06/20/2014 01:36 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2014

I Passed Up Full Scholarships for My Dream School -- And I Don't Regret It

This is part of our monthly series 'Mission: Accepted,' in partnership with Minds Matter, which chronicles the lives of four students as they apply for college in their senior year.

After attending Wellesley College's Spring Open Campus, I decided that I would enroll there during the fall. When I applied to Wellesley, I mostly looked at the academics and affordability, as for me, those are the two most important factors in my selection. However, when I dragged my luggage through the Alumni Hall and up its hills (some of which are artificial), Wellesley's setting became very apparent to me. It was green, spread out and calm. I know that college isn't exactly a vacation, but I thought that it would be nice to study at a place where I would prioritize my academics and learn from the people around me. As I read from the sidewalk chalk "Work hard, play hard."

My host was a current freshman at Wellesley, who gave me a lot of freedom with what to do with the short stint that I had on campus. I spent some time getting lost at Wellesley: just familiarizing myself with buildings. I explored the dark halls of Science Center with my host, which creepily churned out gases and machine noises even at night. I went to a forum where five current students answered the prospective students' questions. I even snapped my fingers when the theater group finished their play on life as a Wellesley student. I also enjoyed talking to the other admitted girls and learning about their various interests. Surprisingly, I shared more characteristics with them than I expected. Although I knew some of them may not choose Wellesley, I appreciate learning about the students Wellesley thought I would match up to, as well as the various academic and career routes that I can go into.

I also attended a Q&A session with alumnae; other than being impressed with their accomplishments after college, I had an eureka moment when I was assured that it's not the end of the world giving up on a full scholarship in exchange for challenging myself at Wellesley. It's ultimately how I decide to spend my minutes, days, and years at Wellesley. Although the college is five and a half hours away and the little town is dreary compared to New York City, I decided that it would be a nice break away from the city that I've lived in for nearly 10 years. Wellesley gave me a wonderful but not full financial aid package. A few times, I get conflicted when I think about the full scholarships at other colleges that I'm giving up for Wellesley, but my mother and my economics teacher remind me that education is an investment and I should take the cannon that this investment will propel me far. While it's true that work study and possible loans may haunt me later, I don't want to regret not choosing Wellesley because of money.

After three days of attending department forums and traveling around Wellesley, I was back to the speedy pace of high school. There have been so many AP tests in May that I feel like slapping myself on the head for signing up for five of them. After taking calculus, biology, English literature, U.S. and comparative government, I felt like sleeping forever -- or at least until the end of the year. However, for high school students in New York, the struggle to get up in early morning is far from over. Who can sleep when prom, graduation and summer are coming up?

The end is coming so quickly. A few weeks ago, I had my Minds Matter graduation. Departing from my team and friends there was bittersweet, as we're going to different colleges, but I'm excited to see how everyone, including my mentors, will be a year from now. At the end of June, I'll be graduating from Stuyvesant and be qualified as an alumna to impart wisdom to rising seniors. Now, I just want to enjoy the rest of my second term with my friends and family before I head off to college.