Seniors make their college decisions based on the elements that will benefit them the most

Seniors make their college decisions based on the elements that will benefit them the most

Senior Abigail Cool’s college decision process was overall seamless, unlike most seniors. 

Abigail only applied to one college: Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. This college also happens to be where the vast majority of her family graduated from or is currently attending. 

“I had always said I would apply to like 20 different colleges,” Abigail said. “Then, I found one that I liked, and I didn’t really want to [apply to more than that one].”  

She applied for early action, and it was binding; if she was accepted into Hillsdale, she had already made the commitment to go there, so sending in an application to other colleges was unnecessary. 

Following in much of her family’s footsteps was not Abigail’s first decision, but she was willing to look past that detail in order to find what’s best for her personal educational experience in college.

The online schedule that was put in place this past fall due to COVID-19 opened up a unique opportunity for Abigail that other high school students may not be lucky enough to experience. 

“I actually took time and spent a week [doing] my online work at Hillsdale with my sisters,” Abigail said. “I’ve grown up at Hillsdale, but I never really experienced [the school through] a student’s perspective. I did my online work in the Union or the Quad by myself, and I got to see what the student life was like. I [also] attended some lectures with my sister, Grace [Cool].”

Being able to get a feel for the college by physically being there was a great added bonus for Abigail because it put her in view of the admissions staff as well. She got to have an in-person interview with an admissions officer, which is highly recommended. 

Career-wise, Abigail desires to go into Marine Biology, a program that Hillsdale does not specifically offer, though they teach plenty of biology lectures. Abigail believes that the other preparation elements a college has to offer outweighs the importance of having a specific major you’re looking for. 

“Hillsdale really prepares each student for life after college,” Abigail said. “I know that if I go to Hillsdale, I will be prepared for any situation or any job. I will be a better human, and [it] is very character-building.”

Like Abigail, senior Valerie Greenwood’s family is full of alumni too, this time at the University of Michigan. Her entire family has attended Michigan for as long as she can remember. 

“I’ve been to the campus many, many times,” Valerie said. “I kind of felt comfortable with [the] aspect of living there in Ann Arbor eventually.” 

Though unfortunately, the college decision process was not so simple for Valerie. She applied to around five different colleges, but she’s never really had a ‘dream college’ that she’s desired to attend, unlike her older brother who knew “he wanted to go to Michigan from day one.”

Looking at all different options for the future can be very daunting, but Valerie has accepted that she can build her future as she goes through her school career. 

“In the end, [Michigan] felt like a good jumping-off point because you don’t have to stay at the college you go to first,” Valerie said.” I chose Michigan because it was a good starting point for sure.”

Valerie has some friends from FHC who will be attending Michigan as well, which will hopefully make her experience a bit smoother.

You should look for what will not only make you happy right now, but what will set you up for life after college. 

— Abigail Cool

“I’m pretty lucky [that] I have a lot of friends that are going there,” Valerie said. “We’ll be able to keep in touch and mix friend groups too.” 

The comfort of knowing a friend who is going to be attending the same college is something that senior Grace Pennington can also relate to. 

One of her best friends, [senior] Hannah Bergman, will also be trekking across the country to attend the University of Nebraska with her. 

“[Having a friend] made the decision easier,” Grace said. “I kind of felt comfort in the fact that she was going there, bringing a piece of home to college.”

Other than close friends and Nebraska’s amazing journalism program, the homey feel of the campus is what drew Grace out west. 

“I think I felt confident in [my college] choice,” Grace said, “because, even though it is super far away from home when I visited the campus, it gave [me] a really Grand Rapids-type feel, and I really enjoyed that.” 

Even though Grace’s decision was not an easy one, she knew that the school would be able to offer her not only her educational desires but the social aspects as well. 

“During high school,” Grace said, “I [was] on the dance team, and I was never allowed to go and hang out with my friends before [or] after football games because I was always dancing at them. I’m really excited to have that football game experience with my friends.”

Everyone’s college experience is different depending on what each individual student is looking for, and what is best for one person might be different from the classmates around them. Abigail, Valerie, and Grace all had unique motives and experiences during their decision processes, but in the end, they all went for the ideals that suited them best. 

“You should look for what will not only make you happy right now,” Abigail said, “but what will set you up for life after college.