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".
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:
Price verses scholarships
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.
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
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.