To pay or not to pay?
For most high school seniors, right now is crunch time. In the midst of finishing up college applications and prepping for not-so-distant finals, there is that little thing called figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life.
Most kids have no clue as to what their future entails, but one thing they are certain of is heading straight to a four-year university. For some, it is because of the experience; for others, it's the prestige that goes with attending a big-name school.
Despite these reasons, it all boils down to one thing: the cost. Is it worth the money? Many would say yes, going to a four-year institution right out of high school is definitely worth the cost. But some Sutter Union High School seniors beg to differ.
Billy Thompson, a senior at SUHS, is one of those kids. "I have a 4.57 GPA; I am captain of the tennis team; and yes, I'm going to a community college," Billy said.
"Why? Because I'm not paying an arm and a leg to take the same classes at a university just because of the 'prestige' that comes attached to it. There's nothing prestigious in wasting all that money on something you can get for less. I want to transfer after two years, when I know for sure what I want to do as a career," he added.
The rising cost of tuition is a burden that is inevitable to all college-bound students, not to mention living expenses and books. More and more kids have to take on the pain of student loans, a hardship that is causing high-achieving students to stray away from four-year universities and instead attend community college.
Despite the cost, the benefits of attending a four-year university are apparent in the eyes of many.
Moving out and starting a new chapter of your life are critical reasons why many kids prefer to attend universities as a freshman. College is also the time to branch out of your comfort zone and find out who you truly are.
"I want to experience a new place and meet new people," said senior Nick Fortna. "I feel like if I go to a four-year college, I will have a better perspective on what I want to do with my life."
A few, however, know exactly what career path they are going down and, for that reason, find it necessary to attend a four-year college to take specialized courses to complete their goals. Many schools offer accelerated programs and customized class schedules to better prepare their students for their chosen career path.
Between school, sports, college applications, after-school jobs, clubs and other activities, seniors — myself included — are itching for graduation and the opportunities that await us afterward.
Whether we choose four-year universities, community college, the military or even enter the work force, I know that Sutter High grads will be successful. But for now, I think it's safe to say that we are just ready for Christmas vacation.
Bianca Almeida is a senior at Sutter Union High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.