Special Reports

Topeka High School Students: Is Attending College Worth It?


Majority of high school students desire to attend college these days. However, many are not able to make it. Those who are able to enter college may not succeed in earning their degrees. Scientists coin as the "aspirations-attainment gap," as according to the New York Times.

Varying factors hinder kids from obtaining a college degree. These include increasing costs in college, poor preparation academically, the depreciation of financial aid, and even just the process of applying itself. College application requires a huge amount of social capital. These include personal motivation and initiative, as well as the moral support of family, friends, and teachers.

Anemona Hartocollis, a New York Times correspondent, visited Topeka High School, and had conversations with seniors, their parents and guidance counselors. She inquired about their college plans as they took standardized tests, wrote essays, decided where to apply, filled up financial aid forms, and as they sent their applications. She followed through their accomplishments as well as hindrances along the way and will further check if they end up in college, vocational school, a job, or at home.

Background of Topeka High

Topeka High in Kansas is an all-American school. It is the largest public school in the city of Kansas. There is diversity in its 1,800 students in terms of race, ethnicity, and social status. Despite integration and similar to other American schools, black students are the most disadvantaged.

There are also other disadvantaged students that are poor and struggling. These include white students, students that have Mexican lineage, and children of migrant farm workers, of which some are undocumented. The few, affluent kids will go to the Ivy League. Only 70 percent graduates. 45 percent of these graduates proceed to a four-year college while 17 percent proceed to a two-year college. More than half of the student population are poor based on federal standards.

Anemona Hartocollis also went to the same high school. She set out to find whether the pattern of attending or not attending college is still the same.

Only these kids will be able to answer if a college education would be worth it.

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