So when you've finally made the best decision that you can make, go celebrate and get excited for life as a collegiette!