Timpview High School hosted the kickoff event for the Utah College Application Week on Monday, Nov. 10, where UVU President Matthew Holland spoke on the importance of applying to college.
The focus of Utah College Application Week is to help students apply to college who might otherwise not have the opportunity. There will be several events in support of the cause at different high schools throughout the state until Nov. 21.
“Over 90 percent of middle-school students say they want to enroll in college, but when the time comes, only about two-thirds actually do,” said David L. Buhler, Utah commissioner of higher education, in a news release. “Utah College Application Week is working to close this gap by giving students a helping hand with the college application process, as well as guidance and encouragement along the way.”
Administrators encouraged, but did not require, Timpview High School seniors to attend the kickoff event. Student Malynn Martin, who attended the event, said she was excited to be there.
“It helps clarify the whole college application process,” Martin said. “I want to apply to BYU, UVU and USU.”
This is the second year the Utah System of Higher Education has put on this event and, officials anticipate great success. Last year, eight high schools and three districts were involved with about 2,300 participants. This year they anticipate 20,000 students in 15 districts and 49 schools to participate.
“Hopefully this will grow statewide in the next few years,” said Utah System of Higher Education Communications Director Melanie Heath. “A lot of kids need that extra push or helping hand. This is to try to close that gap.”
The event started with a UVU Green Man Group performance to help get the students excited. Afterward Holland addressed the students.
Holland encouraged the students to apply for college by expressing his personal concern for them. He said they will be wealthier if they go to college. He shared a study that said those with college degrees make on average $1 million more than those who don’t for doing the same job.
“Really, to have any kind of a decent life, you have to have some kind of training after high school, whether it’s a two-year degree, a four-year degree, or a graduate degree,” Holland said.
He told them that as life goes on and the students start to have families, they will need a better job than what they can only get with a high school diploma. “If you graduate (from college), you have much more of an ability to do a job that you like — something you wake up every morning and are excited about,” he said.
He also noted the negative consequences of not getting a college degree. “If you think you can succeed in your chosen field without getting a college degree, you are kidding yourself,” he said.
Holland closed with a warning: “If you don’t apply to college, it will be the single biggest mistake of your life,” he said. “But if you do apply to college and take it seriously it will be one of the best things that will ever happen to you.”
Fidel Montero, Holland’s chief of staff and a former Alta High School principal, also spoke and shared his own experience applying to college and how going to college changed his life.
Montero said that thanks to a high school counselor, he took the ACT and applied for college. He then went on to Columbia University, which he credits in getting him where he is today.
Utah College Application Week continues through Nov. 21 with six other events across the state. Lt. Governor Spencer Cox spoke at Kearns High School on Wednesday, Nov. 12, to also encourage students to apply to college.