Why I Chose Boulder: Jack Johnston

Jack and his friends skiingMy name is Jack, and I’m originally from Connecticut. I’m currently majoring in psychology with a hope to pursue a position in marketing or sales upon graduation. At CU Boulder, I have been incredibly involved with a diverse array of activities. I’m on the Freestyle Ski Team, I’m an EMT and hold both an on-campus position as well as an off-campus job, and I currently serve as the President of the Student Ambassador organization, coordinating over 5,000 campus tours annually. Coming to CU was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I was quickly able to find my community here and form a tight network of close friends. With a school as large as CU, no matter what your interests are, there are so many opportunities to get involved and meet students and faculty with similar interests. Whether that’s joining clubs, volunteering, or partaking in various campus events, there is a place for everyone at CU.

Applying to colleges was one of the scariest processes I went through. In the end, I applied to 19 schools. I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to study. In fact, CU was the largest school I applied to. Most schools I was looking at were around 10,000 students or so. Aside from size, I also think it is a very difficult decision for a high school senior to decide what he or she wants to major in and study for the next 4 years, and potentially more if they pursue a career or graduate school in that field. For that reason, I was drawn to CU. Although it is a much larger school than the others I looked at, something my tour guide said really stuck with me. He said, “You can make a big school feel like a small school, but you can’t always make a small school feel like a big school.” It sounds really cliché, but it’s actually so true. When I was looking at schools, I looked at all the majors each school offered because again, I had no idea what I wanted to study. What I found while looking at CU was that they offered a ton of majors that I would be very interested in studying, whereas some of the smaller schools I looked at only had one or two that seemed interesting. What that meant was that if one major fell through, I had a lot more interesting options to choose from at CU. When I committed here, I started as a Civil Engineer because I liked building things and figured that was a good major for me. Sure enough, I ended up switching majors a few times because I realized that there is way more to engineering than just “building stuff.” I eventually settled on psychology with a focus in neurological-psychology, and I have loved every second of it. I wake up every morning now excited to get to class and learn something new, as nerdy as that sounds.

My biggest piece of advice to any students reading this is to take a step back and think about where you will be the happiest. It’s much easier said than done, but not impossible. Look at the majors that every school offers and circle the ones that you think you would enjoy studying. Outside of academics, what clubs do you want to get involved in, or how do you want to spend your free time. For me, I looked at a lot of schools where I would be able to be active outside in one way or another. Whether that was skiing, hiking, biking, playing a sport, etc. CU happened to offer all of those. But it also happened to have an immense amount of academic choices for me, and a very, very strong alumni network that made me feel confident that my degree would take me places and opportunities would be waiting for me when I graduated. The last piece of advice I’ll leave you with is to not be afraid to ask questions and trust your gut. Coming from out of state, I didn’t know anyone else at CU so I was going to have to reform my entire friend network. It was really difficult, but I found that getting involved with clubs on campus helped me meet some of my best friends today. Do your research and when you come to campus, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. The odds are, someone else in the room is probably wondering the same thing but is too afraid to ask. Whether you ask your admissions counselor, your tour guide, or even a random student you pull aside on campus, everyone is here to help. Good luck with the rest of your application and decision process and Go Buffs!


Jack Johnston

Jack Johnston
Psychology, 2017