By Clara Moffitt
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Every day we have to make decisions, and some pretty challenging ones too: Should I eat breakfast or should I sleep in? Or should I wear this navy blue polo shirt or this navy blue polo shirt?
For seniors at Tempe Preparatory Academy, April is an especially significant month for big decisions. Not only do seniors now have to choose between their two navy polos and a red polo one day of the week, they now have to decide what to do with their futures. After spending all of high school and the majority of senior year preparing, now is the moment it all pays off.
Seniors must have committed to their college by May 1 and most of them have been spending a lot of time weighing their options to reach a conclusion for the best college “fit” that will affect the rest of their lives. There are 5,300 colleges and universities in America. And these Tempe Prep seniors received almost $11 million in scholarship offers. How do you choose which one is best for you?
This fall, Tempe Prep Senior Charlotte McIntosh will be attending the Honors Program at Eckerd College in Florida. Eckerd is a small liberal arts school with focus in math and science and one of 40 schools featured in Colleges That Change Lives. Charlotte knew that she wanted to continue in a liberal arts education, so she then had to “see which ones had the resources that I wanted.” Her values and opinions about education were a strong guiding force in choosing her school.
Senior David Smith, who just starred as Archibald Craven in Tempe Prep’s production of the spring musical, “The Secret Garden,” will be attending Baylor University, a Christian college in Texas, with a major in theatre. David was pretty sure he wanted to go to school in Texas, but it was his visit to the university and the people there that really pushed him to choose Baylor. He says, “The conversation skills with the various people I had talked to were at a super high level and they really seemed to care about their school and about me going there.” During David’s visit, he made a point to talk to as many people as he could. How did he know Baylor was a good fit for him? David says he “went and it felt right.”
Senior Madison Hanosh will attend the nursing program at Arizona State University. Starting in freshman year of high school, Madi knew she wanted to work in the medical field, and even attended an exciting summer program about studying health sciences at Brandeis University near Boston, but when she shadowed at a hospital she found out that nursing was the path she wanted to take. With that in mind, Madi did research to explore different nursing options and discovered a program that admits high school seniors directly to the nursing program at ASU without having to apply later on in college.
Tempe Prep Senior Peter Surin will attend Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, the smallest of the Ivy League colleges. For Peter, he says the decision was pretty easy: he felt that Dartmouth was the best fit for him in terms of its resources and opportunities for undergraduate students in his fields of study, and it is very generous with financial aid. He also likes its small size and New England location. However, just because his decision was easy doesn’t mean the journey there was a breeze. Throughout high school, Peter worked hard to keep his grades up, stay on top of homework, explore his passions (such as learning Chinese on his own and reading novels in Mandarin), and be active in his school and Tempe community, including Tempe Sister Cities. For rising seniors, Peter reminds everyone to “start applying for colleges and scholarships early.” There are many opportunities to help you out financially if you spend the time researching colleges.
Everyone would agree that the college application journey is a rough one, but definitely worth it. Peter recommends to all high school students to “work hard to get good grades and do well on standardized tests,” and Madi tells high schoolers to “make working hard a priority.” Charlotte’s advice is to visit a school before you select it. Mrs. Moffitt says, “Visiting a college before you commit is one of the most important things you can do when choosing a school.” It was that first-person experience that told David, Madi, and Charlotte how they felt about their futures.
All in all, while college decisions may seem difficult and somewhat daunting, having such great and varied college and scholarship options make Tempe Prep’s high school experience worth it, far beyond polo shirts.
Article by Clara Moffitt, student editor in chief and staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school
in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts
education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math,
science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been
recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of
college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by
Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.