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NBC News’ Willie Geist Shares Why He Chose Vanderbilt in New Video Series

How did you know your college was “the one”? Maybe it was the campus visit or the moment the school pamphlet arrived in the mail. Maybe it took being rejected from a first choice (or your second!) to find the right fit.

In “Why I Chose," a new series from NBCNews.com's College Game Plan, NBC News anchors, reporters and friends reflect on the college application process and share the moment they knew their alma mater was the one.

A Honky Tonk Town: Why TODAY’s Willie Geist Chose Vanderbilt University 2:04

"I thought it’d be fun to pull up stakes and go try a new part of the country, and I’m really glad I did," said TODAY's Willie Geist in the debut episode of "Why I Chose."

Geist headed south from his family home in New Jersey to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He prepared for his future career in journalism by writing for the school paper, the Vanderbilt Hustler.

History Everywhere: Why NBC’s Olivia Sterns Chose U Penn 2:26

NBC News’ Olivia Sterns joked that she picked the University of Pennsylvania because her brother and high school boyfriend went there. But really, it was what Philadelphia had to offer that made her apply early.

“I chose it because I love history, and I love art history,” Sterns said. “Plus, the Philadelphia Art Museum is stunning.”

"Why I Chose" is the first in four series launching this week as part of College Game Plan, a special report covering news, features and advice for high school juniors, seniors and their parents as they navigate the college application process.

"Student Bodies" will cover issues around mind and body wellness of both students and parents; "Dorm Room CEO" will profile college students who launched their own businesses while pursuing their college education; and an advice column will help students and parents navigate everything from the financial aid process to the hidden costs of college life.

"Why I Chose" will appear on the College Game Plan page every Tuesday. Upcoming episodes will feature Northwestern alum and TODAY anchor Sheinelle Jones and University of Texas alum and TODAY correspondent Jenna Bush Hager.

College Game Plan is sponsored by Discover Student Loans.