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April 5, 2012 Page

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High tuition costs influence long-term college choices By Hunter Toro Editor-in-Chief

Some students with plans to attend graduate schools are forgoing opportunities to receive their bachelors out of state and are opting to stay in-state to save money for their future schooling. Senior Andrew Roche is one such student weighing the two options. Despite Roche’s admission into the University of Texas at Austin, his top choice, he is considering attending Florida State University because of his plans to attend graduate school and eventually earn a master’s degree. “UT is $45,000 to $50,000… there’s no way I could pay for that… I don’t want to have to pay $50,000 for my first year of college when I have to pay it anyway for graduate school,” he said. Roche says his decision is being heavily influenced by his belief that graduate school is ultimately more valuable than undergraduate school. “I think grad school is more important in the long run because a good grad school can

really reinforce everything you have done throughout your college career” he said, “Since it is the most focused period of learning, it is important the graduate school is a good [one].” Similar to Roche, one anonymous senior’s decision to attend an in-state university comes from her belief that the money she would spend on out-ofstate schooling would be better spent on a highly regarded medical school. “Although I got into other great schools out of state, I thought that it made more sense economically to stay in state and spend the money [saved] on a good medical school,” she said, “The medical field is so competitive right now that you basically have to go wherever you get accepted, meaning that you don’t have as much discretion when it comes to tuition at that point.” Each year, students present Dean of College Counseling, Ms. Kristen Learner, with this situation. Ms. Learner warns against the mindset that graduate school is of much greater

Sophomores to crash prom, cheat system By Ave Healey Staff Writer

The efforts of some sophomores to attend prom has created a controversy on campus. While juniors and seniors have mixed feelings about the issue, many believe that in recent years, sophomores attempting to gain invitation to the event have bent the rules. Some 10th graders are able to attend the dance because they are dating upperclassmen. It is also common for a sophomore to be asked to prom by a junior or senior. These instances are not the problem. What has many students aggravated is that 10th graders, who are looking for a way to get into the dance, have asked juniors or seniors to be their dates. One anonymous senior, who attended prom with a sophomore last year, took no offense when she was asked by an underclassman. “I personally did not think it was a big deal. I feel it’s better to go with someone than to go alone.” However, the situation is complicated when the two students do not know each other well. Often, sophomores looking to attend prom will ask people they hardly know to the dance in order to find a date. She admits that this does actually make a big difference in one’s prom experience. “Although the Benjamin community is so tight that it is impossible to not know somebody, [not knowing your date well] can be awkward. Even though I had so much

fun dancing with my friends, I still felt indebted to that person when the slow song came on.” In a more sophisticated version of the “ask an upperclassman” approach, some 10th graders arrange to use a ticket bought by a junior or senior who already has a date. For instance, if two juniors were planning on going to prom together, they could each purchase tickets for themselves and another person, giving the spare tickets to friends in the 10th grade. In this way, sophomores are able to attend prom without even finding a date in the junior or senior class.

“I still felt indebted to that person when the slow song came on.” ANONYMOUS senior This method in particular has many upperclassmen claiming that younger students are “cheating the system.” Sophomores who have found a way to join their friends at the dance, whether it be with a date or by some other circumstance, don’t see the harm. “If a sophomore is able to go to prom, it should be allowed,” said sophomore Amanda Stevens. It seems that although a number of upperclassmen are upset, quite a few 10th graders will be in attendance this year at prom. v

importance than undergraduate school. “I think it’s important for people who are planning on attending grad school to think about the next place, but you want in each step of your life to pick the best place that allows you to be the best version of yourself,” she said, “So if you pick an undergrad school with the next piece in mind, be careful.”

