Updates from Upperclassmen: It’s a busy time for seniors considering colleges

Published 8:00 pm Friday, October 14, 2022

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Updates from Upperclassmen by Whitney Mullenbach and Madison VanderSyde

As seniors at Albert Lea High School, this year has been filled with a lot of excitement and difficult decisions. There are many priorities for being a senior, especially if our plans include going to college after graduation. It’s hard to focus in class when all of these big commitments are sitting in the back of our minds; these may include deciding on a college, hoping our credits will be accepted, thinking about playing sports and choosing the right career. Nearing the second quarter, we seniors are still figuring out what we want the next few years to look like as we get closer to graduation.

Whitney Mullenbach

This time of the year is when seniors begin to start applying to colleges. Some may apply to many colleges, and some have one specific college in mind. Deciding where to go is difficult: We have to consider tuition, environment, academics, major/minors the school has to offer and possibly sports. Adding to the stress are concerns of needing financial aid, not meeting requirements of the school, and being waitlisted or even rejected. As students furthering our education, the most important thing is finding the college that suits us best. Many of us have gone on college visits, and many are just starting their journey with visiting colleges. Going on college visits has a big impact on where we want to go. Deciding what colleges to visit can be hard, but the good thing is that visits are free and there are no commitments. 

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Student athletes in high school might have the opportunity to continue playing their sport in college. Coaches and recruiters might be reaching out, wanting to know the student-athlete’s decision. Committing to a college can be difficult because deciding to put in time and effort as a college athlete can feel overwhelming. We also have to decide if the college is the right fit for us. Some students are made for playing sports in college, while others want to focus more on school than their sport. As the fall approaches, coaches are eager for athletes to commit and make that big decision. But how do we know what we want? Not many student athletes have the option to continue their career in college, and it’s a big accomplishment if coaches are interested.

Madison VanderSyde

To aid with this big process, the month of October is designated as College Knowledge Month. We have many opportunities during this month to help us decide on colleges as well as career options. One big thing for seniors is colleges waive their fees in October. This helps many of us feel there is no commitment when applying for college and helps us to explore our opportunities. We also had our FAFSA meeting this month, where students can apply for financial aid to help us go to college without an awful financial burden. Then we will had a college and career exploration fair on Friday. This event was open for students in 10-12 grade. There were expected to be over 75 colleges, 30 southern Minnesota employers and a virtual reality trades lab for students to explore. This is a great opportunity for students to learn about careers and industry fields as well as to explore colleges that might interest us. The goal with all these great opportunities is to give students preparation, support and opportunity we need to apply for colleges. 

As our senior year begins to go into full swing, we have high emotions and are both worried and excited for what the future holds. We have a lot to achieve in a small amount of time, and it’s hard to know what we want for the next chapters of our lives. The school offers great opportunities to help us prepare for the future making this process of graduating less stressful. Applying to colleges, committing to college and graduating is what most students are in the process of during this time of the year. As we move through senior year with many nerves, we are thrilled to see what our future holds. 

Whitney Mullenbach and Madison VanderSyde are seniors at Albert Lea High School.