College Decisions loom large

In these uncertain current times, many students may be thinking about their future, where for many, the idea of college may pop into their head. Trying to navigate what college you want to attend or apply to is a daunting process most high schoolers will experience. So here to help, is my sister, Anna Verghese!

Anna Verghese graduated from The Woodlands High School in 2019, and is now a freshman at UCLA.

Around this time last year, Anna began receiving her college decisions from the nine schools she applied to. Choosing which school she wanted to call home for the next four years was not an easy task.

“I would say financial status is a main topic of consideration, which is also a conversation you and your parents need to have. The main thing for me was to try and figure out which campus ‘feels right’. You get certain feelings from the moment you step on campus. Obviously right now, visiting campuses is not an option, so I would say the most important thing is to speak to current or past students. Compare the academic to non academic life and see what is the best fit for you.”

With college decisions, sadly, also comes college rejections, something Anna also experienced.

“I got rejected from a few of my dream schools, which was heartbreaking. UCLA was definitely not my top choice, in fact I had barely considered it. I just thought I would apply, because why not? However, I believe those rejections happened for a reason. Now I am so happy where I ended up. You can’t get too caught up in the rejection itself; it doesn’t define you.”

As stated before, finances are a big thing to consider when choosing/applying to a college. Whether you choose community, in-state, or out-of-state college, money is another variable to consider.

“Wherever you go, there are a lot of financial avenues you can take, one being scholarships. A lot of scholarships may become more apparent once you’re on campus, or may become known to you through different programs you join. Since I’m in the honors program, there’s a lot of money put aside just for honors students that I can now apply for. If you’re thinking of attending a research university, a lot of the time they’ll give you research scholarships or research grants. A lot of kids also take advantage of a work study at school, which is where you work on campus and earn money. Of course, you can also take out loans. In the end, the financial side of college is a serious conversation you and your family need to have before solidifying any decision, but just know there are always different routes you can take in order to be able to afford your dream school.”

College life is very different from the life we have as high schoolers right now. With new freedoms and experiences being available at any moment, college life is definitely something dissimilar.

“You’re surrounded by a lot of like minded people, and always surrounded by your friends. There’s always something to do and it’s really nice to have the freedom it gives you.”

College not only is a new place to adjust to, but also a new way of learning. With professors and lectures being the source of information, it can be an adjustment.

“I have gotten used to my professors’ lecture style, and I love the interactive classes I also get to experience. For most of my classes, the professor is just one part of the staff you’re dealing with. Most of the time I have a TA [teacher’s assistant], so in reality as important as the professor is, your TA can be just as helpful. In political science class, my TA was a really amazing teacher, and he was the reason I was able to get an A in the class.”

Friends, parties, greek life, and student clubs are another thing that can be daunting about attending college, especially when attending an out of state college.

“I was nervous about fitting in as I am attending such a large school, but what really made making friends easy was my orientation and the clubs I am in. I attended an orientation with only out of state students, and from that I met some of my closest friends/friend group. A lot of those kids will have similar situations to you, especially in being so far from home. Another great way to get close with people is through clubs; I am currently in Model UN and One Girl, and I have grown so close to all the students in each one. Making friends may seem daunting, but in the end, everyone else is also looking for friendships; everyone’s all in the same boat!”

For the question everyone may be wondering: college or high school?

“College 100%. The whole atmosphere is different. Also in high school, there’s a lot more busy work and assignments. In college, it’s not necessary as many assignments, although the assignments you do have are harder and require more time with a stronger thought process. But in the end, those are the assignments that are truly going to make you learn.”

Being miles away from home, one may assume Anna would struggle with being homesick- however, that was not the case.

“Not one bit! Go Bruins!”