In my world, today, May 1, is a very important day. It's College Decision Day, the culmination of lots of research, anxiety and reflection.
It's the light at the end of the tunnel for seniors graduating from high school and moving toward the great unknown of their adult lives.
To celebrate this milestone, today at Bexley High School our college-bound students are decked out in their spirit wear of choice, announcing their destinies from the front of a sweatshirt. Faculty members are similarly attired, broadcasting their own decisions of five, 10, 40 or more years ago.
Some 90-92 percent of our students are headed to a four- or two-year college or university in what is a pretty typical year for Bexley. Many of them will be armed with college-level experience and credits before they even hit campus, thanks to Advanced Placement courses taken in high school.
At one time or another, I counseled most of our seniors about their post-graduation plans. We have a relatively small class this year, 140 students, and most are lucky enough to have supportive, involved parents to help guide them. Many faced a very competitive college admissions process: Nationwide, the number of college applications submitted has risen dramatically over the past 10 years, while acceptance rates at four-year institutions have declined slightly.
The online application process has ramped things up as well, with many more schools now offering non-binding "early admissions" options. That meant that about half of the members of Bexley's 2014 graduating class had already applied to colleges by the first quarter of senior year.
I am proud of our Bexley seniors who, under all of this pressure, worked, achieved and thought long and hard about their next steps.
For example, talented musician Aky Locke always found ways to work his creative muscle, through Bexley programs as well as in ensembles outside of school. Now he goes even farther afield, having accepted a scholarship to study viola at Mercer University's Townsend School of Music in Georgia.
From the beginning, Erin Brubaker knew she wanted to stay close to home and attend Wittenberg University in Springfield. It's the only college to which she applied, she was accepted and now she is on her way there.
A few students caught a curve ball and handled it with aplomb: Take senior John Winters. His family moves next year to New Zealand, an extra complication factored into his post-graduation plans.
Jacquie Spiropoulos, an accomplished visual artist who attended Franklin County's alternative Mosaic program, has rowed crew and loved it for the past four years. She followed that particular interest and signed to row crew next fall at West Virginia University.
Each of our seniors has made an independent decision.
With their first taste of freedom, before taking the next step, our students have thought sincerely, deliberately. The result: Each is truly following the path that works best.
Stephanie Krosnosky serves as college counselor at Bexley High School.