What would keep you from going to the college of your dreams?


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

UC Berkeley is one of many dream schools for college students.

By Edgar Hernandez, Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

It’s that time of year for high school seniors to be consumed with anxiety and stress as colleges will begin to send out both their acceptance and rejection letters. According to the College Parent Center, these times are one of the most stressful for high school seniors. Not only do they experience the anxiety of waiting to hear back from where they applied, but other factors such as the fear of rejection, financial situation, fear of leaving their family, and fear of what’s to come plays an important part as well.

Fear plays a main role this time around for high school seniors because when they are scared of finances or the unknown, they grow discouraged from taking opportunities or going forward with their intuition. More and more students are applying to many colleges because they fear rejection from their dream school. According to The Washington Post, over the last two years, the percentage of college freshmen who have applied to seven or more colleges has increased by 35 percent. Although some students may view applying to more colleges as unnecessary, since they know their limits and what they want for themselves in the future, some students want to reach for the stars and see what they are capable of achieving.

High school seniors have a lot to consider before they go off to start their new journey. Fear of leaving home is prevalent to some, but not as important to others as they want to experience what it’s like to be independent and get that college experience. Senior Clarisa Garibay said, “What would keep me from going to my dream school would be the financial aid I received, and not necessarily my family.” The student’s financial situation is also one of the main factors that might hold them from going to their dream college because they are left wondering how they’re going to pay for it. According to CNBC, the average college student graduates with a debt of about $37,000, and overall, 70 percent of all college graduates leave with a significant amount of debt. Statistics like these scare and frighten high school seniors because they don’t want to be in debt their first year in college or do academically horrible because of distraction such as homesickness.

Many of the seniors at Middle College High School come from a low income background and are first generation students, so leaving the family they’ve grown up with to pursue a degree that will cost them a fortune is scary. Senior Josselyn Orozco said that one of her biggest fears going into college is, “Not being competitive enough and failing to meet the standards the school wants me to.” This is true for many seniors because although they have advantage over other incoming college freshmen because of their dual enrollment, there is still that mentality of “What if I fail?”. Two of the main things that would keep Orozco from going to her dream school are, “The financial aid I received and my family because I am very close to them.” Family values and support are very strong among Hispanic culture, which is why family plays a big role in deciding where people go to college, sometimes, even a bigger role than money.

This story was originally published on The Spellbinder on March 14, 2019.