Home In Highland Park

After enduring three school quarters of not knowing where I wanted to spend the next four years, I found my answer: I’m attending Southern Methodist University in the fall. However, my decision did not come through a pronounced sign. I’ve had SMU on my radar since last summer after a visit, but it wasn’t until I attended an admitted student day that I finalized my decision.

After arriving in Dallas to spend a night in a hotel across the street from campus, I attended an early morning tour. I groggily made my way into the admissions building when I saw a familiar face. My tour guide from my summer visit came up to me and greeted me. I found that extremely comforting. She took my dad and me on a tour of the school that was similar to my summer visit, but for some reason, I listened a little more. I began to visualize myself at the school, as one does on college trips, but it felt different this time.

I can’t stress enough how beautiful the campus is. It feels like a perfect part of the Highland Park neighborhood with a big city backdrop. Locals treat campus like a park by walking their dogs or hammocking. This was my third time visiting campus, but it was the first time the temperature was below 90 degrees. It felt and looked incredible.

My fellow admitted students were all extremely friendly, and the fact that they were touring after being admitted to the school was an indication that they were likely to attend. I was making friends with likely future classmates, and it was exciting. I felt like I was beginning to make a home at SMU. If I didn’t engage with the admitted students, I’m not sure if the day would’ve had the same effect on me.

Following the early tour, I attended an academic information session for the Cox School of Business. They presented impressive statistics, programs, and community to me. I had become numb to the information because I heard it incessantly before the admitted student day. But the physical environment had a different effect. Once again, I listened more.

Later on, I recognized my admissions counselor and we chatted like old friends. Before this day, I had only seen her in person once. In the fall we visited for about twenty minutes at Mylo Coffee about my potential future at SMU. I felt a unique sense of familiarity thanks to her efforts. I know it’s an admission counselor’s job to butter up a potential student, but it was welcoming. Following that, we broke out into small groups to talk personally with a current student. I found that the current students had very similar interests as mine during these talks. The puzzle pieces were all coming together.

We went to a dormitory open house after the small group breakouts. Much to my surprise, the dorm rooms had a decent amount of space, and they appeared to have better quality compared to other college dorms that I’ve seen. Knowing that I could live comfortably strengthened my confidence in attending SMU.

The day came to a close, even though I felt like I had spent just an hour or two on campus. My dad and I made our way down the beautiful stretch of Bishop Boulevard and arrived at the final presentation of the day. The admissions staff essentially spent about thirty minutes saying, “Thank you for being here! We wish you the best of luck when making your final college decision. Pony up!” I think I smiled the entire ride home.

The admitted student day was the first time where I felt like a school genuinely wanted me as a student. SMU and the admitted students assured me that I would thrive there. It completely changed how I felt the university saw me. I wasn’t just another number. I was home.


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