By HANNAH JONES
This year’s College and Career Center has been doing a lot of amazing events including the Financial Aid Night, Guiding the College bound athlete event, weekly college visits, and recently, College Information Night. On Tuesday, Benicia hosted six different talks from a variety of colleges, universities and college prep representatives. There were three different thirty-minute sessions in which you could choose from the six presentations. From the UC’s, LeKeysha Spears, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions, came out to explain how to fill out the UC application and to answer any questions regarding the UC system as a whole, and more specifically UC Berkeley. From the CSU’s, CSU Cal Maritime Representative Jessica Sotuyo came out to talk about financial aid, college fees and entry requirements. From the community colleges we had Mercy Pono representing Diablo Valley College and Jenny Gonzalez representing Solano Community College. They talked about their special programs, transfer agreements and other things that the community college system has to offer.
I personally got to attend the Private Colleges, Military Academies and Kaplan presentations. The Private Colleges was represented by Jannel Mariano from Dominican University. Her presentation was in hopes of debunking myths about private colleges and universities. Most people think that these schools are too expensive, too hard to get into, too small, only include liberal arts majors and that it will be harder to find a job after you graduate. Of course private institutions are expensive but there is also lots of financial aid available. According to her powerpoint, for every dollar that Cal Grant gives away, private schools give away two dollars. And because the schools are independent they have more money to give away, and you will get more money from FAFSA.
The cool thing about getting accepted into private is that they look at you holistically. Instead of your GPA and SAT/ACT scores being the things that get you in, these schools usually look at everything that you have done in high school and accept you based on that. It might even be easier to get into a private school because most of the majors aren’t impacted. Another myth that she disproved was that private schools are too small. And the truth is that they are smaller which is awesome. With less people in your classes the teachers actually have the opportunity to help you. Another thing about private colleges being too small, 56% of graduates in California were enrolled in private schools and 22% of California’s undergraduate population went to private school. Private schools aren’t just for liberal arts majors anymore. Lots of these schools have Math, Engineering, Health Professions, Computer and Information Sciences and lots of other STEM majors. Private colleges started to sound pretty amazing after the end of the presentation but a lot of people still couldn’t get over the fact that they might not be as competitive in their chosen fields after college. The truth is that most graduates have more opportunities for jobs after colleges than those going to public schools. Because the graduating classes are smaller and the professors have the opportunity to get to know the students more, each student gets more internships and research opportunities.
In the Military Academies presentation Ben Bergfelt from West Point and Nick Herald from Air Force Academy came to tell us about the Military Academies that are in the United States. These programs are run by the US military and lets you receive your education while moving up in the ranks of the military. It is a four year program that is free except that you owe the government five years of active duty. You also get a stipend for spending while you attend the academy. You can enroll right out of high school or you can transfer in up until you are 23 years old. The representatives suggested that you start looking into the program your junior year because the admissions process is lengthy. Once you are admitted you will enjoy small classes, helpful professors and the basic military life. This is a good opinion for those who want to go into the military and also want a good college education.
Kaplan was also represented by Sara Amir-Araghi. This presentation explained how important your SAT and ACT scores are for college. They can be a really big factor in how much financial aid that you get. This presentation was helpful to show the differences between the SAT and the ACT. The SAT is more math-heavy and students often get stressed about the no-calculator section of the test. Kaplan offers classes to help you with that section but if you aren’t very good at math anyways, the SAT might not be for you. ACT has a better mixture of Math, Science, English and other subjects so that math isn’t as big a part of the test. Amir-Araghi suggested that the science part of the ACT would be easier to fix through lessons than the math in the SAT. The decision is up to you and with some research, you can choose what’s best for you.
The college night was an overall success and was very informational for everyone who went. Hopefully this information will help you and inspire you to go next year