By Christie Lai
All the stress of applying to colleges is finally starting to pay off as seniors have been receiving college decisions. The acceptances are rewarding and help balance out the negativity of the rejections; however, now comes the stress of deciding where to go. Students apply to colleges based on where they have always dreamed of going but the decision process is much more complicated. It all comes down to three things: proximity, cost, and academics.
All three factors are closely related, as proximity can lead to lower costs, academics can lead to higher costs, and academics may not allow for proximity if there aren’t any “good” schools around. Seniors have to decide which is most important to them and their family, which results in deciding between something practical and a school they love.
Proximity has much to do with family. Some parents want their children to stay close because it’s hard for them to let go and so it is easier to get home. Others don’t care and want their children to be independent.
“Of course I would love for my daughter to stay in the city but it’s not something as simple as what I want. It’s about what she wants and the city might not have that. I’m most worried about price because it doesn’t matter how good or bad a school is if I can’t pay for it,” said Linli Rosenberg, a Tech parent.
Cost is probably the biggest factor in choosing a college. Many students dream of going to Harvard University but realize that they would get an adequate education elsewhere for a fraction of the price. Financial aid is very helpful in allowing students to go to more costly schools but sometimes it’s just not enough. Universities offer many loans but students try to steer clear of them as interest rates are high. This often results in going to a lower rank school that is more affordable.
Seniors research hundreds of lists of top schools in the country but few of the lists are the same. Dream schools are usually just popular schools that have earned household names. While they are great academically, education is education and it can be found everywhere, regardless of the school.
“I have the grades for better schools but I’m probably going to a CUNY (City University of New York) because it’s way cheaper. Hunter College is good for nursing so there’s no reason not to go there,” said Jacqueline Huang, ’13.
Majors are another thing to take into consideration. If you are interested in the medical field, your range of options for college are much wider because a doctor’s MD or PhD is legitimate regardless of his or her educational background. In this case, students are able to choose cheaper alternatives. If students want to pursue careers in business, the particular school would matter. The more elite the school is, the better the chances of becoming successful in the business field.
Many seniors are terrified to hear that May 1st is coming up, as it is the deadline go make deposits for most schools. Students are frantically researching their colleges to make sure they choose what is best for them.
“I’m pretty worried at this point. I’ve only received one decision back while most people have gotten everything back already. I don’t know how the schools expect me to choose within such short notice, especially when all the news is going to arrive around the same time,” stated senior Jacky Zhen.
As students are swamped with all things college, they often forget that they only have a few months left of high school. The stress takes away from the fun of senior year as well as simple appreciation of the school that we have grown to love over the past three and a half years. Once college decisions are completed around May, seniors will have to take their advance placement tests. This will most likely be the last difficult task of the year, not including planning for prom, of course.