Other than my safety school, Northwestern University was my last choice school – and the school I ended up attending. My mother basically blackmailed me into applying – she told me she wouldn’t pay for any of my other applications unless I applied to Northwestern. I didn’t know anything about the Midwest and had zero interest in the school. However, my mom knew Northwestern had a great writing program and that the Midwest is a fantastic part of the country. (She’s from Iowa). The reasons why I ultimately attended Northwestern are a story for another day, but the result is this: my mother knew best. I loved Northwestern and I love living in Chicago. I basically attended my last choice school, and it ended up being one of the best choices of my life.
So, from my own experience, while it’s good to know people pay attention to the way you list your schools on the FAFSA form, that may not necessarily translate into which school will ultimately serve you best! The college application process certainly has a lot of curveballs, and one of the biggest ones is finding out there are always going to be things you simply can’t know ahead of time. Therefore, being open to the unfolding adventure is a safe bet!