Seniors prepare to commit to colleges

Counselors offer advice about navigating decision process

While seniors are receiving college decision letters and selecting the school they will attend in the fall, college counselors are helping them navigate stress while they plan for their futures and consider their available options.

“The power actually goes back to the students because you only get to go to one school,” Cesar Guerrero, Director of Academic Guidance and College Counseling, said. “All these colleges want to roll out the red carpet because they want you to invest your time and tuition dollars into their community.”

Seniors say they plan to consider a variety of factors ranging from extracurricular involvement to financial aid packages when making their final decision. 

“I applied to colleges that already met my education standards,” senior Jaylen Chu said, “so the tie-breaker for choosing which college to attend will be a combination of school spirit, financial support and internship opportunities.”

Guerrero says he advises seniors to also heavily weigh residential and community life before committing to a school.

“You’re choosing a place to move to,” Guerrero said. “Taking a look at the house and the residence life is one of the biggest things. Ask yourself, ‘Do I see myself living and working here?’”

For many families, being able to pay for college is just as important as choosing one that fits a particular profile.

“I’m going to have to work a few jobs or take up an internship during the summer to help support me throughout college,” senior Trieu Tran said. “It’s up to me to see where I want to go and then be able to support myself throughout the process.”

Although it may be tempting for seniors to slack off during their last months of high school, Guerrero says that continuing to demonstrate excellence through the end of the year could help students get into waitlisted colleges.

Some students worry that lower second semester grades may cause selective colleges to rescind acceptance letters.

“I was worried how my second semester grades would affect college admissions,” Chu said. “I know that colleges request second semester transcripts after they accept you. 

A school’s decision to rescind acceptance depends more on student behavior than their grades, according to Guerrero.

“It’s not just about grades declining,” Guerrero said. “Rescinding is actually more common when students aren’t good citizens, and more common than not, if a college is going to rescind an acceptance letter, it’s going to be because students don’t behave great on social media.”

Although many students feel stressed out about college denials, Guerrero says getting into colleges doesn’t determine a person’s worth.

“No matter what happens, getting into these schools will not mean that you’re a better person,” Guerrero said. “Your value as a person is not going to be from this process.”

As the decision period begins, seniors say they are feeling optimistic about their college acceptances.

“I know I’ll get in somewhere that I will be satisfied with,” Tran said. “I’ll be happy wherever I end up.”

Guerrero says he hopes applicants can find confidence in themselves and hope in their futures.

“I don’t think they know that even at a time of uncertainty, courage is all they’ve shown us,” Guerrero said about navigating the application process during the COVID-19 pandemic. “They should have faith and courage to go to that next stage, go to college, and it’s just going to get better for the Class of 2021.”