Step One of Pursuing the American Dream: College

By Jocelyn You

Falling into fall of senior year, students are stressing about beginning their college applications. There’s deadlines to meet. There’s financial aid waiting to be applied for, transcripts needing to be sent in, letters of recommendations to be written, and a personal statement worthy of woo’ing the admission office of one’s dream school. The mental strain that applying to college puts on students may be too much to handle, but it’s definitely worth it if it means opening a gateway to a successful life.

Nowadays, going to college is more of a necessity than ever. To get a job, one needs more than just a high school degree- something that was considered acceptable a decade or two ago. While college obviously is not for everyone, it’s undeniable that most careers require a college diploma. So if one has a dream life in mind or even if a comfortable, stable life is enough, receiving higher education is crucial.  The younger generations are expected to excel and go above and beyond to prove to the world that they are able to sustain a worthy society. The first step in going towards most goals is applying for colleges.

There are various college types and levels for everyone. If high school was not your peak or forte academically, junior/community college is the first option to look at. Here, one is able to recover from high school and find ways to make education work for them. Financially, it is easier on the bank than going directly to a four-year university would be. Locally, there are junior colleges such as Orange Coast College (OCC), Santa Ana College (SAC), Fullerton College, etc. Whether the situation is based on grades or money, junior/community college is ideal for trying out the college lifestyle and then transferring to a Cal state or university.

California (Cal) States are the next level up. They are relatively cheaper than big name universities, but are definitely pricier than junior colleges. However, this is the first time a “real” college experience can be given. Cal States have all the sororities, dorms, classwork (and parties…) that one would expect from a university. Choosing a Cal State as opposed to a junior college or a university just depends on grades, financial choices, and personal preference. Some local Cal States include Cal State University Fullerton (CSUF) and Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB). Attending a Cal State rather than a university does not have much of a difference other than the name of the school on the diploma and the size/demographics.

Universities are the top dogs. Whether they’re public or private, they fully entail the generalized epitome of the college experience. Universities are typically four years of beholden college football games, clubs, endless late night hours, life-changing professors, and textbooks that cost as much as the tuition itself. They range from public schools such as University of Santa Barbara (UCSB) to private schools such as Stanford University. In-state tuition is usually less than out-of-state tuition, so students most likely choose to stay in California. However, tuition shouldn’t be a complete factor in deciding whether or not to stay in one place. That’s where scholarships and financial aid come into play.

Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is commonly used by college students. FAFSA provides grants, loans, and work-study funds who are in school to further their educations and careers. Students are able to receive the money by applying online. A factor of things determine how much money is distributed such as: academics, sports, extra-curriculars, financial status, etc. Whether the given money is free or loaned, it is beneficial to students when trying to get through college. College is always an open opportunity financially if a student is willing to apply for financial aid despite the initial financial background.

Whether it be community college or a four-year, a college education is important to pursuing a career in today’s day and age. More than just strictly academics, college teaches life lessons- things that are instilled into a student’s mind from the moment they hear it to the time they’re in their final years of life. High schools push going to college so heavily because it’s apparent of how much of an impact attending college has on people. Life after high school goes how one chooses it will go, so why not choose a higher education? Seniors, it’s time to apply.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. kavya B says:

    Loved the article. Waiting for your next article.
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    1. ithsmedia says:

      Hello! We’re glad you like this article. The author of this article graduated last year and is currently in college studying Journalism. If you’re interested in seeing articles like this one or future articles by this writer, check out the LOCALE Magazine online or check out her Twitter (@jxyov). Thank you for checking out our site!

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