“Watch out world, I’m grown now.” The theme song for ABC’s hit show, Grown-ish, describes the feeling of turning the page on high school and diving into the next chapter of college. May 1 is National College Decision Day for millions of American high schoolers across the nation. This day is extremely exciting for many as it is the buildup of four years of preparing for college.
“On top of taking rigorous course loads that they’ve been looking forward to since freshman year, and being president of a club, [seniors] now have the responsibility of driving, taking the time to get pizza with friends, and [they’re] trying to decide where [they’re] going to apply and visit,” stated school counselor, Lyndsie Sumner.
According to the Class of 2018 profile, 73 percent of the Class of ‘18 graduates is currently attending college, while 53 percent of the current senior class applied to four-year colleges. On the NFA campus, several seniors have already committed to their top schools.
Ally Lewis is committed to Pennsylvania State University in Centre County, Pennsylvania, where she is set to become a Division 1 track and field athlete at Penn State. On top of competing at the Olympics, she has even bigger goals for her life after college.
“With my Penn State degree, my goal is to help fix the criminal justice system and make it equal for everyone involved. There are many problems surrounding the ethics, biases, and fairness of it, like racial issues, certain crime offenses, and I would like to help in reconstructing the system,” stated Lewis.
Phoebe Drupa and Liliana Lorenzo have both committed to the University of Connecticut in Storrs however, they have very different aspirations.
“I’m excited to be attending UConn because they have an amazing program for my major, which is sociology, with a minor in psychology, in hopes of becoming a guidance counselor. Also, a lot of my friends are going there, so I won’t be completely alone, and I’m excited to dorm and get that college experience,” stated Lorenzo.
“I’m really excited to start my major in biological sciences and to decide what direction I want to take it in. NFA’s AP and college credit courses have allowed me to explore career opportunities while still in high school so I feel confident in my choice to attend Uconn and [I feel] that biology is what I’m passionate about. A dream I’ve had for a long time is furthering my biology degree with a veterinary track and helping people and the animals that they love, I would love nothing more,” stated Drupa.
Julia Florence is headed to Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut next fall.
“I mostly wanted to attend Eastern because it is a local school but it still has all the opportunities. When I went on my tour at the university, they had a television studio, a radio station, classrooms with editors, so I think they’re up-to-date in their technology, and they work in a variety of ways that deal with communications. I’m most excited to live on campus and take advantage of the resources,” stated Florence.
Mason Larkin has committed to one of the top universities in the country, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is majoring in environmental studies and enjoys taking language courses.
“UPenn has a lot more diversity and experiences than other Ivy Leagues and it’s in the middle of a big city, so I appreciated that. Penn has a lot of language courses and it’s right in the city, so there’s a lot of opportunities to try out romance languages,” commented Larkin.
This diverse class of 2019 is on track for bright futures. However, not everyone is heading to a traditional four-year college.
“Applying to college is a really big deal these days, mostly because of the pressure that’s put on high school students. Adults, whether they’re educators, or parents, [have an] assumption that you are going to go on to a college education and complete a college degree. There can be a stigma around doing it a different way than a traditional four-year college. High schoolers feel an ultimate pressure to move on to the next level because it’s what is expected of them,” explained school counselor Anne Zinn.
Military recruiters for the United States Marines, Coast Guard, and Army have visited NFA. Rebecca Ramthun was offered a full paid ROTC scholarship to WPI from the United States Air Force and hopes to enter the military after college.
“I had applied to Worcester Polytechnic Institute because I knew I was interested in an engineering school, and it was an environment I was looking for. I’m very interested in doing lab work and hands on experiments, especially foreign research programs” stated Ramthun.
Senior Brooke Rondeau, who has committed to American University with a major in political science, also aspires to enter a career of public service.
“If there’s something the teachers at NFA instilled in me, and I’m sure this will continue into college, too, is that I just want to help people. No matter how great the impact, I want to try to improve people’s lives for the better. I hope my education allows me to gain experience and the knowledge I need to help anyone who needs it,” stated Rondeau.
Zinn has high hopes for this years’ graduates.
“Whether you move out to California or stay in Norwich, [college] will shape the people you are going to meet, the experiences you will have. We’re in such a tumultuous time with what’s going on in news, in politics, in government, in climate change, in every aspect of our world, I look to this population of high school students who have the opportunity to higher education and use it for good and move forward in a positive way and use their education to help those around [them],” stated Zinn.