June 2014: I’m sitting at graduation patiently waiting for my name to be called. It hadn’t settled in yet; I was about to graduate high school. At this point in time, I had no connection to Nipissing, or really any University for that matter. A few friends had told me about different schools that I should attend, but as an indecisive 17-year-old, there was no way I was ready to make such a big decision. Back for grade 13, or a victory lap, as many called it. I was really there just to buy myself some time, and grow up a bit. It gave me a chance to work nearly full-time, and do some research about what I wanted to do with the next four years of my life.

My family was very supportive and understanding of the position I was in – there was not too much pressure for me to really leave the house to find a job or go to school. However, having that extra year to think about everything made a huge difference. By the end of 2014, I was ready to take the next step in my life and confidently filled out my University applications.

Believe it or not, Nipissing wasn’t originally one of my top two choices. I applied to the school for what they could offer me from an academic perspective, and felt their business program was a good fit, but if you would have asked me a year ago where I would be right now, North Bay likely would not have been the answer.

The letters of acceptance began to come in last January. I was offered admission, with entrance scholarships, to all of the schools I applied to. My immediate reaction was to jump right in and accept the offer to my No. 1 choice at the time. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t.

Choosing a University is a big decision. One thing I learned throughout the process is you must weigh the pros and cons of all of your options. This is how Nipissing became the school for me. It all started with an applicant reception in my hometown–Barrie–where I met some of the people I now work with in the Student Recruitment Office (yeah, small world). They provided some great information about the University, and really encouraged me to check out the campus.

The campus tour really sold me. It is a scary thought being out on your own to take on the World at such a young age, but by the looks of it, everything within the school was set up for students to succeed. On the drive home from the tour, I had made up my mind; I wanted to be a Laker. It was a big decision, but Nipissing really made it an easy one.

Looking back, I do not regret a thing. Everything that was emphasized during the campus tours and applicant receptions wound up being true. As a Laker, you are part of a community, and making the transition from high school to University is much easier when you are more than just a number.

– Cooper