Finding the Right Pathway 

Aarya Vaidya

Staff Writer

     The time has come faster than most expected: college applications. As seniors work diligently this month to apply to dream colleges, a reality check hits: Is the college that students hoped to attend really the best fit for them?  

     It is an important decision right now for students to decide which type of education they hope to pursue. Several students feel that four year colleges are the right route for them, while others think community college is a better track for them. Senior Allyson Infante is one of the many people who plan on attending community next year. 

      “It’s just better financially,” stated Allyson Infante (12). 

     Four year colleges are also a common choice after high school for seniors like Anekha Singh. Singh described the positive aspects of attending community college, though she feels that the four year route is a better fit for her right now.

     “For me personally, I think it would be much easier to go to a four year and get a jump start on my career,” said Anekha Singh (12).    

      Many four year colleges hope to see that students are a good fit for the university through the student essays, but some feel that this is no longer the most efficient way for colleges to be sure that they are accepting students that will be right for them. 

     “I feel like a lot of students, especially in essays, like to amp up what they do and their extracurriculars … [It] shows a really good light on them when they might not necessarily be the best fit…for that college,” explained Allyson Infante (12). 

     On the other hand, grades too do not seem to paint the full picture of high school experiences. 

     “We are basing ourselves on numbers, [and] that doesn’t really count as being a whole, [well-]rounded person. That’s just saying [the colleges] want to know how high your scores are,” expained Singh (12). 

     Singh explained how this can even lead to a harmful culture at schools. 

     “Now, since we’re getting so advanced, we are putting that to if you don’t have a 1400 in the SATs, that’s still seen as bad. I think that while being more competitive is great, it also adds a lot of depression, anxiety, and mental health problems…If you don’t have the scores, you start doubting yourself to the point where [you think] if [you] don’t do good [you’re] not going to get [in] anywhere, and that’s not true,” told Singh (12). 

    These pressures can be in part due to some students who feel that it is important to go to “name schools” in order to get their ideal career.

     “I don’t think it’s as common now, but some students put pressure on themselves to go to Harvard [or] go to Stanford when they can be getting the same education as other schools that [aren’t] necessarily Ivy League or well-known. They can still be successful doctors, successful nurses, [and] successful lawyers,” explained Infante (12).

     In the end, it is important for students to consider what they hope to get out of their time in college. 

     “I think being able to find yourself [means a successful time in college]. I still have a lot of friends, even me, that know where [they] want to go, but there’s so much pressure on what [their] major is or where [they] want to go that [they] are just trying to find something [they] can fit [themselves] in. I think finding out who you really are personally [is important]. Yes, getting grades is an important factor, but knowing where you want to head in life—I think that’s the most important thing,” said Anekha Singh (12).  

When asked to describe what a successful time in college would look like, senior Allyson Infante said, “Growth in mindset. Growth in independence. New experiences.”

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