You don’t get to go to your top choice? It’s okay.

The Westfield Public School system holds itself to an incredibly high standard. The “Tradition of Excellence’’ puts an incredible amount of pressure on students to go to high-level colleges and universities after graduating from WHS.

With acceptance rates dropping at schools across the country, some students are bound to commit to a less-preferred institution.

The process of finding the right college is a brutal one, and many students do not end up at the school they would label as their “top choice.” Although disappointing, going to a school lower on your list oftentimes can lead to the best possible outcome.

Julie Kurtz graduated from WHS last year and currently attends Penn State University, and although Clemson University was her top choice before committing, she has no regrets. Kurtz said, “I really could not imagine myself anywhere else and can confidently say that Penn State did end up being the best option for me, even though it was not my top choice at the time of applying.”

Some students find themselves in the tough situation of getting accepted to their top school, but are unable to afford it, which happened to English Teacher Aimee Burgoyne-Black in high school. After wanting to attend Oberlin College but being unable to afford it, Burgoyne-Black went to Rutgers University instead.

“Wherever you end up, you’re going to make the most of your experience while you’re there,” said Burgoyne-Black. “I wouldn’t be disappointed about not getting into your first choice school; different opportunities will present themselves wherever you go.”

There are many other reasons that a student may not put a certain college at the top of their list. One of the factors that kept Penn State from the top of Kurtz’s list was the size of the school. Kurtz said, “I was really nervous about the size of the school as it is around 40,000 undergraduate students, which is really overwhelming.” However, during her freshman year, she did not see size as an issue. “The size of the school had no effect on me once I got settled in. The campus and population feel a lot smaller than they really are.”

Ella Schotz, a senior at The College of William & Mary, was rejected by her top three choices, and she said William & Mary was not one of the schools she was hoping to attend. However, after four years there, Schotz said, “Of my options, William & Mary was the best choice for me. I have made so many great friends and had so many amazing opportunities.”

There is simply no way of knowing which college will be the best fit, which is why students who do not get into their top choice should not feel like they are missing out. As Schotz explained, “There is not one best school for anyone, because it’s how you treat it, and there are so many factors that can make your experience great.”