The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

Senior strategies

How highschoolers choose their college
Provided by Catherine Bertram
A photo of the campus of the University of Maryland taken from one of Catherine Bertram’s many visits to the school. While visiting, she was drawn to the school because, to her, it “felt more like a campus with a community.”

Every year over 5 million American high school students apply to college. These millions of students must consider a multitude of factors before choosing their dream college. It truly comes down to what people prioritize.

Senior Sammy Vu said that tuition affected her decision to go to the Maryland College Institute of Art.

“I tried to apply to schools that offered up to 90% and more when it came to financial aid,” Vu said. “ The school that I’m most likely going to is an art school, [which is] more expensive than a liberal arts school. So I’m really trying to find ways to afford it through scholarships, internships and stuff like that.”

Brian Smith, a senior who plans on going to Houston Community College, placed a similar importance on cost.

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“The tuition cost most impacted my decision,” Smith said. “My major is theater, so I figured ‘why spend a lot of money for something like that?’”

Choosing a college is a delicate balance of one’s priorities. Senior Catherine Bertram recommends that “if you focus on your friends, your partners, you may not get into a program that’s good for you.” (Graphic by McKenzie Le)

For some, like senior Catherine Bertram who plans on attending University of Houston in the fall then transferring to the University of Maryland, pricing acted as the final deciding factor, rather than being the main concern throughout the entire process.

“When it came down to picking, it came down to more like, what can I actually afford?” Bertram said. “Pricing is much more important now that we’re towards the end of the year.”

For as expensive as college can be, it’s important that that money is going towards an education the student will truly value, like chosen majors and programs.

“For me, I was mostly focusing on programs,” Bertram said. “I was looking for colleges that focus more on international business. So it was like colleges up towards D.C. because it’s closer to business and international affairs.”

With some universities not offering certain majors, people can find themselves somewhat limited in their options. Such was the case for Vu.

“What I wanted to do was illustration, and I knew a lot of liberal arts schools and traditional universities don’t offer it,” Vu said. “I think the closest thing they offer is like graphic design, which I was okay with doing. But at the end of the day, I really wanted to do illustration. And MICA was the only school that I applied to that offered illustration.”

Beyond more logistical factors, having familial ties with a particular institution is a factor for students choosing their college.

“[Going to HCC was] what my sisters did,” Smith said.”So I kind of have some knowledge of how it works and stuff so that’s a big reason [I’m going]. Friends weren’t really a factor though.”

Bertram has a similar connection to her school of choice, as her dad went there and she “wanted to follow after him.” However, she believes that one should “focus more on what you want rather than what your friends [or family] are wanting.”

“My dad was probably one of the things that made me want to go there [to Maryland] because I felt like it would connect me with him a little bit more,” Bertram said. “[But] I think you should definitely not try to console your partners or your friends. Try to focus on how you’d put yourself into what you want in life.”

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