Cause and Effect: College Planning Ripple Effect

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May 8, 2019 by thewashingteenian

By Isabella Hendershot

A student who plans to pursue higher education needs to prepare for a significant number of challenges. When a college education is the path needed for furthering one’s career opportunities, it creates many issues for the student and the people who are helping them. The biggest reality one must face is that college costs money, and lots of it. But wanting to go to college sets off a ripple effect reaching far beyond the financial considerations. Applying, getting accepted, visiting the school, paying tuition, moving if the student lives far away, getting a new job, making new friends, being away from family, feeling homesick, learning how to navigate a new city, figuring out how to get around campus, all while staying sane and well-rested through it all requires a student to exercise levels of discipline far greater than all the demands of high school.


One of the important effects of planning for college is going into debt. It starts with application fees, although some students might get lucky and have the fee waived because of the high school they currently go to, as some high schools offer free applications to give students a little push. In addition, some schools have a fee for reserving their place in the chosen program of study after being accepted. Then students may have the option of living on or off campus (freshmen are usually required to live on campus). Living on campus requires the purchase of a meal plan and a housing deposit. Living off-campus means students are totally responsible for themselves in regards to transportation, utilities, rent, and food. Applying for help with tuition is a long, hard, and stressful process. To have tuition paid students can apply for federal money, grants, scholarships, and student loans. The loans are what will hurt the student most. The student will be paying them off for years after graduating from college.


Another matter that comes to the forefront when a student goes away to college is homesickness. If a student is not a commuter, they will not be able to see friends and family as often as they had in the past. True, students can call, text, and video chat their loved ones, but the unfamiliarity of everything and everyone around them is what makes students miss what they have at home. Students miss the routine that has developed over the years; seeing the same people, knowing their way around. Then, once the school year is over, a student may begin to miss the people, places, and routines of college.


Students may also find it difficult to navigate around the campus and the new city they are currently residing in. Students may find it difficult to navigate their way around because they know nothing of their surroundings, it’s a completely new place to learn. Though once the student becomes familiar with their surroundings it almost becomes a game on how to get around. In this newfound game students may also ask themselves questions such as: what’s the fastest way to my classes? How many “traffic jams” can I avoid when classes let out? How many different paths can I find? How far away is my dorm? Once students learn their way around it can open many opportunities. The student can have a better understanding of where to get a job, where to eat out, and what places to go to for a night out.


Planning for college will be stressful, but students will have many opportunities once they graduate . Students may find the process intimidating, but it will be worth it in the end. Tuition will be paid, new friends will be made, more knowledge will be gained, and new opportunities will arise throughout it all.

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