Feature image from hitthefloor.com


I love shopping, but up until recently, I’ve always thought of shopping as the antithesis of school; it’s often seen as shallow and unnecessary and mindless, while school is productive (or at least should be) and useful and requires great thinking.

But if you think about it, there are actually many similarities between a shopping trip and selecting colleges. So, if you love shopping as much as I do, below are just some of the many ways you can put your shopaholic skills to use:

 

Online shopping

Seriously, why go to the trouble of going to the stores when you can shop to your heart's content right from the comfort of your own home? (imgflip.com)

Seriously, why go to the trouble of going to the stores when you can shop to your heart’s content right from the comfort of your own home? (imgflip.com)

Scrolling through pages after page of dresses and sweaters on sale is like browsing the school’s website: sometimes the pictures give you unrealistic expectations and you end up disappointed, but other times the real deal is even better than you could have expected.
But, as much browsing as you may do, it’s never quite the same as trying it on in person to see if it ~fits~ you.

 

Boutique stores and thrift shops

Twenty dollars may not pay for college, but I sure can get a sweet coat out of it (smosh.com)

Twenty dollars may not pay for college, but I sure can get a sweet coat out of it (smosh.com)

These stores are often tucked away little gems that not too many people have heard about, but offer some of the best finds out there. Likewise, the small liberal arts colleges nestled in the middle of nowhere offer some of the best educations in this country, but you have to do a bit of digging because they’re often not the first thing that pop into people’s minds.

 

Malls

Malls are where the cool kids are at; see: Robin Sparkles (happilyunmarried.com)

Malls are where the cool kids are at; I know it, Robin Sparkles knows it, do you know it? (happilyunmarried.com)

On the other hand, these colossal stretches of stores are like big, familiar state schools that everyone has heard of and knows everything about. They can be overwhelming, but after spending a bit of time there, you find a niche and quickly find the shortcuts and hacks needed to make yourself at home amongst the thousand of other students (or stores) around you.

 

Making a purchase

Looking over receipts are always good doses of reality, but my college tuition bill may be a bit much for even me to handle (media-cache.com)

Looking over receipts are always good doses of reality, but my college tuition bill may be a bit much for even me to handle (media-cache.com)

When you commit to a college and pay that first round of tuition, it’ll be one of the most expensive things you’ll probably ever buy (other than a house or car). However, like that reliable pair of L.L. Bean boots, it’ll be a valuable investment that you’ll get years and years worth of use out of.

 

 Coupons

This kid knows how it's done (media-cache.com)

This kid knows how it’s done (media-cache.com)

They’re the scholarships of shopping; you wouldn’t have half of what you own without these nifty little discounts. Likewise, financial aid, scholarships, and other awards will help make your college education that much more affordable, but it’s up to you to search them out and see if they apply to what you want. Sometimes, you get lucky and find exactly what you’re looking for, and that’s a victory worth celebrating.

 

Decisions, Decisions

If I can make a decision in under twenty minutes, it’s a good day. And that’s for a pair of pants. Let’s not even get into college decisions. (relatably.com)

We’ve all had that moment when you’re at the checkout counter and suddenly panic about whether you should buy the white shirt or the blue shirt: likewise, on April 30th you may very well find yourself fretting over which of the two schools you’ve narrowed it down to should be the final choice.

Committing to a school (or a shirt) can be hard, especially when both look equally good on you. If that’s case, I say you can’t go wrong; just trust your gut and you’ll end up happy regardless of which you choose.

 

Second Opinions

When you ask your friend if that turtleneck looked good on you (wordpress.com)

When you ask your friend if that turtleneck looked good on you (wordpress.com)

Bringing your best friend into the dressing room for a second opinion is inevitable; so is discussing college choices with parents and friends and alumni, all of whom can offer a unique perspective others can’t.

However, just remember that ultimately you’re the one who’ll actually be wearing those jeans or attending that school, so while you should take others’ opinions into account, stay true to yourself and don’t be swayed into a decision you’ll end up regretting.

June Xia

June is a junior at Cornell University studying biology. She attended public high school in the Philly suburbs, where she ate lots of water ice and hoagies. June enjoys watching TV, playing candy crush, and reading the New York Times. Writing poetry and knitting kept her sane during admissions season, plus a lot of chocolate and hugs; she made it out alive, and is all the more introspective and aware thanks to the experience.