Excitement and Relief For Seniors After National Decision Day
by Kathryn Merck
“Remember to make your deposit by May 1.”
Nearly every Northside senior has read these words in various emails from multiple universities since the early months of the school year. May 1 is the notorious day when all high school seniors decide where they will further their education. Back in Nov., these words meant almost nothing, as most seniors knew that their decision would take months to finalize. However, many Northsiders did not expect to be waiting until the final minutes to make their decision, as they had extremely difficult choices to make.
From the moment students begin the college process, they already have a preconceived idea as to where they think they will end up. For some students, this could be a large public school, and for others, this could mean a small private school that others may never have even heard of. Wherever the process began for our seniors, most can attest that they ended up at schools they never thought they would be attending.
Sarah Fitzmaurice, Adv. 805, told the HoofBeat that she wanted to attend a Chicago university most of high school, but realized that they did not have the programs she wanted at her university. Fitzmaurice had to reimagine her ideal university. She said, “I began applying to schools I did not even think were good for me or places I wanted to spend my next four years. Once I toured other schools and found out about what each school had to offer, I began to like the new schools more than I ever liked my original dream school.” Eventually, because of the scholarships she received and the programs available, Fitzmaurice committed to a university she originally thought of as a safety school.
Anjum Umrani, Adv. 803, also chose a school she never thought she would have. She said, “I always thought that I would end up in a big city because that is what I am most familiar with, living in Chicago. Through my college research, I learned about a school a week before their application deadline, fell in love with the school, applied last minute, and it became my top choice.” Umrani will be attending that school in the fall.
Some students confront the problem of choosing between two schools that appear to be good options. Jacob Yosowitz, Adv. 803, told the HoofBeat, “I was choosing between a school I grew up loving and always wanted to go to, and a school I never thought I would get into or consider.” These types of choices and decisions can make for a stressful week prior to May 1.
Ms. Katherine Mathews, Counseling department, provided her advice on choosing between two or more schools with great options. “I think some of the first things the counselors take into account is making sure the student knows everything about the school as possible.” Mathews emphasized the importance of visiting the school, looking for scholarships, and discovering opportunities the school has to offer.
Mathews also said that students should not get caught up in the reputation of a school when considering it. “Something I would love for more students to think about is the amazing amount of options students have. A student may not have ever heard of a school prior to the application process, but that school would basically pay the student to go there.” Mathews also referred to the counseling department's website for scholarship information.
With regards to those just beginning their college journey, Madeline Melzer, Adv. 810, offered a word of advice. She said, “The college process is not as hard if you use your time wisely and follow the numerous resources the counseling department offers. However, just because we are all very intelligent individuals, it does not mean colleges have the money or space for us. It is important to have backup plans and have those conversations early, especially with parents. It may also feel like a good idea to apply to a lot of schools, but that also is not always true. It is most important to apply to a variety of schools to make sure the options you have at the end of the year are the best for you.”