Seniors ponder priorities when choosing colleges


Photo by Kristine Cho

Nikol Slatinska

Senior year is an exciting time for those experiencing it. Nearly four years of studying, test-taking and stressing out eventually lead up to an often even more stressful turning point: choosing a college.
Katie Barthel, the admissions counselor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., says when she visits to high schools to talk about college, students are usually most concerned about the cost of attendance, the availability of their desired majors and the campus environment.
“I think it’s important for students to consider the value of the college they are looking at,” Barthel said. “Cost of attendance is very important to look at, but it’s also good to find a school where you’ll get the help you need in the long run when applying for graduate school or jobs.”
She feels Truman State fits those ideals, as it is affordable yet still ranked very highly nationwide. It also has the highest graduation and retention rates of all public universities in Missouri.
Farther from home, the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. is an option for those who want a more hands-on approach in their desired field of study. About 80 percent of students participate in research outside of the classroom. In admissions counselor Maeve Willis’s experience, students typically look at the academic rigor and department match, the size of the institution, outside-of-the-classroom events and their family’s financial situation in relation to tuition cost.
“I would strongly suggest that high school seniors gather as many different perspectives about various universities as they can,” Willis said. “Chances are that a student would be a good match for several different universities, but if there is a specific reason that one stands out over another, it is worth investigating.”
One reason Lindenwood University, located in St Charles, Mo., stood out to senior J.P. Schneider was its baseball program. Other than that, the most important parts of choosing his college was its academic program and whether or not it offered a major he could see himself being happy in for the next four years.
“Other things I considered when choosing my college was definitely if they wanted me for baseball, how big the community was and if I could see myself being happy there,” Schneider said.
Willis said it is crucial for students to be themselves throughout the college application process. When a school asks someone to take a specific class in order to be admitted into a program that doesn’t necessarily fit them as a person, it may not be the best program/institution for them, though it may be a widely recognized one.
Fortunately for Schneider, he believes he has found a school that is happy to embrace his needs.
“I think what I’m looking forward to most about college is starting something new and meeting new people,” Schneider said. “What I will miss most about RBHS is a lot of the teachers I have had over the years and became close with, along with being able to play RBHS baseball with all my friends.”