By: Bruce Liska
When I was in the sixth grade, we went on a field trip to George Mason University, where we got rubber bracelets which said “College Bound”. This pressure on students towards college at such an early age can have a negative effect on students, such as stress.
“Well, my parents both went to college. They actually both came to America as immigrants for their college education, and it was just normal for us to go to college because we’ve been taught from a young age that if you go to college, you have a better job, and have a higher salary,” said Park View senior Ariel Liu.
College applications put a lot of extra stress on seniors, on top of their schoolwork and extracurricular activities they have.
“I’m applying for a lot of colleges and scholarships. There’s deadlines everywhere. I don’t get a break. It’s just deadlines after deadlines, and I try to meet all of them while also focusing on my studies, sports, extra-curriculars, and stuff like that. And I’m just really, really busy all the time,” said Liu.
Despite the perceptions of Park View being a poor school, especially after earning Title I status last year, most Park View students end up going to college.
“It is probably in the neighborhood of 80s (80%) that go to either a two-year college or a four-year college when you add up the totals,” said Mrs. Nagurny.
Deciding where you want to go to college is very difficult, as you have to consider your major, the social environment, relation to where you want to live, and more. Most students stay in-state for college, as it is cheaper and closer to home.
“Our number one college is NOVA, which is where a lot of our students end up. A lot of people have that intention of going to NOVA for two years and transferring. VCU has a lot of students. Another school is James Madison, and the other one that is in our backyard is George Mason,” said Mrs. Nagurny.
All of the colleges mentioned above are very competitive schools, likely requiring a 3.5+ GPA to get accepted. Not only do you need a good GPA, but a good SAT/ACT score and a good application.
“We have questions that are frequently asked that’s about the common application. They (colleges) ask very specific information regarding Park View High School. Like, what is our GPA scale is a common question. Do we weight GPA, and other questions like that,” said Mrs. Nagurny.
When applying to colleges, it is important to apply to a bunch of different colleges, instead of just one or two for a greater chance of getting accepted. It is also important to stay on top of the application process, as well as your schoolwork.
“Start early and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The teachers are here to support you and they will even help you with your essays, as that’s probably the toughest part of the whole college application process. And you have a lot of resources right here at Park View,” said Mrs. Nagurny.
Some students don’t go to college though, electing to take jobs right out of high school. Students often take jobs out of high school to help support their families.
“Retail or food industry is the most common job right out of high school,” said Mrs. Hatcher.
There are other options out there if someone has very specific interests. There are many academies in the Northern Virginia area, such as Monroe, Thomas Jefferson, and the Academy of Science. Those schools have a very specific focus, such as science and math.
“A lot of students out of high school can’t get the higher paying jobs, unless they’ve done something in high school that gave them some sort of certification. So if a student went to Monroe, or one of those programs that have certification, they can probably get a job making more money”
According to Mrs. Hatcher, a good thing to have on your resume is experience. Experience gives a new potential employer examples of how you work and the quality of work from your prior work experiences.
In almost every place someone can submit a job application, the employer will likely ask for previous jobs or work you have done. Experience is one of the most important parts of a job application, as it can show what you can do and what you have done.
“So, right out of college, it may be best to get an internship, just to get that experience under your belt, which can be hard to do right out of high school or right out of college,” said Mrs. Hatcher.