Choosing the next step

The staff polled 100 Diamond Bar High School seniors regarding what factors determine their choice of college.


The staff polled 100 Diamond Bar High School seniors regarding what factors determine their choice of college.

Cindy Liu , Contributing Writer

It’s that time of the year when seniors are anxiously checking and rechecking their mailboxes in hopes of receiving the acceptance letter to their dream colleges. For some, college decisions are already made. For others, it is a struggle to make the “right” decision out of the various colleges.

Diamond Bar High School seniors Miriam Sun, Jonathan Sun, and Crystal Chang have all been accepted to various colleges and have their own set of requirements, but they all place a heavy emphasis on college reputation, environment, and financial aid.

Senior Miriam Sun plans on attending Caltech out of the offers she received from UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSD, UCI, and UCR. One factor that made Caltech particularly stand out to her was the proximity to her home.

“I have a handicapped brother that I’ve helped my parents take care of my whole life so being able to stay close to home would be great convenience-wise. Its research is also incredibly strong and it’s a relatively smaller school, so it has a bit more of a close knit family type feel than a huge UC,” Miriam Sun said via Facebook.

Caltech’s reputation for being one of the best colleges for her major, biology and bioengineering, also contributed to her decision. When looking at colleges, Sun looked for a comfortable environment where she would feel at home, in addition to the financial aid and tuition costs.

Another DBHS senior, Jonathan Sun, is deciding among three colleges for each of their unique programs.

At UC Berkeley, he plans on studying Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, one of the top programs for his field of study in the nation.

He is also considering UCLA to study Computational and Systems Biology, or to UCSD for the Computer Science program with a specialization in Bioinformatics.

“I make decisions towards one college over another based on the different academic programs the colleges offer, their environment and atmosphere they provide, and occasionally the financial aid packages offered by each college,” Sun said via email. “To me, what matters most in selecting colleges is whether the college’s academic program will adequately prepare me for whatever career I pursue in the future.”

Although he has received offers from several other colleges, he is not considering them because of their lower rankings in his desired field of study and his inability to visit their campuses.

For DBHS senior Crystal Chang, college competitiveness, name visibility in a particular major, financial aid, and  alumni network are important factors to consider. She advised seniors to choose colleges based on its teaching environment.

“If you really don’t like huge class sizes, or feel that you’re more of one to get lost in the crowd, you shouldn’t go to a huge UC,” Chang said. “If you really love creating what you’re interested in, you might feel restricted by schools with a strong core. But honestly, it’s all up to what you want to get out of your experience.”