“I think grad school is more important in the long run.” ANDREW ROCHE senior “Don’t pick your undergraduate school because you are thinking two steps ahead. Pick the place that allows you now, not in four years, to be the best version of yourself. Take a look, know what you’re saying

no to first,” she added. For alumni Matthew Murray, his choice of undergraduate school, The University of Central Florida, was not made because of his investment in the school itself. While Murray had been accepted to his top choice, George Washington University, Murray ultimately made the choice to stay in-state to save for graduate school. “In the end it seemed impractical to essentially waste the money on my undergraduate degree. If you have plans to go to graduate school, what becomes important is your graduate degree, because where you went for undergrad won’t really factor in to your career pursuits,” he said, “I came to UCF because I know that in the long run it would benefit me, educationally and financially speaking. I’ll, or my parents, rather, have saved close to $230,000 by the time I graduate, and that’s multiple years worth of debt that I’d be working off had I needed to accept loans from an out-of-state school.” While Murray believes his decision is the right one, he

admits that he sometimes still feels regret. “I wouldn’t say that I’m unhappy in my choice, but it’s difficult sometimes. I came into this situation with the mentality that it was not where I wanted to be and that I was not going to be happy here, but that’s not how college works,” he said. “You’re not going to be completely happy with any school you go to; it’s the friends that you make and the success that you have that garners happiness. It took me a few months time to realize that. It’s still a challenge at times. I think, I would be happier if I hadn’t done this, but truly, I know that coming to UCF will give me the best possible chance to continue on the path that I want to,” he added. Regardless of what Roche finally decides to do, he does not believe that he will come to regret his decision, but he acknowledges the importance of planning. “I always think it’s smarter to plan ahead,” he said, “If you aren’t sure about financial options and the chances of getting a good scholarship are low, it’s sometimes a necessity.” v

SAM GREENSPAN/ Online Editor

The English Department and the College Counseling office, along with a few others, will be undertaking a few projects this spring, including a Benjamin version of the famous “PostSecret.”

Projects to publish ‘secrets’ By Ben Greenspan Staff Writer

A variety of teachers are working on two projects that will encourage students to share their most personal selves creatively. The first project will be a Benjamin version of PostSecret. PostSecret is an organization that collects homemade postcards on which people write their secrets and illustrate them in an attempt to alleviate any pressure or hardships that these secrets are causing. These cards are then posted anonymously on the website www. postsecret. com, or they are put in one of Post Secret’s books that are then sold to the public. Mr. Simon Behan and Mrs. Nidhi McVicar have been planning on doing a similar project at Benjamin since last year. “[Mrs. McVicar and I] had been touched by the candor, poignancy, insightfulness, and sometimes hilarity of the initial series of books,” Mr. Behan said. “It prompt-

ed us to think about how it might work in the Benjamin community.” Students have been responding positively to the Post Secret Project thus far. “The project at Benjamin is a great idea because it’s a way for people to understand what goes on in others’ lives,” senior Sara Forrest said. “It will give students who are struggling with something the chance to say how they really feel. The Benjamin version of PostSecret will consist of students creating art and writing secrets on one side of a notecard that will then be anonymously dropped off in front of Mr. Behan or Mrs. McVicar’s rooms. “We wanted to create a community art project and give students an opportunity for self-expression,” Mrs. McVicar said. “It is amazing to see the creativity and ideas that our students possess.” The other “secret” project is the College Essay Project which the College Counseling Depart-

ment is working on in conjunction with the English Department. Mr. Behan believes that the project will be a positive way for the senior class to remember each other. “It’s going to be a great way to look back and remember your classmates. It will be more personal than something such as a few images and a quote at the back of the yearbook,” Mr. Behan said. “In addition, future seniors can leaf through the essays of past students, possibly finding inspiration for their own creations.” Some seniors, however, are split about how they feel towards the project. “I know that as a junior, it would’ve been great for me to get my bearings. When you’re writing an essay that’s so open-ended, it would’ve been nice to see examples,” senior Mariana Zindel said. “On the other hand, it would help creatively if there wasn’t a compilation so the essays would be original.” For seniors to add to the collection of essays, they have to email the essay to Mr. Behan. “I hope students participate enthusiastically in both projects.” v

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