By Ryan Galindo, @rygalindo, Staff Writer

A little more than a year ago, I began my college application odyssey. I was deeply intent of leaving my small island home of Guam for a bigger and more bustling location. Being the indecisive adolescent that I was (and still am), I applied to a whopping 12 colleges, all scattered around the country. I had applied to schools in Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, California, New York and the great state of Massachusetts.

Guam is so far away and almost virtually unknown that sometimes people regard it as another country. It took 24 hours of transportation to get to this city. Imagine the jet lag I was subjected to. Some people have no idea where Guam is or that it even existed. I’ve even gotten asked,

“Is that a band?”

As much as I love Guam, I had the urge to experience a new environment, so I chose not to apply to any colleges on the island. I wanted to go off-island, out-of-state. Of course, a change of scene wasn’t the only factor that drew me to Boston University. Academics, diversity, financial aid and student life came into play as well.

Of the 12 schools I applied, four of them were public universities. The rest were private. Despite applying for financial aid, I received an inadequate amount of aid from the public schools I was accepted to. I knew that taking loans was indeed a possibility, but I didn’t want to rack up nearly 30 thousand dollars of loans my freshman year. With that in mind, I crossed off all public universities from my list.

Of the private schools I was accepted to, BU gave me financial aid that was the most feasible for my me and my parents. That, combined with BU’s academics, endless activities and diversity, were enough for me to commit to BU.

But that’s just my take on things. I’m only one of the 3,900 students in the class of 2016. So, I went around and talked to my fellow classmates to see what made them choose this school over others.

College of Arts and Sciences freshman Jordie Forstot hails from New Jersey. Forstot only applied to one in-state school and the rest out-of-state. She said a university’s status as public or private should not matter. Instead, she said what the school can offer matters most.

“Attending a private or public university does not make a difference for me,” she said. “I just want to be happy academically and socially, and I think that can happen for anyone at either a public or private university.”

However, Forstot said she’d prefer an out-of-state university because being farther away from her family will give her more independence and “reduce the ability to go home on a whim.”

Like Forstot, CAS freshman Katrina Uy also preferred out-of-state universities over in-state.

“When I was applying to colleges, location was one of the most influential factors on my decision,” Uy said.

Uy, a Connecticut native, said she chose BU for the opportunities the school and the city can provide her as opposed to a university set in a rural location “basically in the middle of nowhere.”

“Even though I think people should definitely take a school’s academics into consideration, I also think that they should really take some time to think about the place they’ll be living in for the next 4 years.”

Unlike the other two, CAS freshman Melanie Chin a Massachusetts native.

“One of the pros of attending a school not-so-far from home is that I can choose to hop onto the red line for a home-cooked dinner if I want,” she said.

Chin hails from Quincy, a mere eight miles from BU.

“There’s an incredible amount of colleges within Boston, and considering the proximity of my hometown to here, I have more than just a few friends that I can visit too.”

However, a huge downside to living so close to home could be a “possible surprise visit from parents,” she said.

She said values the close-knit community that BU offers her and regrets nothing about her decision to attend a private university “except for the tuition bill.”

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