10/07/2011 08:53 am ET Updated Dec 07, 2011

The Search

The summer before the senior year of high school is in no doubt the most important summer to date in a teenager's life. The long and arduous junior year consisting of difficult classes and standardized tests has just concluded. To make matters even more stressful, this is also the time to begin the college search.

For me, this meant parading across the Eastern Seaboard (and even the Midwest) in search for the school that is "right for me." This search included the always enjoyable and information sessions, and long tours that always seemed to be in the scorching sun or a foot of snow.

In order to find this school, I must first have to decide what I am looking for in a school. The choices of a big or small school or the distance away from home are the basic questions that need to be answered. However, it is the more specific qualities of a school that make these decisions very difficult.

I have yet to even apply to college and I have already learned things about myself that I did not know before this process. I now know that I am extremely indecisive, as I still have on my college list schools with 30,000 kids and 3,000 kids.

I have schools that are one hour away and 10 hours away, and schools that revolve around college football with schools where you won't find a football on the entire campus. I have also learned that college is a match to be made, and not a prize to be won.

The final thing that I have learned is that although I do my best to find that match, I will virtually have no choice but to make some sacrifices along the way. For example, the school with the most ideal academic program for me may be the one where I have to travel a further distance. I have been told that I am a very picky kid, which makes this grand decision even more challenging. Before my choice has been made, I am sure that I'll weigh the pros and cons of each school tens, heck, maybe hundreds of times. I just hope that the schools don't make my decision for me!

This has helped me not worry so much about how Newsweek feels about the school, but rather only how I feel about it. If I like it, then it shouldn't matter how anyone else feels about it. When it comes down to it, is the difference between a school ranked, say #50 and a school ranked #60 going to make a difference in how successful a person can become? Absolutely not.

Although this time is stressful for most incoming high school seniors, it will also be a time to rejoice after completing junior year, and then enjoy being the big men on campus. The feeling of finally being seniors is very exciting and should be savored, as in about a year's time we will all go back to freshman year.

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