My decision to apply to the University of Florida had not been plotted out since eighth grade. It wasn’t a matter of, “I’m a legacy, I have to;” nor did it come from a super in-depth conversation with my family. My decision to apply to this university was simply kismet. As an out-of-state student, I did not frequently hear about the University of Florida in my household. UF was not even a university advertised by my high school. However, in my junior year, I decided that I really wanted to venture out of North Carolina. I remember sitting in my room, looking at a map of the United States and pondering which state felt right. When I looked at the state of Florida, the name “University of Florida” flashed like a neon sign in my head. I am a person who believes in signs and signals, so I took that quick thought and typed it into Google. I took a virtual tour and fell in love with the campus. A couple of weeks passed, and as spring break was approaching, I casually mentioned UF to my guidance counselor. She advised me to do more research and delve deeper than the aesthetics of the university, so over the break, I did. After researching information about my potential major and college within UF, the cost of attendance as an out-of-state student, extracurricular opportunities and the city of Gainesville itself, I knew I really was in love with the university.

With that being said, after learning how competitive admission to UF was, as well as the cost for me to attend, I felt overwhelmingly out of my league and even decided to focus on colleges and universities that were more familiar and felt more attainable to me. Fast-forward to August when applications opened. I had not applied to the University of Florida yet when one day my guidance counselor asked me about it. I brushed it off and told her that I had focused my attention elsewhere, which was true. That same day, I was driving home after class and saw a Florida Gators license plate frame on the back of a car! It was another sign. When I got home, I gave myself a pep talk: “Bran, you can do this! You’ve got nothing to lose, but a lot to possibly gain.” That same night I logged onto the Coalition application website to begin my application to this amazing, illustrious institution, and I never looked back. Starting and submitting that application, choosing to apply on faith, hope, signs and signals, opened the door for me to gain even more than I could have imagined.