Opinion: Can you CCC seniors’ college struggles?

Feature Photo By: Connor Rodenbeck – Ms. Gessesse and junior Makenzie Bell discuss colleges that she may want to apply to in the future. Gessesse is always willing to talk to students about all things college.

By: Connor Rodenbeck, Review Staff

For seniors, their last year of high school begins with excitement. They are finally at the top of the food chain and it’s no doubt an amazing feeling. However, the moment that high school students have been preparing for looms ahead: applying to college.

Unfortunately, the process of applying to college is riddled with inequalities. You’d think that getting into your dream school should be based on how hard you’ve worked, but that’s not always the case.

Colleges have preferences for legacy students, meaning that those who have family that are alumni of a university have an advantage in the admissions process for that school. This leaves first generation students at a disadvantage regardless of the excellence they exhibit in their application.

Perhaps more relevant to Rangeview students though, is the income inequality in college admissions. Whether you believe that it’s ethical or not, colleges prefer students who can guarantee payment for tuition, room and board, and other living expenses without much financial aid. Those who need financial aid, which may be a lot of students at Rangeview, have to compete harder to go to the schools they want to.

According to Jennifer Glynn on JKCF.org, “about one in three (34 percent) of high-achieving, low-income students reported that the stated costs of tuition, fees, and room and board had discouraged them from even applying to college.”

Gessesse displays fomer Rangeview student Yonas Bayu’s college acceptance flag. All Rangeview students that are accepted into college receive a flag that shows the schools they were admitted to and is put up in the CCC. (Connor Rodenbeck) 

 

Luckily, programs that are dedicated to college readiness and aid in applying have been created in some high schools. One such program has been up and running at Rangeview for two years now. The Access Program, created and ran by Counselor Kyle Hirsch, a popular counselor and teacher amongst students at Rangeview, and College and Career Center coordinator Betty Gessesse, have been active in giving students help with their college applications.

The program has had a role in helping students get into prestigious schools like Stanford, Harvard, Dartmouth, Colorado College, and many more.

Hirsch says that his goal with Access is “to level the playing the field in college admissions by creating opportunities for students to take control of their academic futures no matter their socioeconomic status.”

Rangeview may not have all of the resources that more affluent schools have, but the advantage that we do have is the counselors, teachers, and peers that truly care about student success. Rangeview students have big goals for their life after high school, whether it be college or careers. The genuine support to achieve these goals is what sets our students apart from other schools.

Gessesse, more widely known as Ms. G., is passionate about helping students out in this trying process. She is the coordinator of the College and Career Center(CCC) here at Rangeview, which is a place that students can go and receive help with their applications or just get some homework done. Help with fee waivers, SAT/ACT preparation, and moral support can also be found in the CCC. 

Gessesse says that Rangeview is now “able to host things like Application Day, where multiple (18 this year) institutions will be present and waive application fees for all students regardless of economic background”, because of the growth in college and career resources.

Senior Olivia Muzylowksi works on an English paper on one of the computers found in the College and Career Center. The CCC is a place where students can work on homework, get help with college applications, or simply hang out in a stress-free zone. (Connor Rodenbeck)

 

I am a current senior at Rangeview and I can honestly say that I’ve never been more stressed. Between my classes and work for college admissions, I am overwhelmed.

I’m not the only one.

Trinity Stevenson, senior class Vice President and triathlete, is someone who has achieved great things in her time at Rangeview. Despite having a lot of credentials to put on her resume, she is still stressed.

On a scale of 1-10, she said that she is at an 8 because she has a hard time “finding the time to do essays and scholarships and where to apply.”

She will apply to prestigious schools like George Washington University and Georgetown University. Other students have big dreams, too, such as attending Ivy Leagues and competitive liberal arts schools. You can imagine the stress that comes with goals as big as these.

The Access Program has found a way to alleviate some of this stress. Hirsch and Gessesse have done personalized college searches, accumulated a list of scholarships, given feedback on personal essays, set up mock interviews with RHS staff, and provided countless more tips.

Along with the support that the counseling department provides, here are a few tips according to WebMD on how to reduce stress:

  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Manage your time
  • Do yoga and breathe deeply
  • Exercise
  • Get enough sleep
  • Seek out social support

The inequalities may never cease to exist in the application process.  The Access Program is working to eliminate these inequalities and give Rangeview students a fighting chance at getting into more selective colleges. They have the perseverance and work ethics to achieve their dreams despite the inequities.

Gessesse jokingly said that “RHS students are just the best students.” Perhaps she’s biased, but I think that there is a lot of truth in that statement.

For more information on the College and Career Center, check out their page on the Rangeview website: http://rangeview.aurorak12.org/?page_id=25708

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