The first two About Me posts have covered the entirety of my childhood. If you want to learn more about how I started to develop my money, mindset and mission ideologies from a young age, checkout this link to my first About Me post. In my second About Me post, I talked a lot about how I developed my entrepreneurial mindset by monetizing a unique skill and ability I learned at a young age. You can read about this by following this hyperlink.
Setting the Stage:
Now it is time to begin discussing my late teenage years and some of the most difficult decisions I had to make in my life.
At this point in my life, I am 17 years old going into my senior year of high school. I have continued playing tennis throughout high school and I reached a top 10 junior ranking in the state of Texas. Texas is known for having some of the best junior tennis in the country (including Florida and California), and being a top junior, I was being recruited by Division 1 tennis programs to play for their schools. I always knew I wanted to compete at a high level in anything I did so the thought of becoming a D1 athlete was extremely appealing.
As my senior year began, I would get calls and letters from D1 coaches every week. After speaking with different schools, I had narrowed it down to the top 5 schools I wanted to take official visits to. An official visit is a free visit to a university where they will immerse you in the college experience with student athletes on the team. It is an incredible experience I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to go through. The 5 schools I decided to take official visits to were: University of South Carolina, Sothern Methodist University (SMU), SUNY at Buffalo, Louisiana Lafayette, and Lamar University.
When doing my college search, there were 4 main things I was looking for:
- A highly rated engineering program
- Could immediately play in the lineup for the team
- Could receive an athletic and academic scholarship to the university
- A fun college town experience
How I Made My Final College Decision
Deciding on where to attend college was extremely difficult, especially for a 17-year-old who hadn’t experienced traveling or being away from home much at all. I had an incredible time during the official visits to each university. Once all my visits were complete, it was time to make a final decision. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had understood what a decision matrix was and how that could have helped me make an unbiased decision. If you want to learn more about what it is, follow this link. I don’t think this would have changed my final decision, but it would have been something interesting to look back on now.
After much conversation and debate with my parents, I decided to attend SUNY at Buffalo. Here are the main reasons I decided to attend SUNY at Buffalo over the other schools I went to visit:
- Buffalo had a solid engineering school, and knowing I had no aspirations of becoming a professional tennis player, the degree I would receive would be extremely important in setting myself up for future success
- The tennis program was an up and coming program. They had a brand-new head coach who was a top 10 D1 singles player from the University of Alabama. All the players on the team loved his passion and how he coached the team. In just one year, the coach had been able to turn the team around from being the worst in the MAC conference to sharing the MAC Championship with Western Michigan. I would have the opportunity to immediately come in and make an impact on the program.
- I was being offered $15,500 worth of athletic and academic scholarships. This would put my total out of pocket cost at $7,000/year. I was in an extremely fortunate situation where my parents saved up $28,000 to be used for college tuition. If I were to complete my degree in four years, I would be coming out of school with no debt. This would be huge!
- Buffalo was a big city with a lot of things to do. I was ready to try something completely new that would put me outside of my comfort zone. I would be far from all family and friends and could meet a ton of new people.
- Looking back on the decision I made to attend SUNY at Buffalo, I am grateful for the opportunities it brought. This is not the end of my college decisions I had to make (as you will find out from a later post), but I do have some key takeaways from going through the process.
- Use a Decisions Matrix when going through to make difficult choices in life. To do this, detail out what decision you are trying to make, what the key factors are, and what the weight of each factor is. Then go through and give a ranking for each decision to then calculate an unbiased decision. Checkout this link that walks through a little more detail.
- When thinking about which university you want to attend, try and look at it from a completely unbiased point of view. If I had a biased point of view prior to making my final decision, I don’t think I would have ever decided to attend Buffalo. I mean, why the heck would a kid from the south ever want to go up and deal with the cold weather up in Buffalo!
- Talk with friends and family to fully flesh out your thought process on how you view each school. Every school you are choosing from will have its pros and cons. Having key people in your life you can talk through your thoughts with will help lead you in the right direction.