By: Jacob Munoz ‘17
Asking somebody which part of their senior year in high school was the most important will garner a variety of answers: attending the homecoming football game, celebrating at prom, playing during their team’s senior night, and more. Perhaps the most common answer, however, was reaching a decision on college. Almost two-hundred Brother Rice students are in the graduating class of 2017, with the majority of them having their sights set on the next level of school. While the college application process for most students has finished its course, the tantalizing wait for decisions is in full swing.
Graduating high school students have traditionally attended colleges in-state on a greater frequency, and the seniors at Rice are no exception. Moraine Valley Community College has seen over 400 Crusaders enter its hallways since the college was founded in 1967. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University have both enrolled over 100 Brother Rice students.
However, a large number of Crusaders have attended colleges beyond state borders. Midwestern states, including Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, are especially popular. Popular universities include Marquette (55 students have attended), Iowa (47 students), and Purdue (36 students). Rice has also produced alumni who have attended schools on the East and West Coast. For example, ten graduates in the school’s history have enrolled in Iona College, as have three at the University of South California.
A handful of seniors have already decided on their future destinations, thanks to early responses from colleges. Student Brian Papiernik will join Notre Dame next year. He adds to a family legacy at the Catholic university that includes his father Greg ‘76 and brother, Tim ‘15. Justin Aubin, whose brother Marcus graduated in 2015, landed a spot at Yale. A multi-sport athlete, eagle scout, and Illinois state scholar, Aubin become Rice’s second student to attend.
Stress can get the best of seniors waiting for a college decision during the final semester. Ms. Amy Axelrood of the Counseling Center spoke about the need for optimism in the face of difficult college decisions. “Wherever a student ends up, they’ll be able to find their niche and find their strengths and what’s best for them.” She mentioned that counselors recommend students to apply for schools of varying degrees of difficulty for them, so that they still have choices even with possible denials.
Additionally, Ms. Axelrood advised students heading into college to utilize resources, to maintain balance between work and fun, and to find places for themselves on campus. “Sometimes especially with bigger colleges,” she noted, “it’s hard to feel part of a community …, so finding that smaller community within a big university can really help you get grounded [and] get that confidence and support to do the best you can.”