Making the Decision

Regis Jesuit seniors choosing their colleges

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Making the Decision

Dean Hampers '16

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One choice. Four years. Tis the season of college decisions. Seniors are currently receiving acceptances, waitlists, and rejections from various schools, and the pressure is intensifying to make the decision about their futures. While 60 out of 90 surveyed seniors say they are now sure where they will go, the remaining one-third are still in the crucial process of choosing their college.

It begs the question, where are students going and what are they looking for?

Among the 90 surveyed seniors from both divisions, 27.0% stated that location was the most important factor in choosing a school. As a result, many students simply opt to stay in-state for college. Senior Luke Barbier said, “After returning from a study abroad program in Mexico, location became a major factor in my college decision process. I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to study but I knew that I wanted to stay in-state”. As Colorado is known for being one of the best places in the country to live, many students see no reason to leave. “[I] like Colorado very much,” said senior Jun Kim.

Even more important to students than location was the cost of a school, which was named the most important factor by 34.8% of seniors. Many students are thus more likely to attend schools that give them merit money. Not only is it helpful for families, but it can also be seen as “a reward for students’ hard work,” said counselor Mark Giesmann.

Somewhat surprisingly, about a quarter of students stated that prestige was the most important factor in a school. “While many people say that ‘names shouldn’t matter’, the reality is that the name and recognizability of your college is important in the real world,” said Regis alum and Georgetown freshman John Miller.

The overwhelming majority (82.4%) of seniors stated that the process of deciding on the right school caused them stress. “There is a lot of pressure from outside sources, yet you also want to do what’s best for you at the same time”, said senior Hayden Smith. Regis Jesuit student Chibueze Agwu added, “It’s stressful because it’s a big life decision and one that I really don’t want to mess up.”

42.7% of surveyed seniors said that they applied to between five and eight schools, and 28% said that they applied to nine or more. So these students usually have to go through the difficult process of narrowing these numbers down to two or three top choices, and then making decisions from there.

An additional mechanism, to minimize the overwhelming amount of choices, that more students are using is the Early Decision process, where a student can make a legally-bound commitment to a certain school when he/she applies there, which often also increases the chance of getting in. For students who choose to do this, the decision-making becomes a bit easier.

“I was a recruited athlete, so they offered me admissions assistance if I went through the Early Decision process, and that simplified things,” said Matt Larouche. Senior Davis Handler also applied this way to George Washington University, saying that “it’s nice because you know where you’re going to school by December.” Juniors may want to keep an early eye out for where they want to go so that they can consider Early Decision.

Evidently, there is a wide range of factors and options worth considering, and the decision process is very different for each individual. The pressure surrounding this choice can be scary but may be justified, considering this does affect the next four years. Students should consider what is most valuable to them and how various schools will offer them that. At the same time, of course, seniors should enjoy their final days of high school at a place like Regis.

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