Getting in the grind

Getting in the grind

That time of year is coming around; on top of balancing extracurriculars, studying, and social lives, Etowah seniors are now knee-deep in what may turn out to be the most important decision of their lives. College applications are the talk of the town as well as all the work that comes with it.

“I would say that, with applications being handed out all the time, it does make it a little stressful (…) [while also] trying to finish homework,” Thatcher Heinen, senior, said.

Many seniors have decided to apply early to colleges through various approaches. An early decision plan is when a student makes a binding statement that they will attend the school they applied to if they get in. An early action plan, however, is non-binding; the graduate is merely applying early to have more time to consider an acceptance letter. Both have their benefits, but there is no consequence if one applies in the spring rather than fall. Still, some schools have said that applying early gives students a better chance of getting in.

“I am applying early action because I want the decisions over with as fast as possible to reduce the stress of waiting,” Ava Banko, senior, said.

Finances and tuition are another hot topic recently. While most public colleges generally have an in-state “discount,” private universities, whether in or out of state, usually do not. Fortunately, there are many other opportunities for financial aid available. The most well-known scholarships in GA are the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) and Zell Miller grants, which are given to students based upon their grade point average (GPA). Zell Miller requires a minimum of a 3.5 GPA, while HOPE is less strict, requiring only a 3.0 average. However, while HOPE covers some of the cost, and Zell Miller covers all, neither apply if the student chooses a school that is not in GA.

“I am just applying to in-state colleges because out-of-state colleges are kind of expensive, and I am trying to save money and not get any loans. I am applying for [the] HOPE scholarship, and I also filled out my FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid],” Krisha Trambadia, senior, said.

Despite the many financial benefits to staying in GA, some students choose to study further away from home, living in campus dorms in a different state. This may be because they want to establish their own independence by leaving what they are comfortable with behind. Others who wish to be self-sufficient while still being close to home may choose to live on campus at a university that is only a few hours away.

“It is nice to get out [of] the state and go somewhere else,” Marvin Oxlaj, sophomore, said.

With the stress of college coming around and the future ahead, students with questions can email or schedule an appointment with their Etowah guidance counselor for help.