Last Stop: College


Alia Yeancades

William Jaffe, Bronx Science Class of 2018 and University of Chicago Class of 2022, enlightens us on what factors came into consideration when making his final college decisions.

For most students, April showers tend to bring May flowers, but for seniors, it marks the tail end of the arduous affair that is the college process. For nearly six months, students all over the country struggle to find peace in the uncertainty of the unknown, as they anxiously await their responses from colleges to which they have applied. Such feelings do not simply come and go quietly, despite how many students wish it were so. As for those who believed that once they submitted their last application that the twelve years of continuous hard work had finally come to an end, six months later, they realized that there is more work to do.

“Yes, it’s pretty disappointing,” said Paul Cho ’18. “There isn’t a more fitting scenario for the phrase ‘so close, yet so far.’ For a few months, you think you’re in the clear to finally relax, but once all of the decision letters and financial aid packages start piling up on your doorstep, a whole new set of headaches begin to pop up,” he explained.

More often than not, students from all over, including Bronx Science, experience this same dilemma time and time again. From the beginning of our academic careers we are taught that the end goal is college. When we were young, it was simply getting into college. Quite frankly, any college at the time would do, as long as we got in. Then as we got older and began to understand more about how the world works, the bigger, clearer, and bolder the fine print became. Soon enough, “a college” had turned into a college with a name,  and from a name, it grew to have a price tag following suit not too far behind.

You may just end up surprising yourself with where you’ll end up going.

The fact that we also come from a prestigious high school such as Bronx Science means that we are held to a higher standard than most when it comes to others expecting schools like ours to funnel out future alumni into renowned colleges and universities like clockwork. However, for many seniors here at  Bronx Science, while we grew up listening to wisdom of our elders, we have also grown to realize what is important to us and how we wish to define each of our lives.

When it comes to college, some of us end up choosing happiness through thick and thin. As for others, we do not wish to see our parents nor our future selves to be burdened by the decisions we make now when we are young and naive. For a few of, it simply comes down to the basic human instinct to not want to be alone, to want to be as close as possible to the ones we love and care about, whether that be family, friends, or both. For all these reasons and more, there seems to be only one thing that seniors around Bronx Science can agree on: the decision is not as simple as black and white.

William Jaffe ’18 and a member of the 2022 graduating class at the University of Chicago shared a bit of his college application experience. “As a student who struggled between deciding between University of Chicago and Haverford, even though being happy is the most important thing to me, I have to see how things will unravel for me in the long run. Money is always something that’s lurking in the back of everyone’s mind, and if you really think about it, ten years down the line, I won’t be happy if I’m going to be swimming in a pile of debt,” Jaffe said.

Fortunately for students like Ting Hin Li of Fordham University ’22 and Manu Varma of the University of Cambridge ’22, happiness and their financial aid packages were top deciding factors. But there were other factors that drew them to their final decisions. “Binghamton and Fordham are both excellent schools that gave me decent financial aid packages, but Fordham was more generous,” Li explained. “The final decision really came down to location. Fordham was just that much closer to home, and nothing gets better than saving sixty thousand dollars a year with a good campus, nice people, and not to mention a subway ride away from home,” he continued.

“That isn’t a bad way to look at things,” agreed Varma, “it’s a little bit different in my case, because I’m planning on going overseas, but when it came down to looking over Cambridge, it was a place where I knew I was going to be happy, on top of the fact that I’m super excited for all the one-on-one interaction with all the professors,” Varma added.

Like snowflakes, no two college enrollment experiences are the same. Everyone comes from a different background and has a different story to tell, but the common denominator and the overall takeaway from all of these experiences is this: yes, happiness is important, and yes, money may make the world go round, but before you make a final decision, take a step back to really look at all your options before you make a final decision.

You may just end up surprising yourself with where you will end up going.