This fall, I will be attending the University of South Carolina (in Columbia, SC) as a part of their Honors College as well as their Top Scholars Program. While offers from big-name universities proved tempting, I believe USC will be by far the best fit for me and provide me with the best possible start to a career in marine conservation. Their marine program for undergraduates is outstanding, and because of USC’s size, they can provide significant resources to labs. Furthermore, USC is able to cater to those in their Top Scholars Program to a degree that other schools (such as those with outstanding graduate programs like Duke or Northwestern) cannot; I will be provided with a slew of advisors and be able to work closely in labs, internships, and study abroad programs as early as my first year. While visiting USC, I very much got the feeling that my experience there would mix all the best portions of a large research university with a smaller, tighter-knit school to provide an ideal community that will both make me happy and create great opportunities that will help me land easily in graduate school and (I feel fortunate to say) without any undergraduate debt. Columbia felt like a wonderful new place to call home, and I am looking forward to beginning my studies in the fall. Go Gamecocks!