01/20/2015 10:42 am ET Updated Mar 22, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Set Your Heart On Your 'Dream' School

If you had asked me what my dream college was when I was a junior in high school, my automatic answer was University of Georgia. My older brother and sister had both gone there; it only made sense that I would follow their steps. UGA met all my basic requirements, it had a great football team, offered my major and had a diverse population. The day when admissions came out, I sat down with my mom and opened the webpage that would determine my fate. I was deferred from my dream school.

I can't completely describe my emotions when I read that I was deferred from UGA. In short, it felt like my heart was crushed. I knew deferral meant that the college just wanted to learn more about me before they admitted me, but I wanted to know now if I was in or not. My mom convinced me to consider other schools while we waited to hear back from UGA. Rather reluctantly, I began to look at other options. I ended up applying to seven other schools, which I still considered my back-ups. In February, UGA contacted me to let me know that I was wait-listed. By this time, I was really frustrated and disappointed. I decided right then, if this school did not admit me, it was not meant to be. That was the best decision I have ever made.

I had received a letter from Mercer University a couple of months earlier that expressed the college's interest in me. I applied there, not really considering it as a option. But when I was wait-listed, Mercer sent me an acceptance letter as well as guaranteed admission to their law school. This caught my interest and I began to look into Mercer. They have a good academic standing, up and coming athletics and a large expected freshman class.

Today, I am a freshman at Mercer University and I can truly say that it has proved to be a great decision. What I am trying to say is, pick a college that is the best fit for you. Don't set your heart on a college because everyone else is going to that one. I'm not saying UGA isn't a outstanding school, but pick somewhere that you will love. And if it ends up you aren't admitted, it simply wasn't meant to be. There are so many other options out there.

College is a great experience where you meet new people, study what interests you and make life-long memories. Pick a college where you can do those things.