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  • Writer's pictureKaya Long

College Chronicles Pt. 4: Commitment & Senior Destinations

With just one week of their senior year left, the class of ‘24 is on the cusp of graduation. After months applying to colleges and many more months of waiting, a majority of seniors finally have their sights set on their post-graduation plans.

In the last installation back in January, seniors who applied early had heard back from those respective schools, but many were still waiting on decisions from their regular applications. Pass forward nearly 4 months later, May 1st, 2024–-the national commitment day for a majority of universities—has officially come and gone. So where are our seniors heading next year and what do they have to say now that this infamous college application process is officially in the rearview?

“It’s exciting to finally have some understanding of what the last year of uncertainty has led to and now getting to know where I’m going to go,” said Matthew Shemwell, a senior. Shemwell has committed to the University of Rochester, but still remains on the waiting list at Dartmouth University (he hears back in July). 

I, Kaya Long, have committed to Georgetown University as of last Tuesday. It’s definitely a relief to know where I will be heading next year and to see all my efforts throughout the past 4 years and last 9 months in particular come to fruition.

Notably, making the final decision is often more complex than one might expect. For Shemwell, he was interested in attending all the schools he applied to for different reasons. “There were a lot of factors that weighed into that decision but in the end it kinda came down to financial aspects which is why I chose the University of Rochester,” he said. 

For me the final two schools I was deciding between were essentially equivalent in cost so the three factors that swayed me in the end were surrounding area/location, curriculum, and on-campus environment. Talking with current students at both schools was incredibly helpful in picturing myself at either school, but what really helped me ultimately make my decision was visiting the schools again and paying attention to the intangibles (how I felt) at both places. So case in point, if you are completely split like I was, scour the internet for the cheapest flights and go if you are able to. It will be worth it I promise.  

While change comes with lots of excitement, aspects of highschool and Parker School in particular will certainly be missed by the graduating seniors. “I am going to miss sports and everything that comes with that,” said Shemwell. “It’s a lot more difficult to play sports in college unless you are playing at a super high level like DI or DII or something.”

Personally I am going to miss the sense of community at Parker and the privilege of being able to see my closest friends every day. I think that is an aspect of childhood in general that I definitely took for granted.

Nevertheless, there is a lot of change to look forward to as seniors transition to this next phase of their lives. “I am most looking forward to having a schedule that is very focused on things that I am really interested in and also having the freedom of spending my time kinda how I want to,” said Shemwell.

Having lived in Hawaii my whole life I feel like I have been largely sheltered from the rest of the world, so I am excited to go to college in a very metropolitan area where there is a global diaspora of people from all over. The culture, history, and art that I will have the opportunity to explore is invaluable. 

Throughout this arduous and lengthy process the seniors have certainly learned quite a bit. Shemwell said “Start early but also don’t stress too much about it because everything is going to work out in the end.” Another takeaway from this experience for him was “When you have a lot of things to do, just start somewhere and try to be present and just work on things one step at a time.”

I would echo that and emphasize the importance of giving yourself plenty of time to complete each step of the process. For me, giving myself two weeks or so of wiggle room for my applications avoided a lot of the stress that I was apprehensive about at the beginning of my senior year. And of course, as cliche as it might sound, have faith in yourself and your abilities. You got this.

The Parker senior destinations instagram page is officially up and running! A new senior is being posted every weekday so follow the page to keep up to date on where Parker School’s class of 2024 is headed in the incoming year.

*The student interview was conducted on May 5th, 2024

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