After all the acceptance and rejection letters arrived, I was left with two schools to choose from. The first school had awarded me an outstanding scholarship, while the second, the University of Chicago, was simply excellent. After visiting the first school, I realized that it was simply a larger version of my high school: same types of people, same easy and uninteresting classes, same low standards of academic excellence, same overemphasis on sports and partying. The benefits of the scholarship would not have outweighed the misery that being at that school would have caused. Deciding where to go to school is about deciding where you will be most fulfilled. Every school will have some trait that you don't like, but if what you like about the school outweighs what you don't like to such a degree that you think you could be happy and successful, then that is the school you should choose. The price tag, reputation, prestige of a school are worthless if you aren't able to thrive there.
Obviously, the University of Chicago is high up in the rankings. I also wanted to go to a college that offered me more than just the classroom experience--not only a great community on campus, but also an interesting life off-campus. The city of Chicago is so close to the University that you get the best of both worlds.
A student from Italy tells us why she chose UChicago.