Senior Points to Ponder as Graduation Approaches

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Senior Points to Ponder as Graduation Approaches

Sydney Newell, Sports and School News Editor

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        If you were engaged by this article title and are now reading this,  then in the next few months, you are about to make one of the most important decisions of your life. If you are academic, it is time to choose a college that is right for you. If you are militarily inclined, then it’s time to talk with recruiters.  If you are handy with your hands, then you need to select a trade and a trade school.  This article, however, focuses primarily on those graduating seniors who will be attending college.

          The big question is, based on financial and academic considerations, which college is right for you?  This is definitely not an easy decision because obviously this new campus will be your home for the next four plus years. With that being said, there are many aspects a senior must consider before making a decision. Probably the easiest way to do so is to make a Consideration List. Here’s an example of one this reporter created:

  • How far is this school from my actual hometown?
  • What is the tuition?
  • What scholarships–both academic and those based on financial need– are available for me?
  • Should I stay close to home?
  • Will I be able to live on Ramen Noodles for the next four years?
  • Are the dorms nice?
  • Will my roommate be tolerable?
  • Can I have a car on campus my first year?
  • Will I be comfortable away from my parents for this long?

           Overwhelming right? While I am currently experiencing the same indecisive frustration, I have done my best to sort out my answers to these questions. It is a definite ‘NO’ to the Ramen Noodle one, by the way.  Probably the best way to decide where to go, is to decide whether or not you will be happy there.  It will limit or destroy your potential if you aren’t happy with your college choice.

           Money is the factor which makes that college choice a viable opportunity.  According to online sources, “the average cost of a year at an in-state university or college is $9,410. The cost for out-of-state students is $23,893, or more than two and a half times higher. It’s literally the difference between owing $37,640 and $95,572 before you ever get to graduate school (which is increasingly becoming a necessity in fields that require a college education).”

            To help combat this money dilemma, there are available scholarships, but this reporter believes that money isn’t actually the most important factor in this already difficult decision. It is important to really love the school that you choose, and if that choice puts you in debt, then so be it.  Unfortunately, that debt will put you in league with thousands of other student borrowers in the U.S. today.  According to the U.S. Student Loan site, “Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. That’s about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt! In fact, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from 2015.”  So this statistic shows that many college students are forced to borrow, and you should realize that once you do get a degree, paying off this debt will have to be your first order of business, after getting a job, that is.

         Leaving home may be upsetting for you, and it may be upsetting to your family, but everyone does adjust. College is something completely new and exciting. Don’t forget that the most important thing to consider when making this decision is your own personal career future and happiness. One senior, besides this reporter, who is going through the same process is Ruthie Sandberg. Sandberg states: “I know my college choice is going to be a tough decision, but I know that my friends and family will help me get through it.”

          An online source has this to say about picking the right college.  “The selection process doesn’t need to be overwhelmingly stressful for students or parents—it can even be fun.. . . Take a deep breath and use tips from college officials, coaches, and counselors to find the right college for you.”   This advice may sometimes seem unrealistic or hard to take, with all the decisions to be made in the next six months, but I guess we can try, right?  So seniors, think hard and remember that I’m pondering right there with you.



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