• Bethany Smeltzer

Seniors - Plan to Not Regret

If we were sitting down together and you asked me about my college experience and whether I had any regrets about the path I had chosen, it would be yes.... and no.





Let me start with the application process:

You see, I wish I had actually researched colleges (like I do with the students I work with). I had had issues being in public schools. I decided I wanted to go to a Christian college early in high school but nothing more than that. As high school progressed, I realized I would not succeed in a large school. So I made the decision that I wanted to go to a small school.


I knew of a couple private Christian schools in the area (or ones based on faith): Biola University, Vanguard University, California Baptist University, Chapman University, and Azusa Pacific University. But I wanted the nice weather like Orange County, yet "away for college".


  1. Most of the schools didn't fit what I wanted because they were large universities. Vanguard is a small university and Biola is a medium sized one (with some programs that are small). So I applied to both of them (and only those two, something I do not recommend). When I was accepted to both, I used two things to decide:

  2. Price verses scholarships

  3. Where did my siblings go

I received scholarships to both schools; however, both my oldest brother and my sister went to Biola University. So, I wanted to forge my own path and the scholarship I was offered at Vanguard was better. Funny enough, I ended up at Biola anyways.


No Regrets:

One reason I have no regrets of attending Vanguard, is that I met my one of my best friends there and made some amazing memories with others.

Other reasons I don't regret my decision (Vanguard first, then Biola):

  • learned about friendships, those that mattered and that didn't

  • grew as a person due to my different circumstances (get my book to learn more)

  • saved money my first few years having attended Vanguard first compared to going to Biola all four years

  • had so much fun going to the basketball and soccer games due to the tight community and because I lived on campus

  • living close to the beach and a night life Biola:

  • an amazing business department

  • experienced a great commuter community

  • reconnected with old friends (a few of us transferred to Biola at the same time from different schools)

  • an amazing campus with different places to study and hangout

  • different options for food, not just the cafeteria

Regrets:

While there were reasons I was happy with my decisions, I wish I had done more research and learned about other schools like the ones that are in San Diego or even up the coast.

Some of my reasons I regret my decisions for both schools:

  • lack of adventure

  • limited student body (super small campus and student body at Vanguard) - most students had similar backgrounds and had almost identical views

  • needed updated marketing classes, teaching on digital topics

  • lack of intramural sports program (at Vanguard when I went there)

If I had a do-over:

If I had a chance to go back and do it all over again, I don't think I would have ever even applied to either Vanguard or Biola. Not only would I have researched other options, but I would have looked at campus sizes more thoroughly. I wish I would have spent my time actually reviewing the courses offered so that I knew what I would have been studying and then I wouldn't have been disappointed. Also, I would have reviewed scholarships available to me so that money wasn't a part of the decision. Lastly, I would have looked into what was actually important to me in regards to campus life. If I had done these things, then I believe I would have found something that would have been my best fit for my personality and wants as university.


My advice to you: When picking a university, don't do it on a whim like I did. You should really do your research on what will best fit you.


If you do end up at a school and you realize it is not a good fit, I recommend you try to stick it out the best you can. Transferring schools can cost you not only time but money.


**My transfer was due to circumstances, not necessarily choice.

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