The April of senior year is one of the most exciting times to be a high school student. April means prom planning, finishing up final assignments, and of course, undergoing the home stretch before you must decide what college you are attending on the first of May. As a result, April is filled with last-minute college visits, frantic Google searches about facts and figures, and co-conspiracy meetings with your best friends to try to convince everyone to go to the same college together.  For me, the April college search was slightly less stressful because I had already decided I was coming to the South Carolina Honors College and put down my deposit on the first day possible, but the process leading up to that decision was very similar to what April is like for many students.

The summer and fall of my senior year of high school, my mom and I toured schools all over the southeast. We visited an array of drastically different schools, from tiny liberal arts colleges all the way up to the biggest state universities we could find. However, none of the schools felt like a perfect fit, so I turned my sights a little closer to home. Being from Columbia, I was originally reserved about visiting the Honors College because I was scared of being too close to the little suburban neighborhood I had spent my entire life in. I finally agreed to spend a day with one of my older brother's friends who was living in the Honors dorm, a girl who would later become a mentor and friend to me when I joined her as a fellow student. She took me on a tour of campus and told me about all her favorite classes and experiences in the Honors College, like spending a semester in Haiti.

All that got my attention, of course, but my favorite part of the day and what finally won me over was when she invited me to hang out with all of her friends on her hall. Before I knew what was happening I was helping to hide a mannequin in one of their friend's closets to scare her while simultaneously discussing how one of the students was using his free time to write a captivating autobiography in the style of the Odyssey. I can honestly say I had never met such interesting, passionate, and kind people. I was immediately eager to join the SCHC community.

Facts and figures are important when deciding what college you are going to attend for the next four years, and the Honors College is certainly impressive in that regard. However, I think the people and the community are equally as important in choosing where you are going to call home for the next step of your life. That amazing day I spent with my future friends at the Honors College was not a fluke and it's been replicated countless times in the almost three years I've been here. So high school seniors, while visiting your final list of colleges one last time, don't forget to speak to and engage with current and admitted students, because they are the part of the university that are truly going to make it feel like home.   

-Kelly Taylor, international studies major, criminal justice minor

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