The Beginning of the Rest of your Life


The flags of The USA and Argentina

by Florencia Llosas, Staff Writer

It doesn’t matter where you come from nor where you want to go – the process leading to college is hard for seniors all around the globe.

When it comes to choosing a college to attend for the last years of one’s education, and what many call ‘The beginning of the rest your life,’ some 12th graders tend to panic, overwhelmed by the amount of choices.

But some don’t, displaying calm throughout the decision process. At the core of this tough choice, what is it that determines whether a student will keep her cool?

In the United States, the students (usually 11th and 12th graders) are walked through the process of selecting potential colleges and applying to them.

Yet in the southern hemisphere of the globe, in Argentina, a couple of months before the end of High School, graduating students are given the choice of whether to attend (or not) a lecture on how its best to select which career to follow.

In the U.S, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors try to make the process easier. Technology has also had a hand in easing the process.

“Some colleges are part of the common application, which is awesome because then you only have to fill out one set of demographic information and honors and activities,” said a senior student at Glen Rock High School.  “But then, each college most likely has a few supplemental essay questions, sometimes as many as four. It is really intimidating to write those essays and to fill out the questions, because it feels like every word you write is either making or breaking your future.”

But the troubles do not end there for many students; already daunted by the tremendous amount of targeted essay writing, students must then jump through additional hoops to submit completed applications.

“…When you finish the writing part of your applications, you think you are done, but then you have to make sure all of your scores and your transcript get to each college before the dead line,” the student said. “I was literally in hiding for a whole month in order to finish the process. But now I’m done and ready for hibernation.”

In Argentina they have a very different method:

“[Translated from Spanish] It is very simple and doesn’t take a lot. You have to fill out a few forms with all your personal and academic information after you have finished High School completely, and there is  no application process because you don’t have to get ‘accepted.’ You just summit it and there, you are in,” explained a recently graduate student from Argentina.

The process isn’t the only difference:  students seem to be influenced differently here and in Argentina on where and why to go to their selected colleges.

“Almost all of the colleges I applied to are city campuses, and if they are not, they are very close to a major metropolitan area. Also, I applied to a mix of big colleges and small colleges, just to have options,” said Caroline Busch, a high school student who will graduate in June.  “I don’t like the idea of being isolated on a campus in the middle of nowhere during the most important four years of my life. I think that being in or near a city provides you with so many more opportunities.”

In Argentina however, location doesn’t seem to be linked to the amount of opportunities the place brings: “[Translated] There are  no Colleges with campuses so everyone commutes, I am going to be living at home, but that its only because I have no other place to live,” said Joaquin Farabollini, a recently graduated student in Argentina.

“The college I choose, I did because it offers the career I want to pursue in the future, and not all of them do, you have to have an idea of what you want before you decide which College to attend,” he said.