Should college-bound seniors leave the Sunshine State?

Allie Babin, AP Lit Set 2

For Academy seniors this fall, the main topic on their minds is college, and beyond that, the benefits of staying in state compared to the experience of attending a university outside of Florida. There are many considerations before deciding which college is the right fit for each senior, and in the mix is always the pros and cons of in-state versus out-of-state colleges.

Attending the University of Notre Dame in Indiana has been a dream for senior Katie Elliott since she was a little girl. “At Notre Dame, the students come from all over the country. It creates a diverse environment filled with new people who share my interests,” she explained.

However, Elliott said out-of-state colleges are more expensive. Also, going that far North makes it difficult to find people she knows, which forces her out of her comfort zone. Elliott argues that not knowing many people does not limit her to hanging out with a certain group of people that she knew before going away to college. She can meet new people without feeling guilty for leaving behind people she’s known forever.

“I’ve been in Florida my whole life. I’m ready for a change,” she decided.

Similarly, Sarah Henni is ready for a change. Although enrolling in a university outside of Florida is more expensive, she believes the changes she will face will be well worth the cost.

“By going to college out of state, I’m not following the crowd. I have a bigger opportunity to make new choices surrounded by less familiar faces,” she explained.

On the other hand, Senior Kaitlyn Garrett has her heart set on Florida State University. Garrett explained that she, like most Florida residents, qualifies for Florida Bright Futures as well as has Florida Pre-paid, so “it would be a waste to go out of state for college, especially because nonresident tuition is so expensive.”

Academy seniors recently took one step towards cutting down the costs for college by applying for Florida Bright Futures scholarships on Thursday, December 1. Gathered in the Media Center before and after school, the seniors signed up for the program, which provides $101 per credit hour to Florida Academic Scholars and $76 per credit hour to Florida Medallion Scholars. Florida high school students must meet certain academic requirements to be eligible for the program: Academic Scholars must achieve a score of 1270 or higher on the SAT or 28 or higher on the ACT, while Medallion Scholars must score 980 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT. In addition, Academic Scholars must earn at least 100 service hours, and Medallion Scholars must earn 75 hours.

Besides considering the financial aspect of college, some seniors choose to look past the prestige and glitz of other universities outside Florida and discover that, in fact, Florida universities offer the programs the girls desire.

“FSU has both my intended major and the sorority I plan to pledge,” Kaitlyn adds. “Plus, it’s far enough away from home that I’ll have to live on campus, but it’s close enough that I can come home on the weekends. FSU is everything that I’ve been looking for in a college.”

Senior Clare Davis agreed, saying that “there are plenty of good schools in Florida.” The poor economy forces students to consider staying in state and saving money rather than paying extra to go out of state for college.