I applied to 12 schools, got into 6, waitlisted at 1, and denied from 5. I narrowed it from 6 to 3 (the final three being: Vanderbilt, the University of Georgia, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
UNC Chapel Hill was gorgeous and a great fit, but ultimately it was too expensive.
My family has a lot of history with the University of Georgia (my aunts and uncles, my parents, my grandparents, and all of my cousins have gone there), so it was hard to give up the school I had pictured myself attending since I was little girl, where I pictured myself attending even senior year.
I actually didn’t seriously think about Vandy until I got in. All I knew about it was that it was beautiful and they beat UGA in football one year at UGA’s Sanford Stadium. The more I researched, the more I fell in love. Vanderbilt’s academics and the opportunities that come with that (research, internships, medical school acceptance rate/advising, opportunities with the university medical center) were the ultimate draw. With a class so small and so much attention placed on undergraduates, I knew that I’d get the attention that I need. Smaller class sizes were a huge factor too—I’m taking a writing seminar with only 15 students this fall! My largest class is a general chemistry lecture, and there are only 200, compared to what would be a class of 1000 at UGA. Plus, they have this thing called the Commons where the freshman live, which is much like Harry Potter with heads of house and everything. (there may be a quidditch tournament between houses if i’m not mistaken!) The thing that did it was the feel of the campus, though. I went for the College of Arts & Sciences Preview day and it was being on campus, having a tour, talking with the students, we ate lunch with the students in the commons dining center and it just felt like the right fit! that day, after driving four and half hours home, I mailed my enrollment deposit! i just went with my gut.
That was kind of long-winded, but I hope it helped!