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The college planning season is in full swing with students making campus visits, completing college applications, and searching for scholarships. While EducationQuest is known for supporting our state with college planning, we wanted to hear from current high school seniors as they go through the process.

Erin Huddleston and Madilyn Haskett are both seniors at Kearney Catholic High School who are planning for college next year. Here’s what they said about the process:

What are your plans after high school?

Erin: My plans right now are undecided. I want to maybe go to UNK for pre-med. I want to be a dermatologist but I also would like to study something in evangelization from a Catholic college. 

Madilyn: After high school, I plan to go to a four-year university, hopefully out of state, and I would like to major in dance or musical theater.

What are you looking for in a college?

Erin: Right now, I am all over the place. I am looking for a college with a good vibe but also one that I know I can grow in. I just received a Regents Scholarship from UNL, and I hope to get one to UNK. I also have looked at Benedictine College from my faith perspective. I want to stay close to home and my family (especially my niece, who I spend a lot of time with).

Madilyn: I am looking at colleges that have good dance programs and are smaller in size. I attended a small high school and would like to stay in that environment for college. I am working on finding out what I truly want out of each college to narrow down my choices. I have been on numerous visits that have been a huge help in the selection process.

Have you been on any campus visits? If so, what was your favorite part?

Erin: I am planning some campus visits, but I have not been on one yet. I have been to a few different camps at UNK in the health field but other than that, I have not been to any colleges yet. 

Madilyn: I have been on quite a few college visits. My favorite part is getting to look at the campus and see all the great things they have to offer. I also like meeting the faculty at each of the colleges and getting to know them just a little bit. Visiting the colleges has really helped me see further into each university and helped me narrow down my list.

What was the college application like? 

Erin: The college application was not hard, and it was pretty self-explanatory. The process was simple, and I am happy I got it done fast. If I hadn’t just sat down and gotten the application done, I might not have gotten my Regents. I am thankful for that.

Madilyn: My college application process was pretty smooth and stress-free. The only advice I would give to others is to get started as soon as possible so you don’t have to rush in the end, and you can make sure you have everything filled out completely. I would also say that going through the common application for the schools that offer it was one of the best decisions I made. It made the process so much easier, and I was able to get it done so much quicker than visiting each separate website.

Who have you been talking with about your post high school plans?

Erin: I talked to my parents and my friends. I also talked to Mr. Pierce, my school counselor as well. He is very helpful. I have so many people who have reached out and asked me what I want to do after high school and I think right now, my answer is mostly “I’m not sure yet” or “something medical.”

Madilyn: I have been talking with many people including, my parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, and school counselors. I am lucky to have some very supportive and interested people in my life to talk things over with.

Have you seen college applications that also include scholarship questions? 

Erin: I have not seen any questions for applications and scholarships at the same time yet. In my eyes, that would be helpful.

Madilyn: Yes, I have noticed quite a few colleges that ask about scholarships. Many ask if you would be interested then direct you to another website to apply for said scholarship. I thought it was nice to have them available for you. The opportunity to apply for both admissions and scholarships made it much less stressful than trying to find the scholarships all on your own. 

What excites you most about college?

Erin: What excites me most about college is living on my own and forming new friendships and habits. I am also excited to start learning things that I am choosing to learn about and things that interest me. 

Madilyn: I am excited to get out and be on my own. I will miss my family and friends, but I am ready for the new experiences and people I will meet. Leaving Kearney is going to be hard, but I am so ready to get out and get a feel for life on my own.

What advice would you give other seniors who are thinking about post high school plans?

Erin: I would tell my fellow seniors to APPLY. I think that is so important along with looking around and getting a feel for what you want. I advise to not stress and let it come to you naturally. I also advise to look at all the options, not just settle on the first thing that comes to mind.

Madilyn: Think about what you love to do and if you can pursue it, then do it. No one is stopping you from doing what you want to do in college. Something else I would say is to not let other people dictate where you go to college. You are the one that is going to be there for 2-4 years or even more, so you should go somewhere you truly love and feels like home. Don’t choose a college for the people that are going there, choose it because you can see yourself there for the next chapter of your life.

Thank you, Erin and Madilyn for your insights. Best of luck in college and beyond.

By Alex Jurgens