Student Life

Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, Smile Because It Happened

When the first bell sounded, announcing the dawn of the 2018-19 school year, Seniors had one thing one their minds: college. They busied themselves with applications, essays, scholarships, and much more to apply to their colleges of interest. Fast forward to May 1:  decision day. This is the date most or all seniors had to decide which college they will be attending, a huge life decision. It can be really hard to choose the college that is the best for you, but eventually one will outweigh the others and you have to make a choice. As the year draws to a close, we wanted to know why Seniors choose the colleges that they did, and this is what we found.

There are many reasons why seniors choose certain colleges. Whether price, size, or location, everyone has a different reason. When asked what factors were important to Allan Quevedo (University of San Francisco) when deciding to go to college, he replied, “(The school’s) chemistry and philosophy programs, and also it’s one of the most diverse campuses in the country with a very good ratio of latino, asian, white, black, and mixed races.” Diversity was very important when choosing his college, whereas Athena Diamantidis (University of Southern California) explained, “Probably price, location, campus life, and sort of the vibe because I didn’t want to go to a super competitive school, but I also didn’t want to go to just a party school where there is no academic stuff.”  These are some of the main factors that they thought of when choosing a college, but for some seniors there are more specific reasons.

For many it came down to price. Claire Barbiero (College of Marin) explained, “Basically, I chose a school where I could afford to go without being in a bunch of debt.” Money is a huge issue when it comes to college. Prices are rising and many families can’t afford to send their children off to many schools. This year brought the college scandal where parents were spending unbelievable amounts of money to get their children into elite schools. This is not the case for most. Many students have to endlessly worry about money before even researching schools that they might want to attend. Colleges, however, are not necessarily defined by their price. They usually offer financial aid and try to help because they know how hard it can be to cover the cost. Not only do students have to figure out what their perfect school is, they have to decide whether to stay in state, or go out of state.

This is another tough decision. For Aydin Oelzturk (UC Merced) it wasn’t. He explained, “Well my dad has stage four cancer so I’d like to stay near him so that I can come back before things get worse, that’s basically it.” The decision affects both students and their families. For Olivia Sibbet (Lawrence University) this wasn’t the case. She explained, “I wanted to just honestly get out of here, and also wanted to experience a new place and somewhere that’s not near home.” Many know whether to stay in or out of state but others struggle to decide because of money cost. For Abe Garcia Sessa (College Of Marin) it wasn’t. He explained, “I wanted to be closer to home and it’s so much cheaper.” Choosing whether to stay in or out of state can be extremely hard because if you go out of state you are leaving family and friends behind, but if you stay in state you could be missing out on a great opportunity to experience something new. Figuring out what will work best for you is all that matters.

For some students going to schools that have a reputation was important. When asked what factors were of import, Miranda Craig (UC Berkeley) mentioned, “a little bit prestige” and Sophie Yoakum (UC Los Angeles) also mentioned, “prestige, a little bit.” There will always be those certain colleges that have a much higher reputation than all the others–Stanford is one of these. Sawyer Taylor (Stanford University) explained, “Attending Stanford has been a goal of mine for quite some time now.” Stanford is a dream for many of us because of its high reputation, but for Sawyer, it was a dream because, “When my mom was my age she got in, but she couldn’t afford it so it has always been kind of an ongoing joke. My mom’s always been like, “You gotta get into Stanford.’” Not only is prestige important for some seniors, but so is going to a college with a great program for their major.

Choosing a major for college can be extremely hard for students. Some know exactly what they want to do, and some have no idea. Going to a college that had a good program for their major was very important for some students here at TL. Miranda Craig (UC Berkeley) mentioned both, ”They have a great biology department,” and “the biology program was really important to me when choosing a college.” For Miranda it was Biology that she was really drawn to, while Chris Santos (CSU Sacramento) felt a passion for something else. He stated, “They have my major, Kinesiology.” What’s nice is that colleges offer a very wide variety of majors to choose from, so no matter what you are interested in studying, there will always be a school for you.

There are so many options for Seniors to choose what they want to do after high school, and they can be pretty overwhelming. For some taking a gap year made the most sense. Others join the military, and most go to college whether a two or four year, it doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it is the right choice for you. While we didn’t find out every reason why Seniors were choosing their school, these were the ones that we did find. There are so many other reasons such as some being drawn to a certain city, or wanting to leave the country to experience travelling, and a new way of living, but that’s what’s so great. Seniors get to decide what their reasons are for choosing the right school for them.

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