89 percent of Carmel seniors say ‘Yes!’ to college

As the college application season kicks into high gear, the majority of seniors are working hard to fill out and submit their applications on time, while others plan alternate routes. But what exactly are Carmel High’s seniors hoping to do after high school?

In a survey of 174 CHS seniors, 89 percent reported that they plan on continuing their education after high school at a college or university.

As has been the trend in years past, California State Universities will be the most popular schools for seniors’ applications. Out of the roughly 155 students applying to schools, 58 percent are applying to CSU schools.

“CSUs are almost always a popular choice among seniors at our school,” CHS counselor Jeff Schatz says. “In fact, Cal Poly is probably one of the most applied to schools by students at CHS.”

CSU schools offer high quality education at an affordable price and allow students to remain close enough to home. Senior Leonardo Gonzalez-Smith is considering attending California Polytechnic State University under a major in Architectural Engineering.

“I find CSU schools a strong option because the campuses are all unique and diverse, in addition to the fact that they offer a reasonable tuition,” Gonzalez-Smith adds.

Besides CSU schools, the most common routes for seniors to favor are community colleges, University of California schools and private universities inside and outside of California. This year, 37 percent of seniors are applying to community colleges, and 44 percent to UCs. As far as private schools go, the percentage of students applying in-state and the percentage applying out-of-state is similar at around 40 percent.

Although many assume seniors favor private schools outside of the state in attempt to get away from home, the majority of students apply simply because they are geared towards attending a specific school or type of schools.

“I’m not really attracted to the research oriented, big school mentality that a lot of the UC schools have,” senior Tess Mikel says.

Therefore, even though schools within California may offer perks to students in regards to convenience, some students find more benefits in schools outside of the state. CHS counselor Darren Johnston has noticed a long term trend in students applying out of state.

“As Mr. Schatz and I began touring more colleges around the country, we gained more insight into what the schools were like,” Johnston explains. “This allowed us to provide students with a wider variety of knowledge on colleges outside of the area.”

Senior Henry Kou has recognized the benefits of schools in and outside of California and has decided to apply to both UC colleges and private institutions outside of the state.

“My reasoning for applying to prestigious institutions is so I can surround myself with people who are more intelligent than me,” Kou explains. “I want to challenge myself so that I can learn more and thrive.”

Like Kou, many seniors hope to gain spots in universities with a rigorous academic atmosphere. Their aspirations for doing so tend to come from within, as 86 percent of seniors applying to college report that their main motivation for continuing their education past high school comes from themselves.

Senior Savanna Harris’ motivations for attending college stem from within, although she has also taken into account the opinions of her parents in order to create a path best suited for her.

“I am deciding to take classes at a community college not only to be sure of what I want to study, but also because it is more affordable and makes the transfer process to other schools easier,” Harris says. “My parents were the first ones to suggest this plan for me, and after having talked to them I agree with their reasoning behind it.”

Students’ aspirations have also reached outside the standard realm of regular schooling. Such is the case for senior Connor Suess, who is working towards attending a military academy, such as the Naval Academy or Coast Guard Academy, and after having completed four years of intense academic and physical training, to be commissioned as a military officer.

“My motivation for doing this is not only because I want to give back to my country, but because I don’t really know what I want to study,” Suess says, “but by attending an academy, I will be able to study a variety of topics while also having a guaranteed job.”

Other seniors have also decided to take less obvious paths for after high school. One method being pursued by less than one percent of seniors this year is known as a gap year, which simply involves taking a year off between high school and college.

Senior Tyler Boylan plans to work for a year as an emergency medical technician before starting nursing school. Boylan has chosen to do so because, although it is a career that he is very interested in, he does not believe that it will provide aptitude financial benefits to serve as a full-time job.

Other students do not see a benefit for themselves in taking a gap year. Senior Zac Buzza plans to attend a four-year college right after high school to study animation and digital arts.

“Taking a gap year to get some extra income or figure out what I want to do isn’t in my best interests,” Buzza explains. “I know what I want to do, and that’s what I’m doing.”

While students like Buzza have their plans set, others are still working to decipher where their interests lie. Thus, deciding on plans for after high school can be stressful for some. When asked to rate their levels of stress on a scale of 1 to 10, the average senior said 6.

Nonetheless, there are certainly ways to make senior year less stressful, some of which may include taking advantage of the staff on campus or getting started on things ahead of time. No matter what students’ goals, they are highly encouraged by teachers, counselors and students alike to use the wide variety of resources available to them at CHS.

-Jessica DiLullo