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A Q & A with SBHS Seniors on “The College Decision”

A senior decides their future. Somehow, the next four years of their life are set in stone. The senioritis is weighing them down. Class is too long and sleep is too short. They are sick of the pep rallies, but sad to see them go. They’ll miss their friends, but can’t wait to get away from home. They are preemptively homesick, but try to live in the moment. And somehow, they still decide their future.

How do they make the right decision? Is it the location of the college? Is it the reputation? Is it their major? We usually hear about the end results and their decisions. But rarely do we hear about the reality of the process. What is it really like to be a senior in high school making this decision? 

I asked some senior students at SBHS a few questions to get to the bottom of this.

What school are you going to?

Jon Mora: California State University Long Beach

Jon Mora

Ella Maclear: University of California, Berkeley

Ben Purvis: I guess I’ll say NYU. I don’t know yet.

Cielo Vlcek-Scamahorn: Santa Barbara City College

How did you decide to go to the school you are going to?

Jon Mora: They accepted me and it’s not a bad school. I have family out there and it’s not too far away from home. I also know the area pretty well. Oh and the pyramid is really cool.

Ella Maclear: I have wanted to go there for a long time and it’s always been on my mind. I got into some other schools that I didn’t know anything about but I could see myself at Berkeley. I also knew I needed something that was going to help me grow. In my heart I just kind of knew.

Ella Maclear

Ben Purvis: Beyond education… Just the type of person that I want to become, alongside the environment that I want to grow in is what will factor into my decision.

Cielo Vlcek-Scamahorn: We live here and it’s a pretty campus. Also both of my parents are English teachers there and I know that it’s a good school through them.

Was your college application process stressful in any way?

Jon Mora: It was a little bit because you had to write a bunch of essays. Doing it on my own was pretty hard because my parents didn’t know what to do. It would have been clearer if they did know what was happening or I had other guidance.

Ella Maclear: Oh yeah. I didn’t know where I was going to go. On paper I am the ideal student. I have a good resume and a fine GPA. But, I had this big panic that I wouldn’t get into any of the UCs, I mean I’ve seen that a lot of people didn’t get into any UCs and I was so scared that would happen to me. You are also trying to prove that you are the best and there are so many deadlines to meet. There are so many resources to get your college applications done, but it is always going to be stressful.

Ben Purvis: Incredibly so. Finishing out your last year in high school along with the emotionally taxing college decision process is really difficult. It’s hard to be worried about senior year problems while also worrying about your future.

Cielo Vlcek-Scamahorn: I haven’t technically applied there yet and I haven’t applied to other schools so I can’t really answer that question. Compared to other seniors though I have had a lot less stressful of a year because I knew I was going there.

Was the decision process difficult?

Jon Mora: No, because they were the only school who accepted me.

Ella Maclear: Yeah. I don’t think I took the best approach to college. I didn’t research all of the schools I applied to. Whereas if I had taken the time to really research the schools I applied to I wouldn’t have needed to apply to so many random schools. I honestly haven’t done any research still and I am still not doing any research. I am just kind of winging it. It’s all going to be fine though, I hope!

Ben Purvis: I would say definitely. It’s one of the points in life where you get to actually choose your path and the idea that you might choose wrong is extremely stressful.

Ben Purvis

What advice would you give to high schoolers about preparing for this time in their life?

Jon Mora: Get your stuff done before it’s too late. Have fun and don’t take it too seriously.

Ella Maclear: Try to get a head start and really take your time to think about it. For senior year, it’s just going to go by so fast. Take the time to hang out with people you may not normally hang out with because you are going to all leave soon. Take advantage of those connections, don’t miss out on that opportunity just because you are scared of branching out. It’s not too late!

Ben Purvis: Simply, take a breath. Start early. And realize that no matter where you go it always works out in the end.

Cielo Vlcek-Scamahorn: Plan for a while, but don’t freak out and stay calm!

Cielo Vleck Scamahorn

If you are entering this time in your life, heed the advice that these vetted seniors are giving you. Take your time. Research the schools. Get ahead. The College and Career Center and your counselors are open to you to ask any questions you may have when starting this process. Just remember to breathe. Enjoy this exciting time.

[Image Credits: Anya McCue]


  • Anya McCue

    Anya McCue is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and editor in chief of The Forge. She hopes to bring the SBHS community closer together through the publication of spotlights on student and Santa Barbara life. In addition to writing for the Forge, Anya is involved in ASB Leadership and dances with her ballet studio. She also loves playing guitar and being with her friends and family.

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