With the 2013-2014 school year almost a quarter underway, and with application season in full swing, thoughts of college are on many Franklin High School students’ minds. However, many seem to only be focused on schools within the UW system. We have been bombarded with the idea that these schools, and a few other select colleges within our state and the midwest, are the only plausible choices. The majority of Franklin students do not seem to acknowledge that there are thousands of other schools to choose from. Our school’s population has been completely conditioned towards attending a UW school, with Madison being the ultimate goal.
The UW propaganda begins early, first coming from the school around eighth grade. Students are urged to make sure they sign the Wisconsin Covenant, as it will provide a nominal scholarship to those who receive adequate grades and attend a state school. Teachers were dismayed at those who did not sign the pledge, and nagged at them to complete it, no matter the students’ reasoning behind why they did not. As they continued on into high school, UW schools seemed to be the main topic of any discussion of college whatsoever. During presentations with seniors, the school only mentions the deadlines and requirements of in-state schools, with the one exception being the University of Minnesota, whose reciprocity agreement places it on the same level as the UW schools.
Through this subtle brainwashing, many students come to believe that a state school is the only affordable option for higher education. This is a myth that needs to be debunked immediately. Out-of-state public universities have expansive scholarship opportunities, with many specifically made for students coming from other states. Not only will these schools be more generous, but they also may have easier acceptance rates, as they are looking to fill their quotas and promote diversity, and will be looking for students from more random states such as Wisconsin. Additionally, private colleges outside of Wisconsin can also become just as affordable, as they have notoriously better financial aid offers than public schools, due to funding from benefactors and alumni instead of taxpayers. Top private universities, and even the Ivy League, can actually be some of the least expensive schools for lower-income students, because these schools vow to meet one hundred percent of a student’s demonstrated need.
Students in the process of deciding where to attend college need to ignore the broken record of information presented about UW schools and explore the limitless opportunities available outside of Wisconsin.