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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Decoding the college conundrum

Students have to think about their future education from entering high school
Eddie Shi
The process of choosing a college does not necessarily involve opting for the most prestigious institution. Instead, the alignment of the college with one’s personal and academic goals holds more significant importance than its institutional prestige.

Juniors and seniors face the formidable challenge of selecting the right college for their future endeavors, which has significant implications for their life paths. While the myriad options may seem bewildering, it is essential to understand that there is no inherently incorrect choice.

Some individuals may opt to bypass traditional college education and dive directly into their chosen careers, while others might find their calling in trade schools. Determining where to apply may appear intricate, but it can be manageable.

This journey commences with introspection. Your academic interests, career aspirations and desired majors should guide you when considering the ideal college fit. It is crucial to emphasize that a college’s numerical ranking should not be the sole determinant of your choice. Instead, delve into the institution’s diverse academic programs and extracurricular opportunities. While the courses offered can significantly influence your decision, particularly if you have a clear major in mind, do not disregard other equally pivotal factors.

“I have been looking at colleges online,” senior Albi Del Apa said. “The main thing I look for in a college is if it has the major I am looking for, and immediately after that, I would look to see if I have access to some sort of scholarships or grants because other than getting a scholarship, I’d like to maintain as little debt as possible.”

Colleges are entirely different from megacities to rural towns based on their location. New York University in bustling New York City will be a completely different experience than Middlebury College in rural Vermont. What if you want to join the thirty-two percent of students that studied abroad? Living in a foreign country can be an endeavor, but the opportunities are boundless. When it comes to studying abroad, culture can be a challenge. Consider if you would feel comfortable and thrive in the college’s environment and culture.

“I’m considering schools from mainly the East Coast,” senior Elisey Kolesnikov-Cherenkov said. “The opportunities match what I’m looking for.”

Class size is another pivotal consideration. Do you prefer a larger class setting that fosters a sense of community or a smaller class size that places a more pronounced emphasis on individualized attention? With hundreds of schools aligning with your preferences thus far, it becomes crucial to further refine your list by assessing additional elements.

“Me and my friends were coordinating where we should go,” senior Wyatt Sidles said. “We have a group chat where we share our concerns and future plans; we want to stay in touch in case we part ways after graduation.”

Recognize that college is not solely about acquiring an education; it also serves as an opportunity for personal growth and enrichment. Hence, it is imperative to explore each university’s extracurricular offerings. Consider whether you would like to participate in clubs, sports or organizations officially recognized by the institution. The diversity of available clubs and communities in college dramatically surpasses that of high school, offering a chance to explore and engage in various interests and passions.

While it might be tempting to rely solely on college rankings to determine your educational path, it is essential to exercise caution. Entities like U.S. News provide general estimations of institutional prestige, but these rankings are founded on subjective criteria and encompass various factors such as faculty salaries and expert opinions. As such, specific ranking metrics may not necessarily align with your personal fit. It would be best to emphasize the importance of viewing rankings as rough estimates rather than definitive guidelines.

Ultimately, the choice of a college is profoundly personal and what suits one individual may not be the best option for another. It is a decision that warrants careful consideration and should align closely with your unique goals and values. Take your time, gather as much information as possible and make a thoughtful decision that resonates with your vision for the future.

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About the Contributor
Eddie Shi, Staff Reporter
Eddie is a senior at Millard West starting his third year on the CATalyst staff. He enjoys analyzing and reviewing new technology. He also enjoys writing reviews for games and albums. Eddie enjoys traveling to many different areas worldwide to experience brand-new cultures. He is the Millard West tennis team captain. Eddie looks forward to writing for the CATalyst newspaper.

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