On Friday, May 4, seniors went around school clad in the colorful apparel of the colleges they will be attending in the fall.
With the stress of college applications and admissions over, many of of this year’s graduating seniors were able to take pride in their
accomplishments and all the hard work they invested in their four years at school by wearing the colors and mascots of their future four-year colleges.
While it seems that the majority of seniors in the school are committing to attend four-year colleges in the fall, there are a number of students, such as senior Heidi Hernandez, who made the decision to attend two-year community colleges instead of the four-year universities she was accepted to.
Heidi, who was accepted into multiple four-year colleges, such as San Jose State University, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC Los Angeles and University of Southern California, originally intended to attend a four-year college. However, due to family and financial issues, Heidi began to face problems in her college decisions.
“The first problem that started to arise was the financial issue,” Heidi said. “My parents aren’t very big savers and I didn’t have much money for college. I hadn’t earned much from working. I worked a ton of catering jobs throughout high school along with working at a daycare center and babysitting. My personal college funds were very little.”
For many students, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) isn’t enough to cover the financial burden of a four-year college. For many others, FAFSA isn’t an option at all.
However, family issues were the turning point in Heidi’s college decisions. When Heidi began to experience family troubles, her previous college plans took a final turn from going to a four-year college to a two-year community college.
“I was devastated, shocked, then angry at my parents and disappointed because I felt like all of my hard work was going to waste,” Heidi said. “About a week after not speaking to my parents and sulking, I realized that my situation wasn’t going to change. I needed to change my attitude and set new goals for myself.”
Now, Heidi has decided to attend Foothill Community College.
“I wanted to stay close to home for a while to support my mom and siblings, and I didn’t want my determination and attitude to get the best of me,” Heidi said. “I want to be able to help my family while I am in college getting my education. I’m not that upset anymore. My new goal is to transfer from Foothill after two years to Stanford University as a pre-med student. I even applied to the Honors Program [at Foothill] which will help me in my transfer to Stanford.”
However, despite the sacrifices that Heidi has made to help her family, some people did not understand the reasons behind her choices.
“One of the greatest difficulties was telling everyone that although I had gotten accepted into such great schools, I was turning them down,” Heidi said. “I guess some people had a hard time understanding the simple fact that change happens fast and without a warning. My situation changed from one day to the next. Sometimes, we don’t have power or control over change, and that’s something everyone should understand.”
With a Senior Class that has students who have been accepted into a variety of four-year colleges, the school and the rest of Silicon Valley tend to have very high standards concerning education.
“Our high school is very competitive,” Heidi said. “It’s kind of required for a student here to get into a ‘good school.’ If you don’t, you’re looked down upon. After I mentioned that my goal was to transfer to Stanford, though, they seemed more pleased.”
However, Heidi isn’t letting her peers’ concept of college decisions affect her plans.
“Giving up those schools was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Heidi said. “But it really doesn’t matter where you start out as long as you reach your goal at the end.”