By Thurs., May 1, numerous high school seniors who plan on attending universities and colleges made a decision on where they will spend the next four years of their lives receiving an undergraduate education. For Mario Garcia, Joseph Flores, and Manases Orozo, three Downey students, this decision means leaving their hometown and moving thousands of miles away to acquire knowledge at their top-tier institution.
Garcia decided to attend Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey after receiving offers from Cornell, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC San Diego. Garcia submitted a Common Application for Princeton, which consisted of two letters of recommendation from Mrs. Carlson and Mr. Glasser, a school report from his counselor, Mrs. Curiel, and an additional essay. By mid-December, he found out he was accepted into Princeton’s esteemed Woodrow Wilson School as an International Relations major. Garcia vividly remembers the moment he found out about his acceptance.
“All hell broke loose,” Garcia said. “On the phone with a friend, I started freaking out and yelling the good news throughout the house. I was so incredibly happy and shocked. My parents shared in my happiness and ran upstairs when they heard their teenage son screaming like a freak. They congratulated me and told the rest of the family right away. My phone almost exploded that night.”
Garcia made the choice to attend Princeton after visiting the campus during Spring Break.
“Apprehensive of the infamous snobbishness of the Ivy League, I visited Princeton over Spring Break,” Garcia said. “Although, admittedly, I did meet a few of the stereotypes. I actually met a lot of friendly, down-to-earth people at the school. The sense of independence I felt flying across the country, in addition to the great people I met, made me pick Princeton.”
For Flores, applying to Dartmouth College, another Ivy League school, was not as tedious as Garcia’s. One uncommon aspect of Flores’s application that may seem uncommon to most was filling out a peer evaluation, in which a sibling or friend wrote about the applicant. Flores was accepted to Dartmouth, which is located in Hanover, New Hampshire, as an Engineering Sciences major. He picked this concentration of study because of his humanitarianism.
“After college I want to work in a non-profit that creates infrastructure in third world countries,” Flores said. “I got inspired mainly from my trips to El Salvador [his parents’ native country] where people live in shacks and the majority of the country lives in poverty.”
Although Flores is excited to attend Dartmouth, his parents may feel a little apprehensive.
“My dad is fine with it,” Flores said, “but my mom has mixed feelings. Although she is proud of me for getting into a good school, she’s sad that I’m going to be leaving so far.”
Unlike Garcia and Flores who are both attending school on the East Coast, Orozco has decided to leave the United States and make his way to the United Kingdom to attend Richmond, the American International University in London. He felt as though going to a school in a completely foreign country would be a thrilling experience.
“I chose it [Richmond] because it was something new,” Orozco said. “I felt like I would be happier if I went to a school in London than out here.”
He applied to Richmond via the Common App. Although he was accepted into Boston College, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara, he felt like Richmond would give him the best experience and education as a Political Science major.
“I told my dad,” Orozco said. “He got really emotional. I thought, if this is the way he’s going to act, then I’m afraid to see how my mom would feel.”
Orozco is not afraid of his big move, even though London’s weather is infamously cold and dreary.
“The weather in California is redundant. I get tired of it,” Orozco said. “I do plan on buying sweaters when I move to London.”
Although some Downey students are staying close to home, these three seniors are willing to step out of their comfort zone to obtain an education that will shape their futures.