Senior College Decisions

Three seniors tell a Tolleson Beacon reporter about their college decisions.

Eyananda Ahmed, Staff Writer

As the school year progresses, seniors start hearing back from colleges and universities to which they have applied. And with the uncertainty of hearing back schools, comes excitement and anxiety. Which is granted, because the past three and a half years will be judged by college admissions to determine their near futures. Seniors have spent their senior year getting their futures together, with scholarships and FAFSA, jobs and other opportunities. Some of them decided to tell their story, their journey, and their future plans to the Tolleson Beacon.

Ben Olea, a University High senior, agreed to be interviewed about his college decisions. He applied to the three in-state schools, ASU, NAU, and University of Arizona and got accepted into all three. He decided to go to ASU since the school has his major, better programs for his major than both in-state colleges, and has a great environment.

“The only reason I was able to apply to any of these schools, or complete my FAFSA, because of University High. UH really helped me with my college decisions because I work, run Cross Country, and have to keep my grades up. This school has given me the motivation and time in school to complete my college decisions,” Olea said.

Jacqelyn(Jackie) Carareo, another University High and a STEP(Student Expedition Program) student, applied to out of state colleges rather than in state. Her top three colleges were Washington University at St. Louis, Pomona and University of Chicago. Carareo was rejected from both Washington University and Pomona, but accepted into University of Chicago and given $74,000 in financial aid. After getting rejected from her top two schools, she felt heartbroken. Although, she soon realized she fell in love with her top two schools for other reasons, rather than the institution itself.

“Being rejected from Wash U and Pomona was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I would have never considered going to U Chicago if it weren’t for those rejections,” says Carareo.

She also mentions how STEP, a college-prep program, and University High gave her the confidence to apply out of state and seek opportunities outside of Arizona. Without it, she would not have the interest of looking beyond Arizona schools.

“Because of University High’s academic rigor, supportive staff and peers, they helped me finalize my decision about leaving.” Carareo will be attending University of Chicago in the fall of 2019.

Emily Ann Santos, another University High senior and STEP student, applied to multiple out of state colleges such as Bates, Smith, Wellesley, Pomona, Washington University at St. Louis, and Barrett Honors College. Santos has always known she would attend Barrett, and only applied out of state for the sake of STEP requirements.

Santos wants to major in medical studies, she realized that most graduate medical students come back down here to the southwest. Santos chose Barrett for many more reasons, like she was given $32,000 from Barrett, Barrett has an excellent medical programs and  Phoenix is one of biggest cities for medical studies.

“Because of STEP, I was ten steps ahead of my peers because I knew more about college at an earlier time than them. I knew early on that I wanted to attend Barrett, and overall was my best decision because of my major, I love the downtown campus, and I feel the most comfortable here,” says Santos.

Senior year is full with decisions. It determines the next 2-4 years of their lives. For these seniors, they did not have easy decisions to make. It is evident of the struggle they went through to find the right school, to find enough money to attend, and to find the courage for them to leave their families. University High helped these seniors prepare for the future, and the school continues to help future seniors apply to in state schools.