My college of choice wasn’t necessarily the top pick on my list. To be completely frank, it was probably #4 on the list of colleges I applied to. If Doc and Marty let me borrow their Delorean Time Machine and go back to 2006, I would’ve applied to at least 3 other Universities I didn’t consider as an option at the time. Who am I kidding, though? If I had that Delorean, I would go back far enough to get better grades so my chances of getting into these schools would have been greater. But, here we are – 10 years later and I’m still regretting my choice of college and instead, wish I would have ended up at one of these 3. If I had researched and carefully chosen to apply to universities colleges that were more suited to my academic needs, then who knows how different my college experience would have been?
Off the top of my head, I immediately wish I would have attended Wesleyan University. The main campus is located just over the Connecticut River and is enriched with creative, cultural, and historical elements. What I like most about the Wesleyan curriculum is the school’s emphasis on independent study and personal growth. There are no required courses and students aren’t expected to waste their time with general education classes. Wesleyan’s areas of study range from the expected to the insightfully unusual, allowing students to enlighten themselves in a field they would have never imagined studying for in high school. At this university, I would have had the option to study something a bit more mainstream such as Psychology, Economics, or English – but, there’s also the option to major in Medieval or Romance Studies, Creative Writing, Archeology, and Feminism. The learning diversity at Wesleyan is as inventive as it is broad, which is overlooked and to be honest, underestimated in standard American Education.
If I had chosen to go to Wesleyan I would have been able to develop my greatest passion in life; creative writing. I would have been given the opportunity the devote 4 years of my education to a particular area of interest, as opposed to the 2 years I spent at my chosen school after completing 2 years of required gen eds. Academic structure all too often suppresses the creative components of a student’s cognitive process and by stifling my self-expression at a more traditional university, I felt that I lost some of my mojo. Therefore, I wasn’t able to explore the field of writing or what I could do with it until I eventually (and luckily) fell into it later in life.
New College of Florida
Academia aside, just look at that scenery. I must openly admit, however, I am from Florida and did go to a State University. Maybe this is just the beach bunny in me, but I didn’t get this view at my coastal college. My traditional course format kept me from enjoying the seaside scenery during my college career. At New College of Florida, located on the West Coast in Sarasota, I would have been able to the calm of the water from the window in my dorm room. I thoroughly believe that a comfortable environment is one of the few keys to personal and professional success, and I wish I had even known that this beauty of a school existed when I was filling out my college applications. This University is much more modern compared to the other two names on my list and it definitely lacks a certain air of history that I usually find fascinating, but there’s also some significance in being a part of something new and creating traditions from scratch. New College’s landscape isn’t the only reason I wish I attended this school. Here, you actually have a say in your educational goals.
New College doesn’t believe in offering a list of recommended courses to its students that depends on their major of choice. Instead, at the beginning of each semester, each student gets to design their own set of courses and sends it in as a proposal to receive approval. Then, the student is then contractually obligated to fulfill their completed list of preferred studies and is evaluated at the end of the semester to see if they accomplished their goals. What makes this type of curriculum so ingenious is that the students aren’t just attending classes that apply to the area of study, they’re learning effective time management skills and how to accurately suit the needs of their own intellectual desires. It may seem too progressive and in some retrospect, even a little experimental, but it’s a great style of learning that would have definitely accommodated my college personality.
Brown University isn’t just a college I wish I attended, it’s a college I wish I would have had a shot at actually getting accepted to. So, for entertainment sake (and in the name of the article), let’s pretend I would have gotten into the big name Ivy League if I dared to apply. Brown was founded on the belief that students should be able to study only what they want to learn or what they truly care about. Course requirements don’t exist at this prestigious University and it still manages to keep up with the other Ivy’s in its league. Like the New College of Florida, Brown students are able to design their own course study and act on independent influence. However, one of the most prominent characteristics of the old, historic college is its eclectic list of learning concentrations. No interest is impossible to enlighten here and no skill is too micro to be academically developed. Students at Brown can choose to major in Linguistics or Visual Art, and they can also choose to focus on Directing, Egyptology, or a combination of Gender and Sexuality. Brown is perceived to be a traditional, rigorous, Ivy League institution but in truth, they’re just as liberal and open-minded as your old drama club teacher.
Granted the probability that I could be accepted to Brown was small (like, microscopic small), I still believe that I could have benefited from their juxtaposed model of education. Structure is good and at times, discipline is even needed. Although compared to most Ivy Leagues, Brown would have provided me with a fair amount of both, while slowly enhancing the more independent and creative pieces of my personality.