Written by Elizabeth Bradley |
When May 1st, “decision day” recently passed, students and staff disclosed the truth behind college decisions. U.S. World and News Report recently published an article “As College Decision Day Looms, Schools Say: Pick Me” about college decisions.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has a page dedicated to tips on making the final decision senior year! Among the many tips they offer is, “If you have received financial aid offers, compare them carefully. Determine exactly what your out-of-pocket cost will be to attend each school.” How did this year’s seniors decide which college to attend? I took to the halls and classrooms of Morgan to get the real deal on making “the big college decision.”
Senior Rory Smith had a plan from the beginning of the application process to attend a four year university and then go for her masters. She found her new home at University of Delaware where she is majoring in nursing and minoring in Spanish. When asked what the most important factors were in her decision, she said, “Money was a big part of my decision, and the program was important as well, I applied for the honors program, and I liked what the nursing program at UDel had to offer.” I took it a step further and asked her about the financial aspect of college for not only her, but in general. She said, “I definitely think they affect other people’s decisions. UDel was my top school from the beginning, and fortunately it was the school that gave me the most money. Colleges are so expensive, and I know there are a lot of people that cannot go to their favorite schools because of money. It is sad that people can’t go to their dream school because they cannot afford it.”
Rachel Sneider found herself in that very predicament a few days before the final deadline. Rachel had all intentions of attending Coastal Carolina University in the fall of 2014, but last minute her plans took an unexpected twist. She said, “At first Coastal became my number one dream school. After a month of already being enrolled in the school, I realized Coastal wasn’t the best choice financially. When Keene State called and said they had awarded me grants, I decided to withdraw my enrollment from Coastal and enroll at Keene. I plan on spending one year at Keene and then transferring to Coastal for the next three years.” Rachel plans on majoring in education wherever her path may lead her, and she has hopes to study abroad in Italy while taking a course in Italian. Since she is hoping to transfer to her dream school, I asked her how she felt about the whole transfer process. She said, “Transferring is definitely something that is looked down upon because parents and people want you to build a relationship for four years at a school so you can optimize the college experience, when in reality sometimes it ends up being better for the individual and their financial needs.”
Senior Kevin Moran, who has a little more background with the whole transfer process, shared his plans after high school. In the fall he is attending Gateway Community College in Connecticut with the hopes to take all of his general education classes and then transfer out to a bigger school where he will live on campus. When asked about the financial aid process, he said, “I think that prices of college affect your decision depending on what situation your family is in with money. I think financial aid gives great help for many students that don’t want to give up on their dream school. Most of the time it helps, and it might not be all that they need, but it will hopefully help their choice.” When he transfers to a four year university, he would like to major in journalism.
Senior Sarah Anderson has fully embraced the commuting life as well. In the fall she is attending Central Connecticut State University and majoring in political science, but after her first year or two, she is looking to transfer out to another four year university. I asked her what her reason for commuting was, and she said, “My biggest reason for commuting to Central was staying in close distance with family. I also liked the school, and it was much more affordable.” She also added “At least I won’t gain the freshman 15!” Sarah’s dream school is Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, but unfortunately she will not attend due to the financial aid offered. She commented on that saying, “Yes, financial aid affected my college decision completely. I did not get enough money to attend the college I wanted to in the fall. I think it helps out some people, but it has the capability to hurt many people as well.”
Riley Cronan has very specific goals for the fall of 2014. He is attending Seton Hall which is located in South Orange, New Jersey for four years with a plan to continue with a three year doctorate program. Riley is going in majoring in exercise science and minoring in Spanish. I asked Riley if his college decision was solely his, and he said, “The decision was entirely up to me as to where I wanted to go. It was just that I needed to prepare myself for the classes and the environment, and also whatever student loans I will have to pay. My parents are co-signing on my loans and they are more than helpful, but I am taking responsibility when I graduate for most of the loans.” Senior, Jason Comeau, is also attending the four year college, New England College (NEC) in the fall. He is double majoring in the criminal justice and psychology programs. I asked Jason how much financial aid played a role in his college decision and he said, “NEC gave me an $18,000 grant which played a heavy part in the decision process because it was the highest amount given to me. It is in a small town, and I’m from a small town, I know I can get a job there and get to know a lot of the people more quickly.”
Lastly, Senior Maddi Roman is planning on attending Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY in the fall. The most important factor in choosing Hofstra for her was the communications program, because that is her major. The next most important was where it was located because it affected internships in the future. Maddi also added, “The food is really good there, and there is a Starbucks, which was important to me!”