Opting for a Less Prestigious College
Despite receiving merit scholarships from other schools, Marcail Distante chose to attend Bates College after being admitted off the waiting list. Marcail was unable to tour Bates while school was in session, and she did not receive any merit money or financial aid.
“Well it was a reach school for me, and when I got off the wait list I sort of just jumped into it not knowing much about the school,” Marcail explains. “From what I researched, everybody that went there loved it, the professors were awesome, and the campus was beautiful.”
While Marcail enjoyed her first few months at Bates, she was still not convinced she had made the right choice. “To be honest, I was unsure of my decision from the moment I stepped on campus, because I decided to go to Bates on a whim. The first few months were still extremely fun and rewarding, and I definitely made great friends, but throughout my experiences I knew something was not right. I found myself constantly researching other schools, and I seriously considered transferring around Thanksgiving break.”
Marcail is transferring to Beloit College in Wisconsin, a school that is definitely not as well known as Bates. “Reputation had everything to do with my decision, which is why I was so disappointed in myself. I was automatically drawn to Bates because of its name. As time went on I realized that for how much my family was paying, I could have definitely been happier.”
Marcail is excited to transfer to Beloit, especially because “Beloit seems to give more personal attention to students. For example, when I got my acceptance letter to Beloit senior year, there was a hand written letter from the dean attached.” She had been considering playing lacrosse at Beloit, but unfortunately tore her ACL during her senior year. The lacrosse coach called and wrote her letters to see how her recovery was going. “That kind of personal attention was nonexistent at Bates. When I received my acceptance from Bates, I was merely a number.”
Beloit also offers a student body that is more appealing to Marcail. “Bates was overwhelmingly preppy and white, and I was looking for a more diverse, funky student body.”
Although that was enough for her to make her decision, she also had two great references. Marcail’s mother attended Beloit, and her sister is currently a student there as well. “They could vouch for the excellence of the professors and the high standard the students were held to, and overall it just seems like a better fit.”
Academically, Marcail is already looking forward to pursuing opportunities that were unavailable to her at Bates. She is planning on studying Arabic, a language not offered at Bates, and majoring in International Relations, also not offered at Bates.
The deal is only made sweeter by the fact that Marcail will be attending Beloit on a Presidential Scholarship, and will also be receiving a family grant. Her tuition at Beloit will be less than half of what she paid at Bates.
While the big name colleges can be incredibly appealing, its important to stay focused on what you want out of a school. Marcail will be getting her ideal education at Beloit, which is not as well known as Bates. Popularity does not determine the quality of education, nor the likelihood that the school will be the right choice for you.