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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

One year ago today, I was the most stressed I have ever been due to college decisions. I was spending every hour of the day reviewing my options over and over again, trying to keep one of the biggest decisions of my life at bay. While I am very glad to have this stage behind me, I find myself often thinking about how I came to be writing this article today at Florida State University (FSU) at the end of my first year of college.

I started my college applications in August of my senior year, immediately writing my Common App essay and gathering my SAT and ACT scores. I ended up applying to seven colleges, four in-state and three out-of-state. My first decisions came from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and the University of North Florida (UNF), both of which come with significant academic scholarships that I could apply to housing. My tuition would be covered by Bright Futures, which was very tempting.

I then got my offer from my dream school: American University in Washington D.C. I was so set on going to this school that I applied for Early Decision II and was thrilled to be accepted with a very large scholarship. Not even a week later, I got my acceptance to FSU and deferral from the University of Florida, but I really didn’t think much of it as I was still heart-set on American University. 

In true political science student fashion, I was on top of the world thinking that I would be in the heart of the political world for college, but I started to realize that my fees at American University were still extremely high. I communicated with their financial aid office and reviewed my family’s ability to pay tuition and housing several times a week, but the reality that my dream school might not be an option was slowly closing in. When my parents sat me down and told me that it wasn’t going to be possible to spend my undergraduate years at American, I was distraught and in denial, not accepting this fact for several more weeks. 

At the beginning of April, I got my decisions from my final applications, a denial from Georgetown University (GWU), and an acceptance and scholarship from George Washington University, but it was still out of reach. It wasn’t until this point that I finally accepted that I would be staying in Florida for my bachelor’s degree. I contacted GWU and American University about how thankful I was for their consideration and generous scholarships, but I would not be able to attend their universities. 

I then set my sights on the schools in Florida. I decided that FAU would not be the place for me as I wanted a more northern school and felt that their political science program wasn’t quite what I was looking for. My options were then FSU and UNF. Each school had its pros and cons, forcing me to sit on this decision for weeks. I would have “FSU Days” and “UNF Days,” where I would think I wanted to go to that school based on the general vibes of the day. It was not a great way to decide where I would be spending the next four years of my life. 

So, many things drew me to UNF: acceptance to their Honors College, family in Jacksonville and the fact that my best friend had committed to going there. After weeks of procrastination and reviewing things over and over again, I knew that FSU was the place for me. I can’t really explain what prompted me to make my decision, but I am so glad I trusted my gut and made what has been one of the best decisions for my personal journey.

Trusting your gut is very risky at times, and I know that wasn’t the only reason I chose FSU, so here are three things that can really help with your college decision.

Going on college tours

Touring the university is a great way to get a feel for a college and the city around it. I toured FSU twice before I made my decision to get a feel for the campus, which is definitely the most beautiful college campus I have been to.

talking with current students

Talking to current students, especially those in the program of your interest, is a huge help in making college decisions. I knew some students who went to FSU, but none in Political Science, so I reached out to the admissions office. They put me in contact with an awesome student who gave me an honest review of the university and how their experience has been.

Doing research, research and more research

I really can’t stress this enough, do your research! Reading about different aspects of college life, such as academic intensity, housing and social life, is extremely important. Reading articles about these things was a huge factor in making my final decision.

In conclusion, I couldn’t be happier that I chose FSU. From football games to studying with friends, I really feel at home on the campus I get to call my home. So, to all the high school seniors, breathe, you got this! I promise you will find the right place for you.

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Michaela Galligan is a second-year student at Florida State University originally from Tampa, FL. She is studying political science and editing, writing, & media studies with a minor in communications and hopes to one day enter the field of political journalism and reporting. She is passionate about politics, football, music, traveling, and all things FSU.