For the Keizertimes

When I talk with my classmates about post-graduation, it seems that most high school seniors won’t go very far to further their education. This is no different than most students that have made their way through McNary High School; in fact, it appears that many students in the country stay close to home for their higher education.

I decided to do a little more formal research than just conversations, so I asked all the students in McNary’s College Writing class where they are going to be next school year. College Writing is one of the three most rigorous courses offered at McNary; students enrolled in the class are seniors who want to further their education beyond high school. The class consists some of McNary’s top students; therefore, it’s one of the best samples to take when trying to find out where college-bound teens are going.

A total of 44 students are in College Writing. Of the 44, 30 are remaining in Oregon. The in-state  schools that will be attended by McNary Celtics are (listed from most to least amount of possible students) Chemeketa Community College, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, Portland State University, Willamette University, George Fox University and Eastern Oregon University.

The other 14 students will be out-of-state; six of the 14 will be in neighboring states: Washington and California. Only eight of the 44 College Writing students will be going “far.”

Some of the states that might have McNary graduates are Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, and Georgia. Two people still have not been able to narrow down which state they will be attending school.

Why are we afraid to go far? Are we afraid to go far? Is there another reason for staying close to home? Some of the students were able to get more scholarships for in-state schools, and money seemed to be an issue for many of the college-bound individuals. Perry Groves will most likely attend Portland State University because of a football scholarship, and he also said, “If you ain’t talkin’ money, I don’t wanna talk!”

Another student responded, “It’s too expensive to pay out-of-state tuition.”

“Chemeketa, because it’s free!” is what another replied with.

Money is not the only thing on seniors’ minds; family is, too. A comment made that was related to family was “Staying close so I can have the security of my family,” and Emily Wade shared that she will “stay close to family so I can have their support.”

There’s one other reason that many are staying in Oregon and that reason is the love for the Northwest. “I love Oregon. Yay Oregon!” “I love the Northwest.” “The Northwest is the best place to be in the world!” “The Pacific Northwest is perfect for me.”

There are Oregon lovers, and there are Oregon haters. I feel like the College Writing class would become a fight club if I gave out the names of the individuals that love and hate Oregon.

The weather seems to be a factor for some that wish to leave the state. “I want to go far away because of the weather.”

An experience away from home can really benefit an individual. Being independent allows a person to discover who he or she truly is. Two students said being out-of-state will allow them to “see new things” and have “a new start.” Another stated, “Iowa because that is as far away as my mother will allow me to go.”

On a more individual basis, some students told me their plans in a little more depth than others. Dani Saunders is “going to be playing softball… and Willamette has an excellent law school.”

Traci Brown is taking advantage of “a dual degree partnership with OSU and Linn-Benton for law.”

Zach Wehrli will definitely be outside of Oregon. “Why wouldn’t I take the opportunity to live somewhere new and experience things?”

Nothing is certain though. One student summarized that pretty well. “My plans for college are not completely set in stone. It all depends on what happens in the near future.”