Tips for Navigating the College Process & Why I Chose Scripps

Close your eyes and imagine…HEY! Why aren’t your eyes closed?! Just kidding. Imagine a stressed out teenager fresh out of a virtual junior year, with no idea of what to major in, what career path to follow, or what colleges to apply to. That was me. But now I am here to give you my tips in navigating the college process, and then explain why I specifically chose Scripps.

I want to preface this by saying that everyone’s college/post high school path is different and that’s totally ok! I just want to share my experience and hope that it helps someone figure out theirs 🙂 

As you can probably tell, I was completely unsure about what I wanted my college experience to be, so I applied to a wide range of schools ranging from large public institutions to small liberal arts schools. I also didn’t apply Early Decision anywhere, because I wasn’t set on any one school. I’d say that if you even have a sliver of doubt, don’t apply Early Decision because it’s best to keep your options as wide as you can (at least if you don’t know what you want yet!)

When decisions come out, I know it’s hard to not compare yourself to others, but my biggest tip is to really self-reflect and think about what you personally want in your college experience. At the end of the day, YOU will be attending that college. Not your friends, not your teachers, not your siblings, and not your parents. It’s totally okay to get outside opinions and talk it out with others, but ultimately you should decide what college is the best fit for you. 

Things I thought about:

  • Size: I didn’t realize how beneficial it was for me to have a small class size. Not only does it help me pay attention, I’m able to feel more connected with my peers and professors. I knew I wouldn’t just be a number at Scripps, which is something I really valued and needed. 
  • Major: At Scripps, we don’t have to declare our major until the end of our sophomore year, which was especially important to me because I had no idea what I wanted to major in. My prospective major has probably changed 4-5 times already since being here, but I am able to take my first two years to really explore my options and figure out what I want to do. 
  • Location: I knew I wanted to be semi-close to home, so I only applied to schools in California. I love the location of Claremont, although I may be a little biased. It’s pretty close to everything– Los Angeles, the beach, the mountains, the desert, museums, amusement parks, the list goes on. I ended up SUPER close to home and it’s worked out for me, but it might not work for others, so this is a big thing to consider! 

Besides these main reasons, why else did I choose Scripps? 

I remember running by Scripps during high school cross country practices or walking by on our trips to the Claremont Village, and my friends would be like, “Michaela I can totally see you at Scripps”. While I would laugh and agree, I always told myself I wanted a college that was a little further from home. 

However, after thinking it through, and waiting until literally the LAST DAY to confirm my decision, I realized that Scripps was the perfect fit for me. While we are a small historically women’s college, we’re also within the consortium so it could feel like a little bit bigger of a school. With that, we also have basically five times the resources of our school, as we can take classes and use the resources of all the other colleges in the consortium. I love to joke that it’s not the physical aspect of being at a women’s college because you will see men on campus, but it’s more of the community that is formed with the mindset that every student at Scripps is of a marginalized gender identity. I really see this mindset reflected within all the students, faculty, and even the resources here at Scripps.

Finally, if nothing else, I followed my gut feeling. I think that 90% of the time, your gut feeling is right. When I was on the campus, it felt like I belonged and that I would be surrounded by a positive and uplifting community. Though I know that sounds cheesy, all of it has held true and I really am happy to be at Scripps.