How much can we learn from a four page section of The Citizen? With a bit of counting and classifying, a fair bit about Gould, and its Class of 2021. Basically, we learn about origins and destinations: where the graduates come from; where they’re going next. Both are important.

Diversity is very valuable. Lots of different people from very different places mean that everyone becomes more widely acquainted, more cosmopolitan. In COVID times, transport has been a serious concern. A dozen locals could walk, cycle, or drive to school in minutes. Seventeen more students from Northeastern states could be driven to school in a day. Six other Americans and sixteen Asians faced a fairly long or very long, haul.

The 12 Chinese graduates are perhaps more widely distributed across the length and breadth of their homeland than are the Americans: Anshan to Hainan, Shanghai to Chengdu; subarctic to subtropical; sea level to foothills approaching Tibet.

No one is going to a crème de la crème school; the private and public Ivies or the topmost tier of liberal arts colleges. Which need not mean that no one was accepted. While a very few elite institutions have needs-blind admission (every student admitted will be supported as necessary), most offer variable discounts in the forms of scholarships, loans, work-study, etc. Students and parents shop around. (Paying “sticker price” for a private institution’s BA can mean little change from a quarter million!)

On the other hand, next-to-no-one is taking advantage of a long-established tradition: in-state tuition at a public institution. Indeed, most are going a long or fairly long way from home, and from Bethel, with the advantages of new experiences I’ve discussed before. (Perhaps surprisingly, few seem to be attending famous “skiing schools”.)

Thirteen grads will attend “colleges”; eighteen are going to public institutions, which enroll a substantial majority of the nation’s students. (Four are undecided.) That this is not a “typical” distribution doesn’t mean much. What is meaningful is that everyone is going to one or another sound, accredited, reputable institution where the quality of their education will depend on their preparation and determination; the institutions they’ve chosen will do their part.

While avoiding the role of formal adviser, David R. Jones has spent a lot of time helping students think about college.

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