CFHS seniors begin making college decisions

This fall, CFHS seniors have been constantly meeting with counselors, discussing college plans or otherwise, hoping to make the most out of their futures. For some students, their decisions are easy. They know exactly what college they would like to attend, in addition to what they would like to major in. Others are absolutely clueless, and for them, the stress is quickly building in their quests to plan for their futures.

For many students, cost is a huge factor in choosing which college to attend. With the rising prices of tuition, room, board and mandatory fees, this is not at all surprising. These continually rising prices make it more and more difficult to go to a school out of state. Because of this, students with less money have less of a chance to be able to go to their dream schools outside of Iowa, lest they have a huge amount of debt once they finish college. For instance, at the University of Northern Iowa, the total expenses are about $15,505 if you live in the state of Iowa. For those coming to UNI from another state, their total expenses are about $25,001, which is almost a $10,000 difference and does not even include the cost of textbooks, transportation, or personal expenses. It is practically the same in every other state. The University of Minnesota charges those who live in the state $25,124 for tuition, while those who are from other states have to pay $31,374. These are huge differences in prices, which typically leave many students to stay in state, rather than exploring options at universities across the United States.

Senior Jensen Kaufman

Senior Jensen Kaufman is one student who is looking into colleges both in state and out of state. Her current choices are the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and University of Minnesota. She said that she wishes to go to a bigger public school that has the major she wants, which is elementary education/ESL. It is a hard decision whether to go to school in state or out of state. “They are all very nice schools that have the major I want, and I feel like all of them will be a good fit for me,” Kaufman said.

For seniors who only wish to go to college in state, thought is more specifically put into the programs themselves at each college. Each Iowa college has specific specialty programs. For instance, the University of Iowa has world renowned research programs, in addition to first-ranked programs such as audiology, creative writing and nursing. Iowa State University has a strong mathematical and engineering background and is very well known for its programs in those fields. The University of Northern Iowa is praised for its education and music programs. All in all, in state college decisions very much come down to what kind of education students would like to receive in whatever their major.

Senior Kathryn Wright is considering attending Kirkwood Community College for its programs. She wishes to major in the culinary arts, and hopes to attend Kirkwood because it is known for its culinary program. Wright also said she hopes to attend a Le Cordon Bleu institution, as it would help her further her culinary education, helping her reach her goal of becoming a pastry chef. “The biggest factors in my college choice are their reputation for their education, the location and the classes,” Wright said.

Senior Kathryn Wright

The final factor for those participating in college searches is the environmental aspect of each college. Some students seek out environments completely different than the communities they grew up in, while others prefer similar environments. For instance, some students choose to go to the University of Iowa due to its location in a bigger city and its reputation as the number one party school in the United States. Oppositely, a student could attend the University of Northern Iowa, which is based in a small city and is more tame than the University of Iowa.

In addition, the big three Iowa schools (Iowa, ISU and UNI) have completely different safety factors. The University of Northern Iowa has a lower crime rate than Iowa State University, and Iowa State University has a lower crime rate than the University of Iowa. Similarly, all colleges in Iowa have differing crime rates, which affect students’ college decisions depending on how safe they believe they will feel on campus. The basic fact is that no college will be exactly the same environmentally, so student preference plays a big role.

Senior Holly Prohaska

Senior Holly Prohaska is currently undecided on where she wants to go to college and what she wants to major in. She said she believes that she will either attend the University of Iowa or Iowa State University and plans to work on her general education until she decides on a major. Then she said she might go out of state for the rest of her education. Prohaska said she wants to go to a college with “lots of people and diversity, very different from high school.”

No matter how they are making their decisions, CFHS seniors are working hard to decide what college to attend. Whether they receive help from counselors, their parents or anyone else, it is a difficult decision that requires a lot of thought and makes a big impact on their future lives. They are encouraged to look carefully into every college they consider, and they can only hope that, in the end, they make the correct decision.

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