How the Class of 2020 Selected Their Colleges


Catherine Alaimo

100 percent of Xavier’s Class of 2020, also known as the “Class of Covid-19”, will be attending college next year. Some girls will be going out-of-state and some girls will be staying in-state. Some girls are going to large public universities and some will head off to smaller private colleges. However, either way, every Xavier senior had to recently make up her mind about where she will be next fall.


The process of selecting what college to go to is one of the most important life decisions these seniors will make. They are not only choosing where to continue their education; they are also deciding where they want to spend the next four years of their lives and who they want to spend that time with. The steps of figuring out this next stage of their lives are different for every girl.


Sydney Larriva ‘20 plans to attend Barrett, the honors college at ASU, in the fall. “I first figured out what I wanted to major in, and then I researched the colleges that have entire programs dedicated to that field of study,” she said. “This way, I would have more research opportunities geared toward my major as well as overall resources,” she explained. A direct approach to the selection process helped Larriva narrow down her search process more easily. She ultimately decided to attend Barrett because “it combined both [her] interests in a major with affordability and flexibility.” Because of Larriva’s dual enrollment credits that she earned through Rio Salado Community College, she will be able to study abroad next year, which she identified as another reason she chose Barrett.


Grace Cromey ‘20 also opted to stay in Arizona for college next year and plans to go to ASU. “Staying in state is a good idea if you want to pursue higher degrees past your undergraduate! I plan on getting either my master’s in psychology or going to medical school, so it’s a lot of schooling for less money. Also, in state schools took all of my Rio Salado credits and most out of state colleges only take a few,” she said. Cromey used the most efficient tool possible to find the right college for her: Google! Unlike a few generations ago, teenagers today are able to learn more details about colleges much quicker because of the Internet. They don’t necessarily have to plan lengthy college visits – they can find out everything they want to about colleges right at their desks.


Mia Olsen ‘20 had two very specific qualities in mind when she began the process of looking for the right college for her. “I knew that I was interested in running in college and that I wanted to major in biochemistry. I wanted to find a school that would be a good fit both academically and athletically, and so a lot of the process involved contacting coaches at the schools I was most interested in attending,” she stated. Olsen was recruited to run by SMU (Southern Methodist University) in Texas. When asked why she picked SMU, Olsen explained that it has both the academic program that she wants to pursue in addition to strong track and cross country programs. “When I visited campus, I really felt like I could see myself there as a student,” she said.


For Emma Elsbecker ‘20, the process of committing to the right college for her was lengthy at first but became simple after she received her acceptance letters. “I have been very interested in college since I was little and I had some dream colleges that I knew I wanted to apply to before I began actively searching,” she said. When asked what she looked for in a college, Elsbecker responded that she “wanted close relationships with professors and research opportunities so [she] started looking for a small to medium research school”. Elsbecker thinks that one of the things that helped her identify what she wanted in a college was attending a seven-week program at Harvard over the summer. “I would highly recommend attending a long-term program like this where you can take real college classes at any college because it helps you identify what you like and don’t like in a college,” she advised. After figuring this out, she traveled to the East Coast to look at several colleges over her Easter break last year, and was able to figure out the kind of location she wanted to attend college in. Now, many high school upperclassmen like Elsbecker and Olsen visit and tour colleges to try to get a sense of the environment and to see if they can fit in there. Elsbecker was accepted at Dartmouth College and will double-major in Quantitive Social Science and Classics. “I am incredibly lucky because Dartmouth was my dream school and so when I got in the decision was not incredibly challenging,” she reflected.


There are many different factors to consider when selecting a college, such as location, interests, and the overall atmosphere of the college. There are also many ways to go about searching for this, like googling the college or visiting the campus. Now all of these seniors have made their decisions and will be starting off a whole new and amazing portion of their lives in the fall.