I never wanted to go to college in my hometown. I’m so glad I was wrong.

Four students wearing CSU gear sit closely on a ridgeline and enjoy a sunset and a view of Fort Collins.

If you grew up in Fort Collins, you probably already have your own ideas about Colorado State University. When you’re making your college decision, you might write CSU off because going to college in your hometown seems unappealing. You want to explore a new place and experience new things. This is how I felt during my college search, but I want to share with you why I chose CSU and why I love attending it as a local.

Growing up in Fort Collins

I have lived in Fort Collins from the time I started kindergarten to when I graduated from Fossil Ridge High School. Fort Collins is an amazing place to grow up with outdoor spaces, a fun downtown area to explore, and opportunities for community involvement. CSU was where I would go to watch women’s soccer games by the lagoon, see a play at the University Center for the Arts, or volunteer at Moby Arena selling concessions. I love Fort Collins, but when it came to my college search, I felt that I needed to leave my hometown to have the ideal college experience.

Why I chose CSU

I looked all over the country at universities in hopes to find my school. As I visited schools, I realized that the college campus where I felt the most welcomed was in my hometown. The campus, the people, and the opportunities offered at CSU called to me. I felt that I would be supported and truly thrive at CSU. The only issue I had was that it was in my hometown. I decided that this should not be the reason I write off CSU. I chose CSU despite my fear of attending as a local, and I am beyond happy I did.

Fort Collins: old and new

I love how coming to CSU has allowed me to explore a new part of the place I grew up in. It combines old memories of graduating high school in Moby Arena with new memories of singing karaoke with friends in my residence hall. Living in the residence halls on campus puts you in an entirely new environment where you get to meet new people and experience new things. You can grab pizza at 1 a.m. and have a movie night in the residence hall lobby. You are walking distance from the shops and eateries of Old Town. You can grab brunch downtown on a weekend morning or study late at night at a nearby coffee shop. You get to tailgate and go to games as a student while showing your Ram pride. You can go to Horsetooth Reservoir or hike in Lory State Park with your out-of-state friends who have never experienced the mountains. My new friends have shown me how fortunate I am to have lived in Fort Collins with its unique opportunities and features.

The place I have called home for many years has taken on new meaning for me, and I do not feel like I am in the same town that I grew up in. Attending CSU as a local has been my ideal college experience because it has allowed me to learn, explore, and experience new things while receiving the support I need.

Priya Williams is graduating in 2022 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She is a part of the residential leadership program, involved with the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, volunteers for the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and works the front desk at a residence hall. She is a Fort Collins local who loves paddle boarding on Horsetooth Reservoir, dancing in Zumba classes, and singing karaoke with her friends.

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