Seniors steer on course to college

May 27, 2010 — by Karen Yang

On May 1, senior Cindy Chang sealed her fate for her next four years as she signed her Statement of Intent to Register for Stanford University. After wavering between Yale and Stanford for several weeks, Chang finally chose Stanford for its location, weather and atmosphere.

“When I was deciding, one day it was Yale, one day it was Stanford,” Chang said. “For a few days after [I decided], I had to let it sink in, and I was thinking maybe I would regret my decision, but I told myself not to, so now I’m fine with it.”

After considering the location, safety and weather of each school, Chang, who will be studying
English, Psychology/Neuroscience or human biology in the fall, decided that Stanford’s relaxed yet motivating atmosphere appealed more strongly to her. While Stanford’s proximity to home was the biggest factor in her decision, she also took into account the advice from her family and friends.

“For me, Yale was always my dream school,” said Chang. “But my sister went there, and she told me out of her own experience, it took her a while to adjust, so she said she wished maybe time spent adjusting to the east coast could have been spent diving into her classes.”

Chang is just one of the many seniors who struggled with making their decisions. Other factors that affected decisions include tuition and name recognition.

Of a surveyed 300 college-bound SHS seniors, 30 percent are venturing to private schools and 35 percent are attending UCs in the fall. The remainding 35 percent are attending CSUs, out of state public schools or community colleges.

Because of the California budget crisis and the decreased acceptance rates of the UCs, fewer seniors are attending UCs and CSUs than in previous years. As a result, there has been a slight increase in the enrollment of seniors in private and out of state public schools.

Assistant principal Brian Safine noted a lower acceptance rate of students into UC Santa Barbara, Davis and Irvine. Whereas students with 3.7-3.9 GPAs in past years were successful in getting into these three schools, these admissions now depend more strongly on chance.

As for next year, Safine encourages students to broaden their focus and research colleges that may not be as well known as the Ivy Leagues or the UCs.

“The most selective colleges in the U.S. right now are taking seven percent, which is a historic low,” Safine said. “Students who have their hearts set on the most selective colleges are setting themselves up for disappointment. You have to apply broadly, and you have to look for colleges that may not be brand name colleges, but might fit your needs.”

Said Safine, “[Acceptance rates] will continue to be around 16-20 percent at Berkeley, LA, and 6-8 percent at your Stanford and your Ivies. Those numbers aren’t going to change, so we have to think about colleges beyond those names.”

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