The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Why seniors should apply to private colleges

Adriana Chirinos Gomez
MCHS senior logging on to the Common App.

Your senior year comes quickly, and now you have to choose which universities you’d see yourself attending for the next four years. It can be overwhelming to choose between over 1000 schools, in all three systems: UCs, Cal States, and privates.

Oftentimes seniors exclude private colleges from their list due to misconceptions surrounding these institutions, particularly when it comes to the final cost. These misconceptions deter students from considering those colleges as options. However, some of these students fail to realize that a private college can suit more of their needs than a UC or Cal State. I personally excluded private colleges from my list until a mentor encouraged me to apply to a few colleges because they were generous with their financial aid and scholarships.

When applying to any university, a student has to always consider their own needs and wants. Typically, this is called a factors list. This list consists of location, cost, acceptance rate, campus life, campus size, financial aid, and much more. Each list varies from each student as each student wants something different for themselves.

Counselor Janet Montes talked about her thoughts on current seniors and their private universities application journey.

“The number of students who applied to at least one private school was about 64,” Montes said.

A lot of Middle College seniors applied to universities close to home or Ivy Leagues, keeping location close in mind.

“The schools that come to mind are Chapman, USC, La Verne, and Concordia. If you group all Ivy Leagues together, that would also be a large chunk – they were just all different schools within the Ivy League group,” Montes said.

Students are often misinformed and are told that private colleges are “too” expensive. Tuition is usually higher at private colleges than UCs or Cal States, but something that is not mentioned is that oftentimes, they give out more scholarships and financial aid. According to a Forbes survey conducted by a former university president, “New Surveys Highlight the Leading Factors in How Students Choose a College,” cost and financial aid were ranked second as the most important factor when selecting a college.

Senior Saul Miguel shares his experience with applying to private universities Chapman University, and University of Southern California.

“I looked at acceptance rate and how much financial aid they offer to students,” Miguel said.

As students research all of their options, there has been an increase in seniors who applied to private universities.

When asked if more seniors this year have applied to private universities than other years, Montes mentioned how the numbers have increased, and why.

“From my experience with the class of 2022 to now with the class of 2024, the number of private schools applied to through the Common App has increased dramatically. Personally, I think this is due to the fact that the class of 2024 had a lot more college exploration in 10th and 11th grade since you all were in person,” Montes said.

It’s important for academic advisors, and students in general to research all types of institutions to familiarize themselves with all the options available. For example, college 1 can offer more financial aid, but college 2 can offer more academic programs for the students major. It all comes down to what the student wants for themselves and their education.

According to the Forbes survey conducted by a former university president, “Over two-thirds (69%) of students said the Common App was the most appealing way to apply to college, preferring it over various online or paper options.”

Senior Gabriel Cortes talks about his thought process when applying to Chapman University.

“The application was free and I had a decent application to submit so I went through with it,” Cortes said.

Applying through the Common App is fairly simple. It starts off with a general application such as personal information, grades, and community service. Once you add a school to your dashboard, you could organize it by due dates, which in my case, was extremely helpful. After you finish filling out your general information, a school will ask you for supplementals/writing, if they require it. Some specific schools like Concordia University Irvine do not require any supplementals. Therefore, to apply to Concordia, all you needed to do was fill out the general information, add Concordia to your dashboard and submit. This process allows a student to work at their own pace, but also makes the application process easier.

“The factors I considered when I applied to a university was the distance it was from my house as I plan to live at home just in case the FAFSA cannot help with the dorming,” Cortes said.

Aside from UCs and Cal States, there are numerous private universities near Orange County, more specifically, in Los Angeles, which can allow a student to commute if dorming is their last option. On top of this, if a student does not want to stay in California and is seeking for change, there are private universities all over the country with a good amount of them being in the East Coast.

As someone who wants to stay close to home, I applied to four private colleges near Orange County with fairly high to average acceptance rates, and I’ve received an average of $28,000 in scholarships for each year.

Don’t limit yourself to a few schools. Explore all of your options to ensure you are committing to the right school. Don’t regret not applying to a college because you think it’s “too hard to get into,” or because you’re unfamiliar with the school. The best advice is to push for what you want, and of course, apply to scholarships.

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About the Contributor
Adriana Chirinos Gomez, Staff Writer
I love listening to 21 Savage and Junior H. I have a dog, and I like baking.