High school students might be waiting longer to make decisions about higher education, according to some local university and school officials.
Traditionally, the universities have seen more high school juniors rather than seniors on spring visit days, said Yvonne Schroeder, University of Saint Francis spokeswoman.
But in the past few years, the number of seniors attending visit days just a few weeks before graduation has steadily risen, she said.
About 130 high school students have registered for the University of Saint Francis’ spring Campus Visit Day, which takes place from 9 a.m. to noon today, said Maria Gerber, the university’s director of undergraduate admissions.
Of those who registered, 37 percent are high school seniors, up slightly from last year’s 35 percent, Gerber said.
We saw a bit of this trend last year, but this year we have seen an increase in students visiting during the spring of their senior year, Gerber said.
High school students have increasingly been waiting longer to make college decisions, but other factors might be at play, she said.
Why this is occurring is a bit of a guess to me, but, colloquially, I feel that it could be attributed to a number of factors, including unusually harsh weather, she said.
The weather might have caused a downward trend in campus visits by students and families in the fall, she said.
We have seen many more visits being scheduled in the past few weeks as the weather has begun to break, she said.
On the north side of town, about 250 high school students have registered for IPFW’s spring Campus Visit Day on Sunday, said Tonishea Jackson, director of admissions.
Seniors represent 65 percent (160) of the registrants, of which 58 are juniors, she said.
The group of seniors includes 99 who have already been admitted, 34 who have applied and 27 who are still shopping for schools, Jackson said.
As you can see, we have a small number of late bloomers who have not begun the process yet, she said.
Jackson added that what contributes to the late-bloomer phenomena is a mixture of the student’s perception of mobility and realizing what options are available.
I don’t know if it’s a growing trend or a perception, she said, but there is always a pocket of students who do not start the process until a few weeks before registration.
One local school corporation thinks the growing expense of attending college might have something to do with it.
We are seeing this trend of students putting off college choice decisions, said Tamyra Kelly, spokeswoman for East Allen County Schools.
Even though guidance counselors, teachers and administrators talk with sophomores and juniors about starting the college selection process early and taking college visits at least in their junior year, most don’t do it, Kelly said.
Some seniors plan to go away for college and then realize they might not be able to afford the tuition and do not wish to be saddled with debt, she said.
When students realize the costs might be prohibitive, many choose a local college where they can commute.
Because they hadn’t planned to attend a school locally, they usually need to visit during the spring of their senior year, Kelly said.
Many students really do not know what they want to do after high school, so they put off researching colleges, she said.
Then, all of a sudden, spring semester of their senior year comes and they need to figure out what they are going to do, Kelly said. Staying local then becomes the best option.