Why Going to Your Last Choice School Isn’t a Bad Thing

When I started looking at colleges my junior year of high school, one of the most important things to me was distance. I was sure I didn’t want to go anywhere within a 200 mile radius of my hometown. The last place I thought I would end up was my parents’ alma mater 90 minutes from home.

For months, I had my heart set on Northwestern University. I spent two days in Chicago exploring the campus, pored over the school’s website gathering every bit of information I could find, and practiced my instrument for hours every day to prepare for my audition into the music major. And then…I wasn’t accepted into the program. I was crushed. I agonized over the details, wondering what I could have done differently. To make matters worse, it was November, and I had no idea where else I wanted to go to school. I had been accepted into other universities, but I wasn’t excited about any of them. So, to please my parents, I finally agreed to visit the school where they met.


The view from the lobby of the Center for Performing Arts, where I spend a lot of time between classes

To get to Miami University from my house, you have to drive through miles and miles of farmland. Ten minutes from Miami, you’ll find a small town made up of a used car lot, a recently closed adult video store, and a tavern where Ted Nugent once played a concert. It doesn’t look promising. When I first arrived on the campus, it struck me how out-of-place Miami’s red brick seemed in the Ohio countryside.

However, it felt perfect. The campus gave me the same warm fuzzy feeling Northwestern had, but it felt much more personal. The music faculty was eager to greet me and my family, and the clarinet professor gave me a complimentary lesson. I didn’t want to leave when the day was done.

Now, here I am. Miami was my last choice until I visited, but I’m so glad I ended up here. The campus is beautiful, my classes are engaging, and the community is so welcoming. I live in a residence hall with
hundreds of people who also love the arts, and I get to spend time with my friends every single night. I thought I would be homesick, but I’m so happy here that I can’t imagine being anywhere else.


The Sundial isn’t just beautiful–legend has it if you rub its brass turtles’ heads, you’ll have good luck.

My senior quote was by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” I try to remember that quote every time something doesn’t go the way I planned. I know college applications seem like a life-or-death matter when you’re in the midst of them. There’s so much pressure to be accepted into every school you apply to, and you’re made to feel like a failure if you get denied. Once you’re at school, though, they’re a distant memory. There are too many things to do, too many friends to meet, and too many seconds to fill worrying about other things. Your identity is not the list of schools that want you. It’s okay if you aren’t accepted into your dream school; I wasn’t accepted into mine, and I consider it one of my biggest blessings.

Until next time,




Western dining hall has a thing called “Super Brunch” on Sundays–enough said.


If you love hiking, you’re in luck. Miami has lots of natural areas and an outdoor club that takes backpacking trips.


Swimming in the fountain by the Center for Performing Arts is frowned upon, but for one happy day during band camp each year, Miami turns a blind eye as the woodwind section cools off.

Anna Lockwood

Miami University 2020. Music Education.

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