Distance, future are deciding factors for Lansing’s future college graduates

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By Alana Easterling
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

Exploring new places and securing a new future are some of the reasons Lansing high school graduates decided to go to college.

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“I wanted to go somewhere far away,” said Jazmine Petteway, a 2016 Waverly High School graduate. “To be quite honest, college for me will be my getaway.

“I’ve never touched the soil of anywhere besides Michigan, literally, and I just figured college could not only be my first time going somewhere, but it can also be my way to not have to come back.”

Petteway was recently accepted to the University of Portland, and will be a part of their 2016 freshman class. She will be the first in her family to go off to college.

“I just want to make a better life for myself, and be a better example for my little sisters,” said Petteway. “All throughout high school, my teachers would speak so highly of college, talking about how beneficial it was for them, and the great time and experiences they had in college.

“Also, if [she corrected herself] when I do graduate, I’ll be the first in my family to go and graduate from college, and even better- I’ll inspire my little sisters to follow after me.”

Brittany Flannigan, who graduated from Eastern High School in June of 2016 and will be attending Western Michigan University in the fall, agreed with getting away from home being one of her determining factors for going to college, but included a few of her own.

“I wanna go somewhere and start my own life, but I also want a secure future, and from what I hear, college would be the best option for me to do that,” said Flannigan.

“I like money, and I can’t do hair, nails, or any of the other niches females my age have to make them some money, so I need to do something that’s going to put me in a position to afford the life I hope to one day live,” she said.

Getting away from home, and securing your future aren’t the only reasons why some Lansing high school graduates are choosing to go off to school. If you’re anything like Drew Johnson, going away to college was never not an option.

“I can’t think of the time where I was trying to figure whether or not I was gonna go to college,” said Johnson. “Both my parents went to MSU, so my plans post high school graduation were always either there or somewhere.”

Johnson is a J. W. Sexton High School graduate of 2016, and will be entering Michigan State University in the fall of 2016 as a Human Biology major.

“Aside the fact that my family’s legacy is there, MSU is a great school. They have one of the best medical schools in the country, the campus is beautiful, and each time I’ve visited I’ve got nothing but positive vibes from the place … Not to mention the parties,” Johnson said.

According to eLearners there are 10 factors that influence high school graduates on going away to college. All the factors listed corresponded with some of the factors given by the students asked – academic reputation, the fact that college graduates get jobs, and a visit to campus.

Relatively online states that two of the most important reasons for people to go to college is to gain independence, and increase your network.

Mike Cook, the senior associate director for the Office of Admissions at Michigan State University, says that distance is an important factor in college decision making for students.

“The distance to campus of an applicant is a heavy influence of where they go to school,” said Cook.

“We get applicants from across the world, like China or California. They’re less likely to enroll as opposed to someone from Okemos or Lansing.

“The smaller the distance, the higher the probability of enrollment.”

Cook also agreed that a visit to campus can influence a student to attend a college.

“Another one would be whether or not they’ve visited the campus before, attended any programs given by that particular school, etc. Even then, that distance factor comes into play though because a student from Wyoming is less likely to visit MSU,” Cook said.

One of the main goals as an administrator in education is to emphasize the importance of a college education, said Precious Lee, a counselor at Waverly High School.

“Now more than ever, a degree is going to be the key for a student’s success,” Lee said. “Some of these kids would be first generation students, and don’t have the proper influence on them to be able to make decisions such as these, and I feel that’s where people in my position come in to play.

“Besides the obvious benefits, college is a great time for young people to learn so much about themselves, their strength, what they’re interested in, what they can grow to be, and so much more.

“Plus, I feel students need that gray area between high school and the real world to properly prepare themselves for life. College provides that.”

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