16 May 2023
May 1st: a seemingly ordinary day for most, yet a very important day for some.
On this day, college bound students across the country conclude the college decision process and ultimately choose the university or college that they will attend for the next four years. Seniors here at Atholton will be attending schools near and far to continue their education through various academic areas, although this decision does not come easily to most seniors.
“The most difficult part was ultimately deciding where to go because there are pros and cons [to] both schools that I was really interested in and [I had] to think about where I see myself most,” said Emily Schmeckpeper, who will attend James Madison University in the Fall.
Applying to college can be stressful for students who already have a busy and difficult senior year. “In the Fall, I applied early action to a lot of schools, [while] juggling field hockey and [being in] AP classes,” said Atholton senior Kaylee Ritter, “time management was very hard.” Ritter, who will be attending the University of Maryland, found that applying to college, as well as her other commitments were all important, so prioritizing was key.
Each high schooler finds different aspects of a college important to them. Some prefer the programs, others the location and size, or even the extracurricular activities offered. For Schmeckpeper, she wanted the opportunity to participate in club swimming while in college. She shared that swimming has “been one of my hobbies since I was little and to stop in college would be really upsetting.” She was pleased to find out that JMU did have a club swimming team, and is excited to participate in this fall.
Senior Ryan Werner, who will be attending the United States Naval Academy this fall found that the academy had many enticing benefits. “Everything is paid for [and] after you graduate you are guaranteed a job. Werner added, “it is one of the most successful places to graduate from.” In addition to these benefits, Werner has a family connection. He shared, “my brother goes there as well so I would get his guidance and his advice.” He continued by saying, “I get to serve my country afterward which is something that most of my family has done before me”
Senior Talia Fields ultimately narrowed down her list of what was once ten schools to only two: University of Delaware and Elon University. However, she noted that the two universities were so vastly different. Fields said that “at the end of [the decision process], the differences were so big. University of Delaware was so much bigger and so much closer to home.”
Fields found that she particularly liked Elon University because of the size. She said that, “the size of Elon was exactly what I wanted, it wasn’t too big and it wasn’t too small.” Due to this manageable size, as well as other amenities, she said “Elon just stood out because it checked every box.” In addition to checking every box, Fields shared positive interactions she has had with other incoming freshmen. Fields said, “the people that I have met so far that are going..I’ve just clicked with them and I know that I picked this school because of the people.”
Here at Atholton, seniors are planning to major in a variety of different majors. Ritter shared that she “plans on majoring in marketing.” She developed her interest toward this over quarantine and Ritter said she “got more interested in marketing and digital media [and] wanted to do something in that field.” Fields shared that she has a passion for “talking, communicating, and interacting with people” leading her to choose a communications major. Once she decided on communications as an overall major, she chose a subsection of it, strategic communications.
Schmeckpeper chose her major slightly differently. As of now, she is hoping to be a pre-physician assistant, so she decided to major in biology. Schmeckpeper chose this “…because [biology] is one of the best majors for a future [as a] pre-physician assistant.” She knows what she is hoping her profession will be, so she worked backward from there.
Werner plans on majoring in astrophysics at the Naval Academy. He shared, “I love physics..I love the concept of physics itself..finding the answers within space.” After getting a taste of physics in high school, he is excited to learn more in depth at the academy.
Schmeckpeper shared, “I wasn’t excited to go to college until I started the process of enrolling myself in classes at James Madison..to be excited for it, feels like I really did make the right decision.”