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Here’s what went down on College Signing Day in the US

May 1 marked College Signing Day for students in the US. Source: Shutterstock

The first of May was remarkable for many reasons. Apart from social media being inundated by May memes and gifs (i.e. “It’s gonna be May”, “As long as you love May”), the day also marked College Signing Day for students in the US.

Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama declared May 1 as College Signing Day back in 2014.

Her Reach Higher initiative, launched during Obama’s time at the White House, seeks to inspire American students to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether that’s through a professional training programme, a community college or a four-year college or university.

“In today’s economy, a high school diploma just isn’t enough. Students have to reach higher, which is why Reach Higher is working to rally the country so that America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world,” notes its website.

It has since gained momentum, with many students and universities taking to Twitter to share their #CollegeSigningDay moments.

In a video message, Obama said: “With that one decision, you have the chance to transform your entire life, and that was certainly true in my case. In college, I studied subjects I was passionate about. I met all kinds of different people and I got the education I needed to pursue a career as a lawyer, a non-profit leader, a hospital executive and yes, eventually, as First Lady of the United States.”

Meanwhile, at the University of California and Reach Higher’s College Signing Day event, Obama said:  “I want you all to know, you are about to make the best investment you can possibly make…In order to be here today, you kept on reaching higher for yourselves and for your future. You told all those doubters that they’d better make room. That is what this is all about, making people make room for you where you belong.”

The decision on which college to attend can be stressful, with so many factors to consider, such as the cost and location, among others.  

Students from four high schools spoke to Philly to share how they made their choice.

Taylor Pagan, who wants to study nursing, said: “I chose Gwynedd Mercy not only because of its good reputation within its nursing programme and it is something I am able to afford, but because the campus felt like home.

“I fell in love with the campus environment when I first set foot on their grounds. The university is not too far from my home, which means I can visit my family every now and then. The student to teacher ratio is low – 11-1 – allowing students and teachers to establish a relationship, something that would be impossible to do in a classroom of 200 students.”

Meanwhile, Julia Rose Chin, who was accepted to both Stanford University and MIT, said: “ I feel extremely lucky that I got accepted to literally my top two colleges, but this was both a blessing and a curse – I like both of these schools so much, it has been a very tough month trying to decide…

“I felt as though I was being stretched toward opposite coasts, nostalgic for aspects of the East Coast I enjoy while also yearning for new experiences in a new setting, in sunny California of all places…In the end, I believe that Stanford would give me the most flexibility with fields of study and also the most new experiences, and I’m most looking forward to that feeling of exploration during college,” she said.

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